Effect of gender, housing density and the interaction on growth performance and carcass and meat quality of pigs slaughtered at 110 kg body weight

M. P. Serrano, L. Cámara, J. I. Morales, J. D. Berrocoso, C. J. López Bote, G. G. Mateos


A total of 228 crossbred pigs were used to investigate the effect of gender (gilts and barrows), density at housing (0.84 and 0.76 m2/pig) and the interaction on growth performance and carcass and merit from 19.4 to 110 kg body weight. Feed intake of gilts increased as the space allowance decreased but no effect was observed in barrows (p<0.05 for the interaction). However, no interaction was observed for average daily gain or feed-to-gain ratio. Barrows had 2.4% less (p<0.01) carcass lean percentage but 9% more (p<0.05) intramuscular fat content than gilts. The concentration of linoleic acid in the outer layer of backfat was higher (p<0.05) for gilts than for barrows when pigs were allocated at 0.84 m2/pig, but no differences were observed at 0.76 m2/pig. Also, barrows had 2.7% more (p<0.05) total saturated fatty acids (SFA) in the outer layer of backfat and lower monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (p<0.01) and linoleic acid (p<0.05) content in the inner layer than gilts. Housing density did not affect any of the carcass quality traits studied but an increase in space allowance decreased (p<0.05) MUFA content in both layers. Pigs allocated at 0.84 m2/pig tended (p<0.10) to have higher SFA content in the inner layer than pigs allocated at 0.76 m2/pig. We concluded that gilts and barrows respond differently to space allocation in respect to feed intake and unsaturation of backfat. Housing density did not affect growth performance of pigs slaughtered at 110 kg but MUFA content decreased with increases in space allowance.


barrows; fatty acid profile; gilts; pig performance

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2013111-2869