Piglets are usually supplied with solid food - creep food - at a time when most are still obtaining adequate nutrition from milk. Getting piglets started on solid food may help their growth performance both before and after weaning. As young piglets are highly exploratory animals (A'Ness et al., 1997) and food restriction increases the tendency of older pigs to express foraging behaviour (Lawrence et al., 1988), the objective of this experiment was to examine the relative importance of exploratory behaviour and hunger on initiation of creep feeding by piglets.
Eight litters of Large White x Landrace piglets were used in this study. Each piglet was ear tagged and weighed within 24h of birth. When a litter was 16 days old (d16), each piglet was weighed and 8 piglets were taken in pairs, between nursings, to one of two experimental pens for 30 mins familiarization and filming, twice each.