Productive aspects of pigs fed forage cactus silage associated with feed restriction
This study aimed to evaluate the use of silage of forage cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica Mill) in diets for finishing pigs. Two experiments were conducted: the first for digestibility and the second for performance. In the performance trial, the quantitative levels of feed restriction (0%, 10%, 20%, and 30%) were evaluated, which were associated with the supply of forage cactus silage. Forage cactus silage presented 2463.59 and 2456 kcal/kg of digestible and metabolizable energy, respectively. The feed restriction levels associated with the supply of forage cactus silage influenced feed intake, weight gain and final weight negatively, but did not affect feed conversion. Carcass absolute weight was influenced negatively. However, the yield of carcass and cuts and the amount of meat in the carcass were not influenced. With the increase in feed restriction, there was a decrease in duodenal mucosa thickness, intestinal glands, liver glycogen storage and the occurrence of inflammation in the submucosa and intestinal mucosa. Forage cactus silage is not accepted well by animals. The restriction up to 30% of balanced feed did not affect feed conversion, yield of carcass and cuts and economic viability. However, levels over 10% affected intestinal health.
Keywords: Alternative feed, feed preservation, intestinal health, Opuntia ficus-indica Mill, pig nutrition