International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 63, Issue 11, pp 1497–1505 | Cite as

How do season, on-farm fasting interval and lairage period affect swine welfare, carcass and meat quality traits?

  • Filipe Antonio Dalla Costa
  • Osmar Antonio Dalla CostaEmail author
  • Arlei Coldebella
  • Gustavo Júlio Mello Monteiro de Lima
  • Antonio Sérgio Ferraudo
Special Issue: Brazilian Congress - Jaboticabal 2017


This study was carried out in order to determine the effects of different combinations of on-farm fasting intervals (8, 12, 16, 20 h) and 1.5 h of transport plus lairage periods (1, 3, 6 h) at different seasons (summer/winter) on blood stress parameters (cortisol and lactate), stomach content and weight, skin lesion and meat quality in a total of 960 pigs from eight farms. Blood lactate levels were greater in the summer (P < 0.001) and stomach content was affected (P < 0.05) by season, on-farm fasting interval (P < 0.001), lairage time (P < 0.0001). Stomach content weight reduces as the total feed withdrawal time increases up to on-farm fasting of 17 and 1 h of lairage. Stomach content can be influenced by feed and water in different ways according to treatments. Only 8 h of on-farm fasting is not enough to empty stomachs from feed content. However, an on-farm fasting period of 16 h or longer can also increase the occurrence of more water in the stomachs. Carcass lesions caused by fighting were greater (P ≤ 0.005) in the winter, mainly after 3 and 6 h of lairage (P ≤ 0.005). Loin and ham pHu was lower (P ≤ 0.05) for pigs slaughtered after 6 h of lairage during the summer. The application of 12 h of on-farm fasting with 6 h of lairage seemed to be best combination to reduce stomach content weight (feed and water). In the winter, shorter lairage period can be used to reduce percentage of skin lesions and better pork quality traits in pigs.


Cortisol Feed withdrawal Lactate Skin lesion 



The authors appreciate the assistance of Antonio Lourenço Guidoni (in memorian) for the incentive and help in the experimental design. Sincere thanks to CNPQ (National Council of Technological and Scientific Development) for granting a PhD scholarship to Filipe Dalla Costa, to EMBRAPA Swine and Poultry for financial support and to Coperdia and Aurora for the facilities usage. We appreciated the help of Neville George Gregory for the critical review of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

The animal handling procedures used in this research were approved by the São Paulo State University’s Animal Research Ethics Board (protocol number 6119-08).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zootecnia, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e VeterináriasUniversidade Estadual Paulista UNESP-FCAVJaboticabalBrazil
  2. 2.Embrapa Suínos e AvesConcórdiaBrazil

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