Most pigs in slatted systems are provided with enrichment meeting only minimum legal requirements. We aimed to explore the effects of a novel enrichment treatment consisting of daily provided fodder beet and jute bags for pigs in slatted systems, and investigate the timing of enrichment provision on performance, health and stress resilience. We used 280 weaners allocated into standard (S, meeting only legal requirements consisting of a plastic toy and softwood) or enriched (E) treatment (n = 14 groups/treatment). At regrouping during the grower to finisher transition, pigs were either kept in the same treatment (EESS) or switched from enriched to standard (ES) and vice versa (SE); each treatment was replicated on five groups. Pigs were weighted at the start and end of weaner, and finisher stage, and feed intake was recorded. Occurrence of scouring, respiratory problems, locomotor disorders, tail, ear, and body lesions were recorded twice a week. Ten males per treatment were sampled for saliva on days 1, 2 and 4, either postweaning or after the housing switch. Saliva samples were analysed for cortisol, alpha-amylase, haptoglobin (Hp), and adenosine deaminase. Additionally, these pigs were sampled for hair at the start and end of weaner, and end of finisher stage to analyse for hair cortisol and cortisone. We found that E weaners consumed less feed (P = 0.04), had better FCR (feed conversion ratioP = 0.03) and less ear lesions for two weeks postweaning (P = 0.04), and tended to have lower occurrence of scouring (P = 0.07) and higher salivary cortisol concentrations (P = 0.09) than S weaners. Effects of enrichment treatment during weaner stage on performance were carried through to finisher stage, with EE and ES pigs having better FCR (P = 0.0009) and higher BW (P = 0.0001) compared to SS and SE pigs. E treatment during finisher stage decreased feed intake (P = 0.04) and tended to decrease Hp levels (P = 0.07). There was a significant interaction between enrichment treatments during weaner and finisher stages on finisher body lesions: EE finishers had less lesions than SS, ES, and SE finishers (P = 0.04). There were no other significant differences caused either by enrichment treatment during weaner/finisher stage or their interaction. We conclude that the novel enrichment applied at weaner stage had positive effects on ear lesions and performance, which were carried through to finisher stage. Body lesions were affected by its application during both stages, with finishers receiving the enrichment treatment throughout (EE) having reduced body lesions than the rest of the finishers.

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