Livestock Research for Rural Development 24 (11) 2012 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Voluntary feed intake and preference of locally available feeds by the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu/Pecari tajacu) a Neo-tropical animal, farmed in Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

G M Young, C H O Lallo, H Archimede*, G Legall** and G W Garcia

Open Tropical Forage-Animal Production Laboratory (OTF-APL), Department of Food Production,
Faculty of Food and Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Trinidad and Tobago
* INRA UR 143 Unité de Recherches Zootechniques, INRA Antilles-Guyane, Domaine Duclos, 97170 Petit Bourg, Guadeloupe
** Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mt. Hope. Trinidad and Tobago


Nine animals with a mean initial weight of 14.2 (±0.3) kg were used for this study.  They were divided into three (3) breeding groups, each group consisting of one (1) male and two (2) females.  A 3 x 3 Latin Square design was used where each of three treatments (A, B and C) was randomly applied to each breeding group in each of the three periods.  Treatment A consisted of Citrus meal-Green Banana fruit-Dasheen tubers; treatment B, Trichanthera gigantea (leaves and stems)-Coconut meal-Pig grower and treatment C, Soybean meal-Pumpkin-Cassava tubers.  A period comprised seven days of adaptation and seven days of collection.  The variables measured were Dry Matter Feed Intake (DMI) and feedstuff preference relative to Pig grower. 

Dry Matter intake (g/head/d), (g/100g LW) and (g/kg0.75 LW) did not differ between pens (breeding groups) or period and values ranged from 393 to 442 g/head/d, 2.42 to 2.92 g/100g LW and 35to 45g/kg0.75 LW, respectively.  Feedstuffs showing the lowest preference index were Soybean meal, Coconut meal and Citrus meal of 0.827, 0.588 and 0.510, respectively.  Values for Cassava tubers, Green Banana fruit, Pumpkin and Trichanthera were 1.74, 1.79, 1.72 and 1.73, respectively.  For treatments A, B and C the values were 1.33, 1.11 and 1.43, respectively.  There was no correlation between crude protein intake and DMI (r = 0.05) and crude protein intake ranged from 21.5 to 76 g/hd/d.  It was concluded that intensively raised peccary can be fed local feedstuffs such as Cassava tubers, Pumpkin and Dasheen tubers available as waste from crop production, while the Trichanthera gigantea can be used as a viable protein source.  However, a low preference was shown for Citrus meal and Coconut meal.  Further work is required to find the optimal feedstuff combination to meet the nutrient requirement of the collared peccary at different physiological states.

Keywords: cassava tubers, citrus meal, coconut meal, Dasheen tubers, green banana fruit, Latin Square Design, pig grower, pumpkin, soybean meal, Trichanthera gigantea


The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu also known as Tayassu tajacu) is native to both South and North America.  It is also found in the Small Island State of Trinidad and Tobago, (Garcia et al 2005).  This animal lives in diverse climatic conditions ranging from the Amazonian tropical rainforest to the semi-arid zones of southern U.S.A.  The collared peccary is almost entirely herbivorous (Strey and Brown 1989).  In the Amazon region, (which Trinidad is accepted to have become detached from), the collared peccary is largely a frugivore, feeding mainly on the fruits of palms (Kiltie 1981; Bodmer 1989; Barreto et al 1997; Fragoso 1999).  Nogueira-Filho and Nogueira (2004) found that it “adapts easily to different kinds of food such as cassava, cassava hulls, pumpkin, maize, sorghum silage, maize silage, sugar cane and compound pig diets.”  Photo 1 shows a suckling female.

Photo 1: A Collared Peccary Female suckling its two newborn [Source: Hugo Galvez]

This animal has a unique digestive system and is regarded by some as a pseudo-ruminant (Stewart 1964; Langer 1979) with an enlarged fore-stomach  divided into four separate compartments, a gastric pouch, two blind sacs and a glandular stomach (Langer 1979).  However, studies by Comizzoli et al (1997) indicated that when fed a concentrate, total tract apparent digestibility (TTAD) was similar to monogastric species (88.8% for gross energy, 83.3% for nitrogen). 

In Trinidad and Tobago, as in other Neo-tropical areas, collared peccaries are harvested from the wild for their meat.  Even though there are laws governing the hunting season in Trinidad and Tobago, over-exploitation of wild animals poses a threat to their existence, and undermines the sustainability of  wild population, such that Garcia et al (2005) noted that Trinidad’s “natural wildlife is under threat from poachers and bush fires during the dry season (that generally runs from December to May)…”  As such, the movement towards breeding in captivity and the development of intensive animal production systems for meat and skin production is being explored (Garcia et al 2005; Nogueira-Filho 2005).  Additionally, the animal has shown great nutritional adaptability in these systems.  In fact, Nogueira-Filho (2005) noted that “some Brazilian rural producers have tamed this species for meat and leather production and its status as a pseudo-ruminant animal could enable cheap diets to be formulated.”  Despite this relatively ‘positive’ indicator for rearing collared peccaries, Nogueira-Filho et al (2006) (citing Nogueira-Filho 2005), noted that “many peccary farms use commercial pig diets (which increase the production costs).  In conventional intensive systems, feed cost generally accounts for more than 50% of the overall production cost, so the possibility of decreasing this cost for collared peccary production can increase its attractiveness for farming.  While the work of Nogueira-Filho et al (2006) has shown that in Brazil, the collared peccary can easily adapt to consuming feedstuffs such as those stated above, very limited work has been done generally in this area, and none in Trinidad and Tobago. 


The objective of this study was that of determining the Dry Matter feed intake (DMI), and the Preference index (Pi) of intensively-reared collared peccaries for some selected feedstuff mixes available in Trinidad and Tobago, including the Pig grower concentrate used by the farmer. 

Materials and Methods

Farm Location and Climate

The study was conducted on a collared peccary farm in a village called La Pastora in Santa Cruz, located in the Northern Range of Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.   

Animals and Management

Nine animals with a mean initial weight of 14.200 (±0.3) kg were used for this study.  They were divided into three (3) breeding groups, each group consisting of one (1) male and two (2) females.  They were housed in separate pens of 405cm x 166cm on average, per animal. 

Feeds and Treatments

All animals had ad libitum access to feed and water.  They were fed with fresh chopped feedstuffs between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m.  The by-products and the concentrate were fed without further processing.  Offered feeds and refusals were weighed using a Globe Universal Hanging Scale (Max. Capacity: 22lbs x 10 oz./100 kg x 50g).  Feed and refusal samples were taken and dried [drying overnight at 105˚C (AOAC 2005 934.01)].  The samples were ground in a stainless steel hammer mill (Thomas Wiley Laboratory mill, model 4; Thomas Scientific USA) to pass through a 1 mm sieve in preparation for chemical analysis.  Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) and Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) were determined by the filter bag technique using ANKOM2000 fiber analyzer (ANKOM Technology, Macedon N Y).  Sodium sulphite and amylase (α) was used in the NDF analysis.  Acid Detergent Lignin [72% H2SO4- ADL] was determined according to Van Soest et al (1991).  Nitrogen was determined by Kjeldahl method (AOAC 2005 976.05).  Crude protein was calculated by multiplying the nitrogen content by 6.25 (CP = N x 6.25).  The chemical compositions of feedstuffs are shown in Table 1.  

Table 1: Chemical composition on a dry matter basis (g/kg Dry Matter Intake for feedstuff used in the study


OM (g/kg)

Ash (g/kg)

CP (g/kg)

NDF (g/kg)

ADF (g/kg)

ADL (g/kg)

Citrus meal







Coconut meal







Soybean meal







Pig grower







Trichantera gigantea







Pumpkin Fruit







Dasheen Tubers







Green Banana Fruit







Cassava Tubers







There were three treatments: Treatment A: Citrus meal-Green Banana fruit-Dasheen tubers; Treatment B: Trichanthera gigantea (leaves and stems)-Coconut meal-Pig grower; and Treatment C: Soybean meal-Pumpkin-Cassava tubers. 

Weighing of Animals 

On weigh days, feed was removed from all the animals early in the morning in order to minimize gut fill error.  The test animals were weighed using the MTI weigh systems digital bar. 

Data Collection 

A period comprised seven (7) days for adaptation and seven (7) days for collection.  The variables measured were DMI and preference of feedstuffs relative to Pig grower.  The latter was calculated based on principles outlined by Mokoboki et al (2011).  Pig grower was chosen because this was the supplement used by the farmer.  Thus, the relative Preference index (Pi) was calculated as follows: 


PGi=(PGI/PGO)/(PGI/PGO) for Pig grower

Pfsi=(FSI/FSO)/ (PGI/PGO) where i=feedstuffs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 

Where PGI = Pig grower intake; PGO = Pig grower offered; FSI = feedstuff intake; FSO = feedstuff offered.  In this way the relative preference for each feedstuff was estimated on a daily basis for the period of data collection.  The Preference index (Pi) of each feedstuff was then used to estimate the Pi for each treatment A, B and C. 

Statistical Design and Analysis 

A 3 x 3 Latin Square design was used where treatments A, B and C were randomly assigned to the groups.  Data were subject to General Linear Method (GLM) where the fixed effects were: feeds, pen (Breeding groups) and period and differences between the Means (Mean separation) were done using Turkey pair-wise comparison in the Minitab 15 software program (Minitab 2007).   


Dry Matter Intake (DMI) and Average Live Weight values are given in Table 2.

Table 2:  Total Dry Matter Intake (DMI) and Average Live Weight (LW) for the collared peccaries



Average LW



g/100g LW

g/kg0.75 LW





































Feed intake and the Pi are summarized in Table 3.  Green Banana fruit, Cassava tubers, Trichanthera gigantea (leaves and stems) and Pumpkin fruit were the most preferred feedstuffs.  Conversely, Soybean meal, Coconut meal and Citrus meal received the lowest Pi values.  DMI, Pi, crude protein, and fiber (ADF) and lignin (ADL) intake for Treatments A, B and C are shown in Table 4. 

Table 3: Dry Matter Feed intake and Preference (Pi) for feedstuffs fed to collared peccaries



DMI (g/d)

Cassava tuber



Citrus meal



Coconut meal



Dasheen tuber



Green banana fruit



Pig grower



Pumpkin fruit



Soybean meal



Trichantera gigantea

(leaves and stems)



   ± SEM















Table 4:  Dry Matter Intake (DMI), Preference index (Pi), crude protein, acid detergent fiber (ADF) and acid detergent Lignin (ADL) intake for treatments.



(g/100g LW)


Crude Protein Intake

g DM/hd/d

ADF Intake

g DM/hd/d

ADL Intake

g DM/hd/d
































p= 0.126

p= 0.200

p = 0.063


p = 0.738


p = 0.536

p =0.001


p = 0.566

p= 0.343


p = 0.536

p =0.001

p= 0.097

p = 0.302

p = 0.420

Treatment A - Citrus meal-Green Banana fruit-Dasheen tubers;

Treatment B - Trichanthera gigantea, (leaves and stems)-Coconut meal-Pig grower;

Treatment C - Soybean meal-Pumpkin fruit-Cassava tubers.


Forbes (1995) defined feed intake as the total weight of feed ingested in a given period of free access to feed, generally a day, and the potential feed intake as the weight of feed required to fulfill the animal’s nutrient requirements.  The regulation of feed intake is complex, involving the central nervous system and nutrients or metabolites in the body (Stanley et al 2005).  Roche et al (2008) reviewed the neuro-endocrine and physiological mechanism involved in the regulation of feed intake.  In fact, a substantial amount of literature exists, which relates to the relationship between nutritional factors and feed intake in the monogastric animal (Forbes 1995).  It is also known that the animal species, genotype and physiological state influence both its feed intake and lean growth potential.  These two factors combined are important in determining the diet to be fed in order to meet the animal’s nutrient requirements within the limit of its intake capacity.  Feed intake in the literature for the collared peccary largely refers to adult animals where animals were either losing weight or were kept at maintenance levels during digestibility and balance studies (Nogueira-Filho et al 2006; Comizzoli et al 1997).  Dry Matter Intakes (DMI) obtained in this study  are higher than those reported by Nogueira-Filho et al (2006) (1.80g/100g LW) in Brazil.  However, DMI based on metabolic weight was not so different from the value (47 g/kg LW 0.75) obtained by Nogueira-Filho (2005).  Comizzoli et al (1997) found that when two peccary species were fed 25 or 35 g/kg LW 0.75 they lost weight, indicating that the DMI level was too low to meet their maintenance requirement. 

In practice it is well recognized that feed intake is usually significantly lower than potential intake due to a range of factors including internal animal constraints, environmental limitations and nutritional factors (Forbes 1995).  Similarly DMI in the literature may differ for related reasons.  In the present study there was a larger space allocation, thus higher activity levels are possible and this would necessarily increase maintenance energy requirement and influence the higher DMI observed (Nychoti et al 2004).   

Nogueira-Filho et al (2006) in their study indicated that these animals have a preference for Cassava by-product meal, Banana and Soybean meal (SBM), with the latter showing a lower apparent dry matter digestibility.  In the present study Pi was high for Cassava tubers, Dasheen tubers, Green Banana fruits, Pumpkin fruit and Trichanthera gigantea (leaves and stems).  Conversely, the Pi values for SBM, Citrus meal and Coconut meal were relatively low compared to those of the fresh feedstuffs.  A possible explanation for this may be that it could be linked to the flavor and dustiness of SBM and flavor of Coconut meal due to the oil (possibly rancidity) and Citrus meal (bitterness) (Roura 2003).  The highest DMI was obtained for Cassava tubers at 1041 g DM/d and Pig grower 798 g DM/d while the others ranged from 63 to 730 g DM/d.  These results support the findings of Gallagher et al (1984) that peccary showed greater intake for concentrate diet compared to natural diets. 

Physical and chemical characteristics (fiber content, hydrolysis of starch, inert bulk, particle size and particle fragility) of dietary ingredients, and their interactions can have a significant effect on DMI (Dado and Allen, 1995; Allen, 1996).  There was no correlation found between DMI and crude protein intake (r= 0.05), and this agrees with the finding of Nogueira-Filho et al (2006).  It must be noted that animals used in this study were still growing.  Lallo (2009 unpublished) based on published reports of Comizzoli et al (1997); Carl and Brown (1985), Gallagher et al (1984) and Shively et al (1985) found that the protein requirement for maintenance was estimated at 7g/kgLW0.75 and that for growth was 23g/kgLW0.75 giving a total requirement of 30g/kgLW0.75.  This information suggests that treatments used in this study did not meet the protein requirement. 

Conclusion and Recommendations


The authors offer heartfelt thanks and appreciation to: Miguel Reyes and family, Roger Malcolm, Keegan Fanovich, Dion Ramoutar, Kyle Young, Lucinda Young, Edward E. Young, Rhys Young, Christopher Young, Dean Avril, Andell Edwards, Department of Food Production and INRA-UR 143 Laboratories, for their assistance. 


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Received 11 February 2012; Accepted 10 August 2012; Published 6 November 2012

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