Pigs: Action for Productivity No 3: Heat Stress (Indoor herds)

Explanation of heat stress and how it can affect the pig when kept indoors. Means of reduction are provided

Year of Publication2007

Heat stress is caused when a pig's body temperature rises above certain limits; in these circumstances the pig will first increase its respiration rate in an attempt to keep cool, then search for environmental opportunities for cooling, i.e. wallowing, soiling pen and lying in urine. If the pig cannot cool itself sufficiently it will collapse and, in the worst scenario, die. The aim is to keep pigs within their thermoneutral zone in order to maintain fertility throughout the year and maintain high feed intake and growth rates throughout the summer months. Means of reduction are provided, these are buildings (insulation, closed & controlled heated creeps), ventilation, alarms & emergency equipment and water. Management guidelines are given for different herds (sows, boars, lactating sows etc), taking into account factors such as weather conditions on interior temperatures.

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