Comparison of heat lamps and heat mats in the farrowing house: effect on piglet production, energy use, and piglet and sow behavior through live observation
Objectives: To determine the effect of heat lamps versus heat mats on piglet performance measures, sow lying behavior, piglet behavior, and energy use.
Materials and methods: Seventeen multiparous crossbred sows housed in farrowing stalls were randomly assigned to one of two heat source treatments: Baby Pig Heat Mat - Single 48 (MAT; n = 8) or Poly Heat Lamp Fixture (LAMP; n = 9). Piglets were weighed on day 1 and at weaning and any mortalities were recorded to evaluate piglet production measures. For 7 days over the course of lactation (day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, week before weaning, and day before weaning), sows and their litters were observed for 2 hours twice daily to evaluate behavior. Electric meters were attached to individual heat source units to monitor energy use.
Results: Piglet production parameters were unaffected by treatment type; litter weaning weight (P = .85), litter average daily gain (P = .79), and preweaning mortality (P = .58). Piglet behavior had variation in the number of piglets using a heat source within day across treatments (P < .001). The number of piglets in contact with the sow decreased during early lactation for both treatment types and increased during late lactation with more MAT pigs tending to be in contact with the sow (P < .001).
Implications: Using heat mats as supplemental heat in the farrowing house may result in decreased energy use and increased savings without hindering piglet production parameters.
This article is published as Lane, Karli J., Anna K. Johnson, Carson E. J. Stilwill, Locke A. Karriker, Jay D. Harmon, and Kenneth J. Stalder. "Comparison of heat lamps and heat mats in the farrowing house: effect on piglet production, energy use, and piglet and sow behavior through live observation." Journal of Swine Health and Production 28, no. 4 (2020): 205-212. Posted with permission.