Heat lamps and heat mats in the farrowing house: Effect on piglet production, piglet and sow behavior and energy usage

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Lane, Karli
Major Professor
Kenneth J. Stalder
Anna K. Johnson
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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There is opportunity to capitalize on piglet and sow behavior in the farrowing to aide in the decrease of pre-weaning mortality. However, there is limited knowledge in the scientific literature concerning how supplemental heat sources affect piglet and sow behavior and performance during parturition and lactation. Additionally, the farrowing house represents a significant portion of energy usage in farrow-to-wean swine production. However, energy use studies have not expanded on the costs associated with providing different supplemental heat sources including implementation. The overall thesis goal was to create a comparison of heat lamps and heat mats as supplemental heat sources in the farrowing house to assist in the decision-making process. Therefore, three objectives were identified for the present study: ) To evaluate piglet production measures including pre-weaning mortality, litter weaning weight and average daily gain, 2) To evaluate piglet behavior in respect to heat source usage and physical contact with the dam, as well as the sow’s behavior in relation to heat source placement and 3) To evaluate the energy usage of each supplemental heat source and create a cost analysis.

Observed results from these studies demonstrated that piglet production including litter weaning weight, litter average daily gain and pre-weaning mortality were not affected by supplemental heat source treatment type. In chapters 3 and 4, the study utilized crossbred pigs to evaluate piglet behavior in respect to heat source usage and physical contact with the sow and sow lying behavior. Sow and piglet behavior showed no difference based on supplemental heat source type therefore it suggests that factors other than supplemental heat source may be motivators for piglet behavior in the farrowing stall. In research chapters 3 and 4, a cost analysis was conducted using energy usage and initial implementation costs of two supplemental heat source types. Based on these studies, substantial energy and cost savings can be achieved when heat mats are utilized as the supplemental heat source for the piglets from parturition through lactation and until weaning occurs. In conclusion, neither supplemental heat source has a distinct advantage from a productivity standpoint in the farrowing house, however heat mats offer an opportunity for energy and cost savings even though initial costs are substantially greater when compared to heat lamps.

Thu Aug 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019