BPEX blog

Friday, 3 August 2012

Solutions for low stress summer

Gilts and sows are typically prone to a lower conception rate during the summer months. It harks back to the modern pig’s ancestors; the wild boar would not usually mate at this time. And when the temperature goes up, it can mean additional stress for pigs.

As soon as the temperature rises above 18C the adult pig will need to cool itself. If pigs struggle to stay cool, the farrowing rate can drop by as much as 25%, with a small drop in litter size too.

Some solutions for both indoor and outdoor herds include: serving sows earlier or later in the day when it’s cooler, ensuring good hygiene when serving and washing hands regularly or having gloves at hand. It’s also worth serving an extra 10% of gilts/sows to offset the possible lower conception rate.

Indoor producers, specifically, should also: check insulation, as good insulation keeps the building cooler, make sure fans are clean, in order to operate fully, check water flow rates and consider adding a shower facility for the summer months.
On outdoor units wallows are important: make wallows twice the normal size to ensure all sows/gilts can access them at all times. Wallows need to be liquid, not muddy, to work best – so add clean water daily when very hot. Also, AI doses need to be kept at 16-18C in an insulated container and out of sunlight.

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