Adjusting the feed during summer

Published: 27-04-2023

Most animals are able to remove excess heat from the body through sweating and increased breathing. Pigs are highly sensible to heat stress because they can only sweat to a limited extent.

If the pigs suffer from heat stress, it will often negatively influence productivity and hence the financial bottom line.

The heat is coming soon, so the pigs need to handle high temperatures in a different way to avoid overheating. In nature, they will moisten their skin with water or mud to cool themselves down.

Heat stress

During the summer period temperatures increase and it has an influence on the well-being and performance of your pigs.

High temperatures can cause problems, especially in the farrowing house, where sows may react with reduced appetite and poor milk production. In the gestation house, sudden deaths of heavily pregnant sows due to overheating and heatstroke can occur. Even piglets and finishing pigs can be affected by high temperatures.

If sprinklers have been installed in the barns, this can help keep the temperature down.

Prevent problems with heat stress

It is important to address several parameters to prevent problems with heat stress:

  • Check that the water supply is in order and that all water nipples provide sufficient water.
  • Ensure that the ventilation is functioning optimally to ensure good air circulation.
  • Increase the concentration in the feed so that the animals can achieve the same energy intake with less feed.
  • Add betaine to the mineral mixture.

Betaine is a vitamin-like substance that regulates the animals' fluid balance in the body. Betaine is widely used in herds in Southern and Eastern Europe, where summer temperatures can reach around 35-40 degrees Celsius. The dosage of betaine is within the range of 600-1000 mg/FE.

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