When conditions are too cold, our pigs will attempt to adapt by increasing heat production within its body and by minimising heat loss. Shivering increases metabolic heat production, and increasing feed intake increases heat production from digestion of feedstuffs which helps make the pig feel warmer, yes it is common sense but sometimes there is always one that will slip us by. It is also true to say, when pigs are stressed, they eat less rather than more so their heat production actually decreases. This is especially true at weaning time and when weaners are bought/sold and taken to their new homes in the winter or spring.Common sense prevails and it may not surprise you that great care must be taken to keep them warm during transport and for at least 1-2 weeks after they arrive.Signs to look out forParticular mannerisms to look out for when our pigs are trying to minimise heat loss include:
- huddling together
- tucking their legs beneath their bodies to limit contact with the floor
- seeking shelter or the warmest, least drafty area in their pen.
You may also observe that the younger pigs may even alter their dunging and sleeping habits and lie down in their excrement because faeces and urine provide a temporarily warm floor. But, in the long run, this behaviour gets them wet, increases heat loss from their body and just makes them feel even colder.A nice layer of straw will be greatly appreciated at this time and possibly a rubber matting underneath even heat lamps would be greatly appreciated at this time.
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