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Effect of Floor Cooling on Farrowing Sow and Litter Performance: Field Experiment Under Dutch Conditions

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 49(5): 1521-1527. (doi: 10.13031/2013.22044) @2006
Authors:   A. V. van Wagenberg, C. M. C. van der Peet-Schwering, G. P. Binnendijk, P. J. P. W. Claessen
Keywords:   Farrowing room, Feed intake, Floor cooling, Heat stress, Lying behavior

Lactating sows generally have problems dissipating their body heat to the environment. Cooling the floor under the sow's shoulder, called the cool-sow system, is a method to increase body heat removal by conduction, thereby contributing to the thermal comfort of the sow. In this study, the effect of the cool-sow system on the performance of the sow and her piglets in the farrowing room and on the position of the sow in the farrowing crate was determined. In total, 60 sows (parity between 2 and 5) were included in the study. One room with 12 pens was used during five batches in autumn, spring, and summer. During each batch, the floors were cooled in six randomly chosen pens, while the other six pens were used as reference pens. The sows on the cool-sow system had 0.6 kg higher average daily feed intake (P < 0.001). These sow's piglets grew 20 g per day per piglet faster (P < 0.001). There was no effect on the loss of bodyweight of the sow or on piglet mortality. The sows on the cool-sow system showed a higher feed intake during all five batches, not only during summer batches. Sow position and location in the crate was hardly affected by the cool-sow system. The cool-sow system removed on average 107 W of heat per pen, of which approximately 58 W was directly removed from the sow's body.

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