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

Citation:  Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium, 18-20 May 2005 (Beijing, China) Publication Date 18 May 2005  701P0205.(doi:10.13031/2013.18357)
Authors:   M. Barbari
Keywords:   Cooling, shower, automatic shower cage, pregnant sows

In a dynamic group of 193 pregnant sows (average number of the experimental period) two Automatic Shower Cages (ASC) were installed during summer 2004. The ASC is a cage composed of a metallic tubular structure, 1.90 m long and 0.55 m wide. In the upper part of the cage the sprinklers are mounted. On the top an electronic controller, which regulates the water sprinkling time, is installed. The cages were provided with a data communication system, which allowed information about the utilization of the shower equipment by the single sows of the group to be stored on a PC.

The percentage use of the ASC, that is the number of sows taking at least one shower during the day, was 50.39% on average ( 15.89). With the highest daily temperatures (July, 23rd) the number of sows taking showers increased to 76.92%.

The number of showers taken by the sows during the day is related to the microclimatic conditions, arriving at 788 on a hot day. A single shower has an average length of 59 sec, but this value greatly fluctuates in relation to outside temperature, arriving to an average value of 80 sec. Thus, the total time spent in the 2 ASC by the sows of the group can exceed the 17.5 hours per day.

In conclusion the sows of the experimental group appreciated the systems installed, which were based on free access, the possibility to take showers round the clock and also for several times consecutively.

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