With temperature and humidity levels creeping up, Lallemand Animal Nutrition is reminding pig producers to make sure ventilation is in good working order to prevent heat stress.
Heat stress can significantly impact productivity levels, with suffering pigs exhibiting irregular feeding behaviour and a loss of appetite, resulting in lower feed intakes and subsequently, inconsistent and reduced performance.
“If there’s an issue with the ventilation system it needs to be identified as soon as possible,” said said Mark McFarland, feed additive product manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “Carrying out simple maintenance like removing dust and applying grease to moving parts where needed, can make a huge difference to the amount of clean and cool air reaching the pigs.”
As well as ensuring proper ventilation, Mr McFarland said it is important producers look out for the signs of heat stress, including panting, loss in weight and lethargy, and adjust management practices accordingly.
“Due to heat stress inducing a change in feeding behaviour, feeding smaller portions regularly can help to prevent gorging which can lead to bloat and sudden death. Meals should be available during the cooler parts of the day as pigs will be more likely to empty troughs reducing waste and poor trough hygiene, especially if liquid fed.”
For those who are experiencing reduced or varied feed intakes, particularly in their sows, Mr McFarland advises adding a proven probiotic supplement to the diet which can help maintain feed intakes by enabling pigs to adapt their eating behaviour to the heat stress conditions.
Mr McFarland added: “Ultimately, a combined approach of adapting feeding patterns and making sure environmental factors like ventilation and drinking water systems are functioning properly will help provide pigs with the best protection against heat stress.”