This study compared water‐heated mats (WM) and electric‐heated mats (EM) with heat lamps (HL) as supplemental heat sources for suckling piglets. Forty‐two litters were studied in 3 trials. In all trials, behavior of piglets was video‐recorded on day 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 postpartum. Videos were scan‐sampled to register postures (lying and standing) and locations (on or away from mat) to assess piglet use of heat sources. Litter size and weight at birth and weaning, and pre-weaning mortality were recorded. Data were analyzed using Glimmix Procedures of SAS. Piglets spent more time on WM than under HL (67.5% vs. 51.0%, p = 0.002). No difference in piglet performance between WM and HL was observed, except mortality tended to be higher in WM (22.9% vs. 8.9%; p = 0.06). Piglet performance and use of the heat source were comparable for HL and EM. When comparing WM with EM, piglets provided WM spent more time on the mat compared to those provided EM (21.8% vs. 17.1%; p = 0.02). No difference in pre‐weaning mortality, litter weight, and individual daily gain was observed between WM and EM group. These results suggest EM and HL were comparable to maintain performance and postural behaviors of piglets.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was partially supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Rapid Agricultural Response Funds (Project title: Development of low‐carbon footprint energy systems for swine production facilities, Grant #00066686).
This work was partially supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Rapid Agricultural Response Funds (Project title: Development of low?carbon footprint energy systems for swine production facilities, Grant #00066686). The authors appreciate A. M. Hilbrands, M. Smith, K. T. Sharpe, K. Janni, B. Hetchler, B. Lozinski, and students and staff of the University of Minnesota?s West Central Research and Outreach Center for assisting in conducting the animal trials and data collection from video?recordings.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Heat source
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article