Heat stress is caused when a pig’s body temperature rises above certain limits; in these circumstances, the pig will first increase its respiration rate in an attempt to keep cool, then search for environmental opportunities for cooling, ie wallowing, soiling pen and lying in urine. If the pig cannot cool itself sufficiently it will collapse and, in the worst scenario, die.
Pigs subjected to high temperatures will have reduced growth rates (by up to 50g/d) and, in the breeding herd, farrowing rates could decline by as much as 25% with litter size showing a small drop as well.
We have a range of resources to help you prepare for summer and minimise the risk of your pigs becoming heat stressed, whether they are housed indoors or outdoors.
- RIA 10 Seasonality in pigs
- RIA 20 Seasonal infertility
- Action for productivity 39 Boar heat stress
- Pig Health - Sunburn and Heatstroke/Heatstress (NADIS)
- Preparing for the summer months: seasonal infertility and beyond (Australian Pork)
- Action for productivity 4 Heat stress outdoors
- Case Study 3 Heat Stress In Outdoor Sows
- Case Study 35 Wallows in farrowing paddocks
Fire prevention and control
While there is always a risk of fires breaking out on farm, the risk is much greater during periods of prolonged high temperatures and dry conditions.
Click here for some timely reminders for preventing and managing fires on farms.