It pays to understand the air flow inside pig houses. Knowing how air behaves inside buildings helps to be better able to apply a correct ventilation policy inside the pig houses. Pig management expert John Gadd explains more and introduces 7 ventilation rules.
Some time ago, I wrote about better insulation of pig houses. Following up on that topic, I continue with this mini-series on key and basic profit-dependent areas of pig production – with more to follow in upcoming columns.
“Why go back to basics like this,” you ask. “Surely we know it all?” Yes, many of you do, but in my experience of problem solving on pig units – even today many don’t, so a series of refresher courses on them could be called for.
In my farm visits, many of the causes and solutions involve ventilation. And a discussion on basics back in the farm kitchen can open eyes, and with better understanding, the remedies seem much more feasible; the response being… “I never realised the cause was due to that.”
So for economic reasons we need to keep the pigs in their environmentally-influenced comfort zone. The primary objectives to achieve this are:
A truism. And generally poorly appreciated.
Recently, in an interesting contribution to our Heat Stress special edition, Prof Bruno Silva explained about pig cooling techniques
It is easier to keep pigs warmer in cold weather than sufficiently cool in hot weather. With global warming meaning (much) hotter summers, the effect of exceeding the animal’s Upper Critical Temperature by lowered performance is:
(a) underrated and
(b) getting worse.
From years of hard-earned experience I find clients much better at keeping pigs warm than keeping them cool enough. In the former they are alert to huddling, shivering, compensatory over-eating, but are less aware of hot weather signs of wrong-mucking especially when it occurs in central pens rather than in pens at either end of the building.
Greater incidence of tail biting and other ‘disturbance vices’ as well of a fall-off in appetite – not always noticed as even if slight it, can still acutely influence performance – sow performance especially with their several months of backlog. Clients are surprised when told that incorrect ventilation is the most likely cause of their worries.
Ventilation works when the rules are followed, choice being dependent on cost, payback and suitability for the circumstances. Those without such modern systems which do it for you must be aware of the rules.
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