Early Pig Care: Room Temperature and Comfort Zone

As pork producers are aware, every weaned pig must thrive to maximize profitability. Early pig care matters. Proper early pig care can lead to better animal well-being, reduced losses and maximized profits. Recall It is important to remember that minimizing both stress at reception and health challenges are key to excellent early pig care. To minimize stress at reception, carefully manage:

  • Hydration
  • Early feed intake
  • Comfort zone
  • Proper room temperature
  • Proper placement

Today, let’s review how to achieve proper barn temperature and correctly use comfort zones.

True or False?

Weaned pigs should arrive to a dry barn with a room temperature of 75 to 85°F, and barns should be pre-warmed at least 4-6hrs prior to the arrival of the pigs.
True. Dry barns help the effectiveness of disinfectant, and pre-warming the room reduces the shock of pigs arriving on cold slats (slats take the longest to warm up).

Desired room temperature depends only on stocking density.
False. Desired room temperature depends on many more factors than just stocking density. It also depends on age and weight of the pigs, pig health, floor type, solid walls or curtains, outside temperature, season and comfort zone quality.

When the comfort zone is removed from the pens, the room temperature should be adjusted back to the normal room temperature curve. True. When brooders and mats are removed, increase room temperature back to normal to avoid chilling the pigs. Room temperature can be reduced by 2°F/week after 3 weeks. True. The below graph shows the desired room temperature per week on feed for slatted wean to finish barns.

Comfort zones are used only for pigs that are poor competitors.
False. Comfort zones are used in normal population pens, in sorting pens, in hospital pens and for small pigs.

Comfort zones are used so that the room temperature can be reduced to improve air quality.
True. When ventilation rates improver, the humidity level can be controlled easier.

A comfort zone could include brooders, heat lamps, mats or radiators. True.

Comfort zones allow the desired room temperature to be anywhere from 2 to 10°F lower than that of the comfort zone.
True. If properly implemented brooders allow a room temperature reduction of 7°F and mats allow a room temperature reduction of 2-3°F.

Temperature should be 115°F directly underneath the brooder.
False. Temperature should be 95°F directly underneath the brooder.

The mat should be large enough to provide 0.2 ft2/pig of mat space.
False. The mat should be large enough to provide 0.4 ft2 of mat space per pig.

Complete adherence to proper barn temperature/comfort zone use and the other early pig care basics by well-trained and motivated staff, will ensure the genetic potential of your PIC pigs is maximized as they stay on the road to optimal lifetime performance.