The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of infrared (IR) temperature on thermoregulatory behaviour in suckling piglets in the first 3 weeks after farrowing. A total of 10 piglets from each of the 16 litters were exposed to recommended IR temperature conditions at 1, 2 and 3 weeks of age, with a mild offset (4°C) in IR temperature during the first experiment and a more challenging offset (8°C) during the second experiment. Digital photos were taken when all piglets had settled in the creep area, and the lying posture and huddling behaviour were analysed. A lying posture score and a huddling score was calculated by multiplying the number of piglets in each category with a given value for each category, based on different lying postures and different degrees of huddling behaviour. With a 4°C change in IR temperature, the piglets tended to alter their lying posture, while an 8°C change had a significant effect on lying posture (P < 0.01). A change in IR temperature of 4°C had no effect on the degree of huddling. The huddling score decreased significantly with 8°C change in IR temperature (P < 0.05). Postural changes, rather than changes in degree of huddling were the preferred thermoregulatory strategy for suckling piglets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology