Interpretive Summary: Impact of housing environment and management on pre-/post-weaning piglet productivity
By: Brett C Ramirez, Morgan D Hayes, Isabella C F S Condotta, Suzanne M Leonard
Achievement of pre-/post-weaning piglet success requires careful environmental management to ensure the thermal needs of the pigs are adequately met to reduce stress and promote livability, performance, and health. This review focuses on the impact and management of the housing environment as well as responses of pigs during the first 8 wk of life, separated into pre-weaning (creep areas) and post-weaning (nursery or wean-finish) phases. Immediately following farrowing, the wet piglet with limited insulation and thermoregulation capabilities requires proper husbandry practices and a strictly controlled microclimate. As the piglet develops throughout lactation, the weaning event and following transportation induces further stress which can be minimized through proper trailer conditions and transition to a grain-based diet. Placement in the new housing environment must prevent cold stress as piglets need to increase feed intake to increase metabolic heat production. An evaluation of available technology for monitoring piglet responses shows the urgent need for further development as their size and environment inhibits the use of wearable or implantable sensors; hence, advanced non-contact approaches are needed. This review provides a comprehensive characterization of the positive and negative impacts of housing environment and management on pre-/post-weaning piglets.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.