Interpretive Summary: Effects of thermal conditions on gestating sows’ behaviors and energy requirements
By: Justine Abarnou, Maëva Durand, Jean-Yves Dourmad, Charlotte Gaillard
Ambient temperature may influence the energy requirement of gestating sows, but this factor is not yet integrated daily in the calculation of this requirement. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of temperatures on sow’s behavior, physical activity, and energy requirements on gestating sows. The 37 gestating sows were housed in two groups for which the temperature of each room was maintained at different temperatures during four consecutive weeks: the first and third weeks at 18 °C on average (medium temperature), the second week at 15.5 °C (low temperature), and the last one at 32 °C (high temperature). The sows modified their behavior regarding the room temperature even though these changes differed regarding the group of sows. Compared to medium temperature, high temperatures may induce an increase of water consumption or of the time spent lying, and of the rectal temperature of some sows. Low temperatures may induce huddling and/or an increase in aggressiveness. Low and high temperatures seem to impact energy costs even though it depends on the group of sows. Therefore, ambient temperature and individual activity are relevant information to add into nutritional models to improve their accuracy of energy requirement prediction.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.