PRELIMINARYANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT COOLING SYSTEMS OF SOWS IN FARROWING ROOM
AbstractA preliminary evaluation of different cooling systems for farrowing - lactating sows was conducted in a pig farm in the North of Italy. In an experimental farrowing room 16 crates were used to study different cooling solutions during three cycles of observations. The evaluated systems were: drip cooling (five crates), drip and snout cooling (six crates), drip cooling and a full steel sheet placed under the body of the sow (five crates). Rectal and skin temperatures were measured during hot hours of the day. Fat thickness was measured and body condition score of the sows was estimated at the beginning and at the end of the lactating period. A closed-circuit television system was also installed to collect information about the behaviour of the sows cooled with the drip system or with both drip and snout cooling system. While differences concerning body and skin temperatures as well as BCS and fat thickness were not significant, the behavioural patterns showed how the sows appreciated the contemporaneous use of the drip and snout cooling methods. The sows preferred to lie with the snout towards the air outlet especially during the hottest hours of the day. In order to obtain the best thermal conditions inside the farrowing crate, the drip system had to be coupled with the snout cooling system and the full metal floor placed under the head of the sows. Further studies are necessary to confirm the preliminary obtained results.
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