Into the Comfort Zone: Understanding Swine Thermal Preference
thesisposted on 01.03.2021, 23:51 by Lindsey A Robbins
Exposure to thermal stress can negatively impact an animals' overall welfare, resulting in decreased body condition, lower reproductive success, and in severe cases, mortality. The swine industry has prioritized efficient production and as a result has gained rapid improvements in lean growth and increase litter sizes. Unfortunately, modern swine are unable to cope with the negative effects of heat stress. Thus, it is crucial to understand the preferred temperature of swine to create recommendations on when to initiate mitigation strategies to combat the negative effects of thermal stress. However, several different factors contribute to an animals' thermal comfort and thermal preference will differ based on age, reproductive stage, social context, early life thermal stress, and behavior. Thus, making it exceptionally difficult to classify an animal's thermal comfort zone. These studies aim to highlight how those factors influence thermal comfort in pigs and help guide recommendation polices for housing pigs in their preferred temperatures.