Use of electronically-controlled floor cooling pads during heat stress in thermoregulatory and reproductive performances in swine
Substantial economic losses occur in the swine industry during periods of high ambient temperatures. Heat stress produces physiological changes such as increased body temperature and respiration rate resulting in production losses from decreased reproductive performance, growth rate and feed intake. Heat stress in growing gilts delays puberty and decreases ovarian follicle numbers. In boars heat stress decreases semen quality. Electronically-controlled floor cooling pads were designed and constructed to assist pigs with thermoregulation by removing excess heat from pigs in a production facility. Based on this study, experiments were conducted to further investigate the effects of electronically-controlled cooling pads on physiological and reproductive performances in gilts and boars. A study was conducted on limit-fed gilts at 32°C and 35°C during short-term heat stress. Gilts exposed to short term heat stress at 32°C and 35°C had increased respiration rate, vaginal temperature and skin temperature. Gilts on electronically-controlled cooling pads exposed to short term heat stress at 35°C were able to minimize negative impacts of HS such as reduced respiration rate and vaginal temperature. A study was conducted with 24 boars which were exposed to cyclical heat stress for a duration of 3 days at 32°C and 35°C. Boars exposed to cyclical heat stress for 3 consecutive days at 32°C or 35°C which increased respiration rate and body temperature followed by a decrease in semen quality over several weeks. Boars cooled with electronically-controlled floor cooling pads had reduced physiological effects of heat stress as well as consistent semen quality post HS. The use of electronically controlled floor cooling pads have implications towards minimizing or removing the negative impacts of heat stress in gilts and boars.
- Master of Science
- Animal Sciences
- West Lafayette