Environmental control in the farrowing unit

The piglet phase is one of the most critical for two reaons: the piglet’s immune system is developing and it is starting to be exposed to pathogens. Because of this, it is necessary to establish correct environmental control to reduce the presence of diseases and produce a stronger and more robust piglet at weaning.

The different temperature needs of the piglet (28-33ºC) and the sow (18-22ºC) make it necessary to design systems that allow these 2 “environments” in the same room.

To ensure correct environmental control in the farrowing unit, three factors must be taken into account:

1.Ventilation

The design of the ventilation of a maternity depends on multiple variables (length, and width of the building, etc.). In a practical way, it can be summarized as follows:

Ventilation must be forced and ideally part of automatic environmental control by means of probes, regulators and curves.

Ideally, the air should enter through a false ceiling with the aim of distributing all the new air evenly throughout the room. This ventilation method also allows the air to be preheated before reaching the area where the animals are.

2. Heating

In the case of the piglets, the most highly recommended heating method is a nest with an electric plate and a self-adjusting light source. With this system the optimum temperature for the piglets is achieved without increasing the electrical expenditure. In addition, the sow area will remain at the correct temperature.

3. Type of floor

Plastic is recommended for ease of cleaning and comfort of the animals. It is important that the floor drains correctly, to have a dry and clean floor available for the piglets.