When Pigs Sweat

Four tips to managing sows in the heat
By Laci Jones

The rays of the Oklahoma sun beat down, ice cream melts faster and the air conditioner is cranked up. Summer is coming! Are you and your sows ready?

A sow’s normal body temperature ranges from 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and the environment plays an important role in sow productivity. Pigs are more sensitive to sun rays than other animals.

“Pigs do not have sweat glands,” said Darrell Maggard, owner of Maggard Show Pigs. “They pant, but they do not sweat.”

When sows experience stress from heat, it can be detrimental to a sow’s health and productivity. Maggard said when sows get too hot, it can cause a drop in feed intake, especially during lactation. If ignored, heat stress can cause problems for the sow as well as the piglets. A decrease in feed intake results in fewer key nutrients reaching the piglets.

Pick up the May issue of OKFR to learn more!