Does hut climate matter for piglet survival in organic production?

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Piglet mortality in outdoor production systems varies across the year, and a reason for this variation could be fluctuations in hut climate, as ambient temperature might influence piglet survival, both directly and indirectly. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of farrowing hut climate and year variation on stillbirth and liveborn mortality. A large-scale observational study was conducted at five commercial organic pig-producing herds in Denmark from June 2015 to August 2016. Both year variation (F3,635=4.40, P=0.004) and farrowing hut temperature (F2,511=6.46, P=0.002) affected the rate of stillbirths. The risk of stillborn piglets was lowest in winter and during this season larger changes in hut temperature between day 1 prepartum and the day of farrowing increased the risk of stillbirths (F1,99=6.39, P=0.013). In addition, during the warm part of the year stillbirth rate increased at temperatures ⩾27°C. Year variation also affected liveborn mortality (F3,561=3.86, P=0.009) with a lower rate of liveborn deaths in spring. However, the hut climate did not influence liveborn deaths. Consequently, other factors than hut climate may explain the influence of year variation on liveborn mortality. These could be light differences causing seasonality in reproduction and lactation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal
Volume13
Issue4
Pages (from-to)826-834
Number of pages9
ISSN1751-7311
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • neonatal piglet mortality, organic, outdoor pig production, temperature, humidity, HYPOTHERMIA, HEAT, TEMPERATURE, PERFORMANCE

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