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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #438096

Research Project: Evaluating the Interactions Between Swine Behavior and Heat Stress Response

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-014-061-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 18, 2020
End Date: May 17, 2024

The study objective is to identify behaviors that are associated with increased heat stress sensitivity in order to develop protocols that swine producers may use to select female pigs that are less heat stress sensitive.

Heat stress is of great concern in the swine industry due to climate-change induced increase in heat wave frequencies and the increased susceptibility of pigs to heat stress due to genetic advancements. Therefore, replacement gilts will be evaluated for behaviors indicative of poor coping ability. These pigs will then be exposed to cyclical heat stress conditions for three days during which time measures of thermoregulation, performance, behavior, and physiological stress will be collected. Data will be used to determine relationships between coping behaviors and physiological responses to heat stress exposure and evaluate whether certain behaviors can be used as selection tools to predict which pigs will be more or less heat stress sensitive.