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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #440589

Research Project: Improving Piglet Survivability and Sow Welfare through Microenvironment Management

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-013-070-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2021
End Date: Apr 30, 2025

Objective:
The study objective is to determine the optimal ambient temperature at which to house lactating sows in conjunction with the use of a real time piglet microenvironment monitoring and maintenance system that will improve both sow and piglet welfare, health, and productivity in both the short- and long-term.

Approach:
To achieve our goal, we will subject sows and their litters to one of three room temperatures (15, 20 or 25C). In addition, farrowing crates will be fitted with microenvironment monitoring technology that will automatically adjust the temperature the piglets are exposed to independent of the sow. We will evaluate litter and sow performance, health and welfare characteristics to determine the optimal temperature to maintain the barn that will optimize both sow and piglet health, productivity and welfare.