Using heat lamps, heat mats, and brooders for localized heating can improve energy efficiency in swine housing. Learn about small adjustments and management considerations for implementing localized heating.
Providing a thermally comfortable environment for pigs while conserving energy can be a complex problem. For instance, farrowing rooms have animals with very different thermal needs in close proximity. Newborn pigs are most comfortable at a temperature of 86-95°F, however sows would experience significant heat stress at that temperature and prefer temperatures closer to 60-70°F.
To address this, a microclimate is created for the piglets using some type of radiant heater, either an electric heat lamp or a propane brooder, or floor heating, such as an electric heat mat. The heater creates a warm surface so that the piglets can remain in a room with a cool air temperature, best suited for the sow, but still feel comfortable. Piglets can then freely choose the environment that is most suitable for them by either staying close to the heat source or moving away from it.