Preparing Your Barn for Summer

  • Keep up on curtain maintenance including curtain condition (sages, holes, gaps), curtain operation (curtain pockets, pulleys) and emergency drops.  
  • Check ventilation systems including ventilation controls, air inlet adjustments, fan louvers, air diffusers, fan motors and belts, override-fan thermostats, and cool cells. Ensure temperature sensor is clean and adjusted to the correct height based on pigs’ size to make sure it works to its potential.  
  • Clean dust from fan blades, louvers, shrouds, cones and air inlets regularly. This keeps fan motor efficiency high and maintains appropriate air flow.  
  • Test water pressure and temperature on sprinklers or misters so they are ready to keep pigs cool, before animal well-being is compromised. 

The hazards faced by pigs intensify during transportation, particularly when there is an increase in temperature and humidity. Transporters must exercise caution to maintain a cool environment for the livestock. Adjusting the handling and loading schedule to avoid the hottest part of the day proves to be beneficial for both the animals and the transporters involved.

Precautions to Take During Transportation

  • Open nose vents.
  • Unplug ventilation holes/slots.
  • Adjust loading density of pigs in the truck by loading fewer pigs per load.
  • Schedule transportation early in the morning or at night.
  • Do not bed pigs with straw.
  • Load and unload promptly to avoid heat buildup.
  • Slowly move animals in smaller groups
  • Do not force a heat-stressed or fatigued animal to move.

By prioritizing the well-being of the animals and implementing proactive strategies, we can effectively address the challenges posed by heat stress. It is our responsibility to create a safe and comfortable environment for the pigs and ourselves throughout the process.

Tips for Producers to Avoid Heat Stress

  • Drink water often
  • Wear light and loose clothing
  • Regularly apply sunscreen
  • Notify someone and sit down if you feel lightheaded or weary
  • If working outside of the barn, consider wearing a wide brim hat