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Thermal Conditions in Covered Creep Areas for Piglets

Houszka, H.M., Strom, J.S., Morsing, S.
Transactions of the ASAE 2001 v.44 no.6 pp. 1859-1863
air, air temperature, farrowing, heat, nests, piglets, sows
In farrowing houses, lower temperatures are needed for the sow than for the piglets. One frequently used way to achieve this is to maintain a low room air temperature that is suitable for the sow and to provide a covered creep area for the piglets. The creep area may be covered in different ways, but only limited information is found in the literature on the specific thermal consequences of different cover configurations. In order to provide some of the missing information, a number of experiments were conducted with a 0.6 m by 1.0 m creep area surrounded by 10 different cover configurations. A 140 W electric floor-heating panel with dimensions equal to the creep floor area was used to simulate the sensible heat loss from a litter of piglets. An open nest consisting of the floor-heating panel with no cover was used as control treatment. The experiments contained three groups of cover configurations: only roof over the creep area, only walls around the creep area, and different combinations of roof and walls. The creep was placed in a draft-free room, where the room air temperature was maintained at 21 ° C. Air and black-globe temperatures were measured 0.10 m above the floor panel in nine horizontal positions. The air temperature rise in the creep was small. In the open nest an average temperature rise of 1.5 ° C was found. Covering the nest with only a roof or only three walls resulted in a temperature rise of about 2 ° C. The temperature rise for the creep with three walls and curtain (but no roof) was 3.3 ° C. All configurations with roof and three walls gave an average temperature rise that was significantly higher than the open nest. With an open access front, a temperature rise in the order of 3 to 4 ° C was achieved. By protecting the entrance to the creep area by a curtain an air temperature rise of 8.6 ° C was achieved. For most cover configurations the black-globe temperature rise was approximately 2 ° C higher than the air temperature rise. For a creep area covered with walls, roof and curtain, the highest black-globe temperature rise observed was 10 ° C.