Jump to Main Content
Does light attract piglets to the creep area?
- Larsen, M. L. V., Pedersen, L. J.
- Animal 2015 v.9 no.6 pp. 1032-1037
- area, birth weight, correlation, heat, hypothermia, piglets, sows, weight gain
- Hypothermia, experienced by piglets, has been related to piglet deaths and high and early use of a heated creep area is considered important to prevent hypothermia. The aims of the present study were to investigate how a newly invented radiant heat source, eHeat, would affect piglets’ use of the creep area and whether light in the creep area works as an attractant on piglets. A total of 39 sows, divided between two batches, were randomly distributed to three heat source treatments: (1) standard infrared heat lamp (CONT, n=19), (2) eHeat with light (EL, n=10) and (3) eHeat without light (ENL, n=10). Recordings of piglets’ use of the creep area were made as scan sampling every 10 min for 3 h during two periods, one in daylight (0900 to 1200 h) and one in darkness (2100 to 2400 h), on day 1, 2, 3, 7, 14 and 21 postpartum. On the same days, piglets were weighted. Results showed an interaction between treatment and observation period (P<0.05) with a lower use of the creep area during darkness compared with daylight for CONT and EL litters, but not for ENL litters. Piglets average daily weight gain was not affected by treatment, but was positively correlated with piglets’ birth weight and was lower in batch 1 compared with batch 2. Seen from the present results, neither eHeat nor light worked as an attractant on piglets; in contrast, piglets preferred to sleep in the dark and it would therefore be recommended to turn off the light in the creep area during darkness. Heating up the creep area without light can be accomplished by using a radiant heat source such as eHeat in contrast to the normally used light-emitting infrared heat lamp.