24 October 1997

More pig space must be warm

PIG producers altering housing to comply with forthcoming space allowances must ensure pigs are warm enough or performance will suffer.

Yorkshire vet Mark White says that the new space allowance legislation – which comes into force on Jan 1, 1998 – will be implemented in a series of large weight ranges.

At the top end of these ranges pigs must be moved out of pens and into the next stage accommodation.

"On some units this will allow even more space than the legislation dictates and pens will be drastically understocked."

In addition many UK units do not have supplementary heating and some have poor insulation.

"In these situations there is a real risk of chilling pigs because the group cannot generate enough heat to warm the pen," he says.

Trigger temperatures for the ventilation fans may not then be reached, increasing humidity and disease risks.

"The house is then prone to changes in ambient temperature which increases the risk of disease and promotes flank biting, tail biting and disease," warns Mr White.

He recommends producers improve insulation, consider supplementary heating and partition pens to required space.

by the legislation.