The feeding and maintenance of pigs in winter is a special period on which the success of all the livestock breeder’s activities depends. This applies to both a private residence and a large farm. This article will tell you what to look for when organizing a warm room for animals at home and on large-scale production. Consider some features of care for pregnant sows and babies, as well as learn how to feed pets in the cold.
A breeder of any rank should take care of their pets. Particular attention should be paid to keeping the piglets in the winter. At this time often there are two important stages of pig breeding - the final stage of fattening and the sowing phase of gestation. Individuals for fattening, unlike pregnant queens and newborn piglets, require a less reverent attitude, but their wintering should also be organized.
Pigs tolerate moderately low temperatures. But still in an unprepared for the winter room animals can not fully exist. Therefore, the farm owner must insulate the pen. And the most important thing is to save the pigs from the effects of drafts.
If the farm is located in a strip of very harsh winters, it makes sense to start pig breeding with the construction of a warm pigsty with heating.
How to farmer prepare for winter
For latitudes in which the thermometer does not fall below -18 degrees, there are less expensive methods for insulating existing buildings for pigs. The owner can:
- to warm the existing windows and ceiling in the pen;
- get rid of cracks in the outer walls;
- sheathe walls with boards or straw blocks;
- lay on the floor another plank floor at a distance of 20 cm from the first;
- lay an extra warm layer of straw;
- hang the entrance with burlap or other dense material;
- raise the pen above the ground on special supports (during the construction phase);
- The entrance to the pen is located on the leeward side.
It is important to remember that moderately low temperatures for pigs are not as dangerous as exposure to drafts.
The content of pigs on irremovable litter
Japanese farmers have offered their method of winter living pigs in covered unheated hangars. The novelty was adopted by pig breeders from many countries. The animals are kept in groups, laying on the floor the first deep layer of straw about 0.2-0.3 m thick. The polluted surface of the floor is not cleaned, but filled with fresh straw each time. So you can act about 3-4 months.
The excrements decomposing in the lower layers emit a sufficient amount of heat. And the pigs have the opportunity to hide themselves with a straw "blanket", buried in the bedding with the head. After 4 months, all the used straw is pushed out with a bulldozer and a new layer is poured.
So you can keep fattening pigs and individuals selected for breeding. Breeders are divided in the opinion about the feasibility of the above method of winter keeping of pigs. There are categorical statements by biologists that keeping animals not covered with hair in winter in unheated rooms is simply a mockery.
The experience of experts today shows that in winter, in an unheated room, animals spend more energy on maintaining heat, which increases feed consumption. In our country, this method is acceptable for piglets in the southern regions.
The data on how to keep pigs on a farm can also be used for raising pigs at home, if the private owner for some reason decided to leave the livestock until spring. Only the scale of the premises will be different.
A hangar for a private residence, of course, no one will build. But to prepare a pigsty for the cold, a zealous owner is a must. The choice of the pigsty insulation method will depend on financial possibilities. But the main condition for keeping animals should also be the absence of drafts.
Winter conditions in the pigsty should be aimed not only at maintaining standards of heat and humidity, but also to bring some emotional benefits to animals. Thus, an increase in the amount of straw for bedding will create an opportunity for young and adult individuals to frolic by digging into it with their heads. In addition, pigs can even sleep, sitting under such a warm straw blanket. And they love to do this.
Pregnant sows are on a special account. And newborn piglets require more heat than their mother. Immediately after the birth in the lair of the cubs, the air temperature should be + 30 + 32 degrees.
In order to improve milk production and maintain activity, the suckling sow itself must be transferred to a room with a temperature not higher than +18 degrees. Therefore, in a farm, the farrowing machine usually makes the birth pig to be separated from the piglets by some light construction. This separation is also beneficial for the prevention of injury to babies.
Part of the den, in which the newly born piglets will dry out, must be further heated with an infrared lamp. At home, the owner may allow the pig to arrange a nest in the warm room of his own home.
Creating a microclimate in the pigsty
Regardless of where the pigs will spend the winter, on a large farm or in a private farm, animals should create certain thermal conditions in the room. The temperature for each category of pigs should be different. It is important to take into account not only the readings of the thermometer, but also the humidity, as well as provide for high-quality air exchange, thus excluding drafts. Be sure to have a good straw bedding.
Thus, young animals older than 165 days can be kept at a mark from +8 to +15 degrees, younger than this age - at + 14 + 20. For newborn piglets with a sow, a temperature of + 20 + 23 degrees is necessary for the period before the separation of the babies from the feeding females.
An equally important factor is the humidity of the air. For all categories of animals, it should be within 75%. And it must be maintained at this level constantly.
The general rule: the air temperature in the pigsty should not exceed +23 degrees, humidity 75% in the absence of drafts.
Heating and ventilation
Farmers engaged in pig breeding should think over their actions in case of severe frosts. Since it is customary to keep pigs in flammable straw, the choice of heater is of great importance.
It is very good if the individual premises of the pigsty are equipped with a heated floor. Pregnant and lactating sows with calves can be placed in them. You can use infrared lamps. As mentioned above, they are particularly useful for heating newborn piglets. But can serve in the period of extreme cold.
When choosing heating it is important to control the humidity in the room. The air should not be too moist, but also harmful to dry too much. Comfortable and safe is the above figure of 75%.
Remembering the threat of drafts, consider ways to ventilate the room. You can use the damper in the pig houses equipped with ventilation shafts in the cold. Some farmers for warming fill the bottom of the shaft with straw, pressing it with a grate.
What to feed pigs in winter
In winter, animals are fed at least twice a day with root crops, compound feed, hay flour and whole hay. In personal subsidiary farms, in addition, food waste and cleaning vegetables are used. The general rule: pigs in winter should have access to warm (15-18 degrees) drinking water and more nutritious food.
In the diet, you must enter mineral supplements. It may just be ash, chalk, or even pieces of plaster. In winter, food pigs need more than in summer. It is more convenient to increase the caloric content of feed due to fish and meat food waste.
To learn more about food in the cold can be in the article "On the feeding and maintenance of Vietnamese piglets in the winter." By the way, this breed, as well as Hungarian mangalitsa, are the most suitable species of pigs for keeping in severe climatic conditions.
A piece of salt and more warm water
Animals in winter especially need minerals, so you can put them in a separate container with simple food salt. Preferably in a tangle - pigs will gradually lick it.
Keep in mind that the light of the winter day is very short, so when starting to feed the pigs, do not forget to turn on the light. This is very important, since constant food in the dark makes animals sluggish, their immunity decreases, and instead of meat, only fat is deposited. Only in the light of a possible normal metabolism in the body of pigs and the proper operation of the digestive system.
Pregnant sows should be given dry leaves, better nettle, as well as chalk pieces or ash.
To feed the pigs with additional food is necessary from the first days of life. Baby food should also be rich in minerals. It is important for newborn calves to receive an unlimited amount of warm (18-20 degrees) drinking water from a teat drinker, and at home just from a bottle with a teat.
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Tell us in the comments what conditions you create for your pets in the winter.