The effect of wind shielding and pen position on growth rate and efficiency in grower/finisher pigs

Dan Børge Jensen, Nils Toft & Cécile Cornou


65th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science


Pigs are known to be particularly sensitive to temperature. Too cold and the pigs will grow less efficiently and be more susceptible to diseases such as pneumonia. Too hot and the pigs will tend to foul the pen, leading to additional risks of infection. In addition, previous research has demonstrated that pigs can be significantly affected by wind, even when not directly exposed to it. In response to this problem, some pig producers and research stations have implemented a shielding to prevent winds from blowing between separate sections. However, there seem to be no published studies which have investigated the efficacy of such shielding. To determine the impact of wind shielding, multivariate linear models were fitted to describe the average daily weight gain and feed conversion rate of 1,273 groups (14 individuals per group) of purebred Duroc, Yorkshire and Danish Landrace boars, as a function of shielding (yes/no), insert season (winter, spring, summer, autumn), start weight (large, small) and interaction effects between shielding and start weight and shielding and insert season. Shielding was not found to be a significant predictor of any outcome for any breed. To determine the effect of a group’s placement relative to the central corridor, a similar model was fitted to the data for Duroc pigs, replacing shielding with distance from the corridor (1 st 2 nd , 3 rd or 4 th pen). Significant differences could be seen in daily weight gain between groups of large pigs placed in the 1 st and 4 th pen (P=0.0001) and between groups in the 2 nd and the 4 th pen (P=0.028). A similar effect was not seen on smaller pigs. Pen placement appears to have no effect on feed conversion rate.