How heat stress affects hogs’ eating habits
Heat stress is a weight on livestock producers, particularly in the grow-finish phase.
One of the first signs of heat stress is a change in the animal’s eating habits. Dr. Chris Hostetler, with the National Pork Board, says that a recent project shows hogs not only change when they eat, but the heat also affects how their body absorbs the nutrients.
“They found out that really what happens is the pigs under heat stress conditions have what’s called leaky gut syndrome so that they absorb the nutrients in a much less efficient manner,” he states. “So, it’s actually a twofold, double whammy, if you will, due to heat stress. Not only do they eat less, but what they do eat they absorb more poorly than under normal growing conditions.”
According to the Pork Checkoff, during heat stress events hogs reduce their feed consumption by at least 10 percent.