Evaluation of four commercially available swine drying agents on mat surface temperatures and absorbent capacity
Providing a warm and dry environment is well recognized as one of the basic needs for the well-being of newborn piglets. At birth, piglets, particularly low-birth weight piglets, are prone to excessive heat loss due to their wet skin, relatively large surface area to body mass ratio, and lack of energy reserves among others. If piglets are not adequately attended to, core body temperatures can decrease quickly, and thus potentially delay colostrum intake (Lossec et al., 1998; Pedersen et al., 2013). Thus, to minimize heat loss immediately after birth, piglets are commonly dried and placed under a heat lamp or near the sow’s underline. While this management strategy has shown beneficial results in reducing heat loss and reducing the latency to suckle, we are unware of any studies that have examined the effects that drying agents have on the microenvironment. Therefore, the objectives of these studies were to investigate the effects of four commercially available drying agents on mat surface temperatures and determine their absorbent capacity.