heat stress swine, nutritional solutions, trouw nutrition

Heat stress can have a negative impact on pigs, including sows and piglets. Signs of heat stress in sows include:

  • Lower feed intake
  • Early farrowing
  • Higher markers of oxidative stress
  • Seasonal infertility

In addition to management and infrastructure, nutrition can be a tool used to combat heat stress in sows. Below are some nutritional strategies that could help your sows beat the heat.



Increase diet density

  The most important nutritional factor for maintaining a sow’s body condition is energy. When the temperature gets hot, pigs eat less. Increasing diet density using readily available energy sources, especially for lactating sows, can help ensure the animals do not lose too much body condition due to lower feed intakes during the summer months.



Reduce fermentable load

  Sows produce a lot of heat to use protein sources like soybean meal and canola. Consider using synthetic amino acids in hotter months. It is also important to look at the level of fibre in your sows’ diet.



Managing oxidative stress

  Heat and oxidative stress go hand in hand. To help the sow combat this, it is common to increase antioxidant supplements in feed. When applied appropriately, antioxidants can maintain feed intake in lactation and support body condition.



Use of additives to support gut barrier function

  Research from Iowa State University has show that heat exposure can reduce intestinal integrity, which in turn, increases pigs’ susceptibility to pathogens and toxins. Using feed additives to support gastrointestinal health (i.e. organic acids) may be wise.


For more information on nutrition or management solutions to help your sows combat heat stress, contact your Trouw Nutriton Swine Feeding Specialist or local Shur-Gain dealer.