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Tierarztl Prax Ausg G Grosstiere Nutztiere. 2015;43(4):207-15. doi: 10.15653/TPG-150068. Epub 2015 Jul 13.

[Comparison of novel infrared heating plates and conventional warm water plates for piglets' creep areas in farrowing pens].

[Article in German]

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Prof. Dr. Michael Wendt, Klinik für kleine Klauentiere, Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, E-Mail:



On a conventionally managed piglet-producing farm, novel infrared (IR) heating plates for piglets in the farrowing pens were tested for their suitability and compared with common warm-water (WW) heating plates.


In total, 134 litters (summer n = 82, winter n = 52) were investigated, which were housed on IR or WW heating plates, respectively, with or without an extra cover plate (groups 1-4). To determine the influence of the different heat sources, the wound healing after castration and tail docking, the umbilical regression and the weight gain of the piglets were investigated. Additionally, the lying behavior of the piglets and the position of the sows' udder at the time of farrowing were examined with regard to the heating plates. Furthermore, the energy consumption and costs were compared.


The piglets housed on IR heating plates displayed better wound healing after castration and tail docking than the piglets housed on WW plates. The best results were obtained in piglets kept on IR heating plates with an extra cover plate. In addition, significant benefits were demonstrated for the usage of IR heating plates regarding umbilical regression. The piglets kept on IR heating plates had a slightly better weight gain in summer, whereas there were no differences between groups during winter. The lying behavior in the creep areas was similar in all groups. In general, with increasing age the percentage of time piglets spent in the lying position on the plates decreased. The percentage of time lying on the plates was higher in winter than in summer. At farrowing, 74.6% of all investigated sows directed their udder towards the heating plates. With the IR heating plates, this behavior occurred significantly more often. The energy consumption (kWh) per litter was significantly lower for the IR heating plates (electric power) both in winter and summer in comparison with the WW plates (gas). The energy costs were comparable in summer, but were higher for the IR heating plates in winter.


IR radiation of heating plates has a positive influence on wound healing after castration and tail docking as well as on umbilical regression. In addition, the lying behavior of sows at farrowing is influenced by the IR radiation. Despite the lower energy consumption of the IR heating plates, the most profitable system has to be determined individually for each farm.


Infrared radiation; energy consumption; suckling pigs; wound healing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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