Taking the maximum advantage of the heating lamps without bothering the sows.
Description of the trick
I am not going to discover here the advantages of working with heat lamps in the farrowing quarters to offer a warm area to the piglets so they can rest.
I will talk about some problems. In many occasions the location of the lamp too near to the head of the sow can bother her, but we can protect her with a simple metallic sheet.
Explanation of the trick
The temperature needs of the piglets and of the sows in the farrowing quarters are completely different.
The use of heating lamps is one of the most frequent systems for attaining a local environment that is appropriate for the piglets. The problem is that, if the heating lamps are located too near to the sows, the light or the heat can bother them. When confronted with this situation the sows normally lay turning their back to the heat lamp, with their head under the feeding trough to protect themselves.
This entails that the teats remain out of the reach of the piglets and that some of them prefer to change their resting area sacrificing their comfort so they can be near their source of food.
This is especially important during the first days of life, when the piglets prefer to rest near their dam's udder, where they feel safer. We can find ourselves with the paradox that a measure taken to increase the welfare of the piglet disturbs the sow and that ultimately the piglets do not take advantage of the sow.
In order to solve the problem it will be enough with an opaque iron sheet welded to the side of the cage where the heating bulb will be located.
I saw this solution for the first time in the Borralho farm, in Portugal, although I cannot guarantee that this idea is completely theirs. This solution is frequent in Portugal, but I have never seen it in Spain.