Agricultural heat pads
Heat pads consume 70% less power than traditional heat lamps and have lower annual energy and maintenance costs.
Heat pads are fibreglass mats embedded with heating elements. They form a warm bed midway along one side of the farrowing crate. Compared to heat lamps, heat pads offer an improved environment for piglets and sows. They have a higher initial cost than heat lamps, but heat pads use about one-third the electricity and last up to 15 years, compared with only 5,000 hours for a heat lamp.
In comparison with traditional heat lamps, heat pads provide the following benefits:
- larger comfort area that minimizes piglet piling;
- piglets tend not to seek warmth from the mother sow, which reduces crushing losses;
- piglets are protected by blocking drafts rising through the grating floors of the farrowing crates;
- sows can stay cooler, eat more, and produce more milk;
- pads can be washed down with a high-pressure washer, and last up to 15 years;
- the potential fire hazards of heat lamps and broken lamps are eliminated;
- lower energy and maintenance costs;
- piglets raised on heat pads show no significant difference in weight gain and mortality when compared with those raised on heat lamps;
- piglets show a preference for the comfort and warmth of heat pads;
- quick evaporation of birth fluid on newborns.