What is the ideal temperature for pigs?

What is the ideal temperature for pigs?

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The comfort zone for pigs refers to the environmental conditions in which pigs feel comfortable and grow best. Pigs are adaptable animals, but they have specific temperature and environmental requirements to maintain their well-being. Pigs prefer temperatures between 15 to 21 degrees Celsius (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). They have limited ability to regulate their body temperature, so extreme heat or cold can cause discomfort and stress.

What is the normal body temperature range of a pig?

A pig's body temperature can have a significant impact on its growth and overall health. The ideal body temperature for a pig is around 38-39 degrees Celsius (100-103 degrees Fahrenheit). However, it's important to note that these values are approximate and can vary among individual pigs and different pig breeds.

If a pig's body temperature is not within the correct range, it can lead to various changes in its body. These changes can have an impact on the pig's growth. Here are a few ways in which body temperature can impact pig growth:

What is the normal body temperature range of a pig?
  1. Metabolic Rate - Body temperature affects the pig's metabolic rate, which is the rate at which the body converts food into energy. Pigs with low body temperatures need more food to gain weight than pigs with normal body temperatures. This can lead to slower growth rates and decreased weight gain.
  2. Feed Conversion Efficiency - Body temperature influences a pig's ability to convert feed into body weight efficiently. Pigs with suboptimal body temperatures may have a lower feed conversion efficiency, meaning they require more feed to gain weight compared to pigs with normal body temperatures. This can lead to increased feed costs and reduced profitability.
  3. Immune Function - Pigs with lower body temperatures may have compromised immune function. The immune system plays a vital role in protecting pigs from diseases and infections. When a pig's body temperature drops, its immune response may weaken, making it more susceptible to illnesses. This can result in increased disease incidence and reduced growth rates.
  4. Thermoregulation - Pigs are susceptible to heat stress when exposed to high ambient temperatures. Heat stress can make the body temperature rise, which can cause less eating, less weight gain, and health problems. Proper thermoregulation is essential to maintain a pig's body temperature within the normal range for optimal growth.
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Comfort zone

When it comes to animal welfare, cost efficiency, and achieving good performance, providing comfortable conditions for animals is crucial. Animals thrive when they are in a comfortable temperature range, and it's the farmer's job to ensure this.

What if temperature is too low for pigs?

The next figure shows the so-called comfort zone for healthy, well-growing fatteners (starting weight approximately 23kg. Gain 650-850 g/day with a feed conversion of 3.0).

The lower curve A shows the lower critical temperature. If the ambient temperature drops below this critical temperature, the animals will naturally adapt their behaviour. They might gather together to benefit from the warmth generated by their collective body heat. Alternatively, they may increase their food consumption as they require additional energy to raise their body temperature.

Consequently, their feed diverts the nutritional value towards maintenance rather than growth. The pig starts “to burn feed only for heating itself”!

Temperature graph of pigs
Piglets drinking

What if temperature is too high for pigs?

If the temperature exceeds the upper limit of the comfort zone, it will create more problems for the pigs. This will result in them losing their excess heat. The most important way is, to increase evaporation of water in the pigs’ lungs by increasing the respiration frequency (panting). The reason is because a pig cannot sweat like a human.

Besides losing heat by respiration the pig can only lose heat through the skin (with conduction, convection and radiation). If thereafter, the pig cannot lose enough heat, it will come into a situation of heat-stress.

Applying evaporative cooling systems and increasing airspeeds on the skin can limit heat-stress in hot climate zones. This will strongly increase productivity, especially in breeding and finishing pigs.

Efficient cooling improves animal performance

A cooling system offers excellent functionality to keep the animals in their comfort zone and prevent heat stress. Download our free white paper and read all about improving animal performance with a cooling system.

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Efficient cooling improves animal performance

Maintain a stable temperature in the pig house

Regulating temperature in a pig house is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of the animals. Extreme temperatures can affect pigs, potentially harming their productivity if it becomes too hot or cold. Here are some effective methods for temperature regulation in a pig house:


Maintain a stable temperature in the pig house


Ensure the pig house is well-insulated to minimize heat transfer. Insulating the walls, roof, and floor helps to maintain a stable temperature inside the house.


Install proper ventilation systems to remove CO2, NH3 and moisture from the pig house. Ventilation helps to control humidity levels and prevents the buildup of harmful gases like ammonia.

You can supplement natural ventilation, such as windows or curtains, with fans or inlet systems for better airflow. In mechanical ventilation systems, fans create the moving force for the airflow, thus being widely independent from external conditions. Also controllability is much better than in case of natural ventilation.


In colder climates, provide heating systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. Options include radiant heaters, forced-air heaters, or heat lamps. Ensure you install the heating elements safely and keep them out of reach of the pigs to prevent accidents or injuries.


In hot climates, cooling systems are essential to prevent heat stress. Options include evaporative cooling pads, misting systems, or fans. These methods can help reduce the temperature and provide relief for the pigs.

Temperature monitoring

Install temperature sensors in the pig house to monitor the temperature accurately. Automated systems can help regulate temperature based on predefined settings. This enables prompt adjustments if the temperature exceeds desired levels.

Water availability

Ensure a constant supply of clean, fresh water is available for the pigs. Water helps regulate their body temperature and keeps them hydrated during hot weather.

Monitoring and management

Regularly monitor the temperature inside the pig house and make adjustments as needed. Consider the age, size, and breed of the pigs, as their temperature requirements may vary.

Temperature control in pig houses can vary based on the climate, size of the house, and number of pigs. The method of controlling temperature depends on these factors. Consulting with experts in pig farming or agricultural engineers can provide further guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Energy efficient ventilation

Creating the optimal temperature will not only boost the performance of your poultry - an efficient ventilation system also saves costly energy.

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Energy efficient ventilation

Keeping pigs at the right temperature is important, but it's not the only thing to consider. Their food, where they live, and preventing illness are also important for their growth and health. Farmers and pig experts actively monitor the environment to ensure that they keep pigs at the appropriate body temperature. They also regulate air flow and temperature to promote optimal growth in pigs.

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