Characteristics of Floors for Pig Pens: Friction, Shock Absorption, Ammonia Emission and Heat Conduction

S. Pedersen, P. Ravn

Abstract


In respect to improving animal welfare and to minimize the ammonia emission from animal facili-ties, it is important to have appropriate information on the impact of the flooring system in pig pens. Twelve different floors, six commercially available and six experimental floors for pig pens, were investigated in respect to four different characteristics: friction coefficients, shock absorption, am-monia emission and heat conduction. The friction coefficients were measured as dynamic friction for dry floors and floors wetted with water and rapeseed oil and as static friction for dry floors. The floor elasticity was measured as shock absorption when letting a weight fall on the test floors. The ammonia emission was measured in a wind tunnel with ammonia water wetted test floors. Heat conduction was measured by a heated body placed on the test floors. The results showed that the friction coefficient for slatted floors of plastic and cast iron was lower than for concrete and also lower than recommended in literature in respect to animal welfare. The ability to absorb shocks was better for slatted floors of plastic and cast iron than for concrete slatted floors. The ammonia emission was higher from slatted floors of concrete than from slatted floors of plastic and cast iron. Finally, the heat conduction for concrete slatted floors was higher compared to slatted floors of plastic and cast iron. In conclusion, concrete slats were ideal for the animals in respect to the risk of slipping, but less than ideal in respect to elasticity and ammonia emission, furthermore they were cold for the animals. Plastic and cast iron slats were too slippery, but better for the environ-ment in respect to ammonia emission, moreover they were warmer for the pigs to lie on.

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