watering pigs

Pork production: Watering your pigs – Dr. Mary-Louis give advice

How much water do pigs need to drink? In hot weather they go to the watering point and seem to be looking for more water. Is giving them water once or twice a day enough? They tend to knock containers over and waste water. What is the best way to give them water?

Pigs need more water than sheep and goats do. They won’t thrive if they don’t get enough to drink.

It’s best, especially in hot weather, for them to have access to water all the time. They need to be able to drink when they’re thirsty.

Sows with litters, in particular, need to drink a lot of water to produce enough milk for the piglets. They need at least 20 litres a day, and up to 30 litres a day for some of the modern breeds.

The best way to supply water to pigs is via drinking nipples attached to a piped water supply. This way, with a reliable water supply, water is always available. There’s also no waste and the water stays clean.

If you don’t have piped water, you can use a large container (100 litres or more) fixed above the level of the pigs head. Fit it with a nipple attached to a sealed metal pipe. This prevents waste and saves labour because you won’t need to fill containers constantly.

watering pigs
A bin with a nipple attached is ideal for watering pigs

Using drums or tyres

If you must use ordinary containers, fix them firmly to the fence, wall or floor so that the pigs can’t knock them over. Raise the containers above floor level so that pigs can’t get into them and foul the water, or, in the case of small piglets, drown. An old motor car tyre fixed firmly to the wall in an upright position makes a good water container. Remember to not let it stand empty.

Put the water supply at the lowest point of the pen, close to the drain, as the pigs will choose this as their toilet area.
Pigs can’t sweat so drinking cool water helps them to cool down. To keep the water cool, put the containers in the shade. If the water is piped, bury the pipes or insulate them with thick material.

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