Save dollars by adjusting drinkers in your pig barns

7 November 2018, at 12:00am

Results of a Prairie Swine Centre study show water wastage can be reduced by up to 20% by adjusting nipple height

An experiment was conducted to study the effects of height and flow rate of nipple drinkers on water wastage in pigs. Results show water wastage can be reduced by up to 20% by adjusting nipple height. High flow rate resulted in higher water wastage.

The experiment

Four pens of eight female pigs were tested during the 12-week study.

Water disappearance, water wastage, and feed intake were measured at two stages, ie, week 1~4 for growers, and week 8~12 for finishers.

In each stage, drinkers were set up at two heights, ie, five cm higher than the shoulders of the smallest pigs in the pen (standard height) or 33 cm (low height).

At each drinker height, two flow rates, 500 and 1000 ml/min, were employed.

Pigs in each pen were exposed to each treatment combination for one week, and the data were collected during the last four days of the week.

Body weight was measured individually at the start of each test and every two weeks thereafter.

Feed intake was determined every week on a pen basis.

The results

Nipple height did not affect feed and water intake in either growers or finishers.

Water intake was about two times feed intake.

The low nipple height increased water wastage by about 10% (from 26% to 35%) in growers and 20% (from 18% to 39%) in finishers.

The flow rate of nipple drinkers did not change feed intake nor the ratio of water to feed intake.

Water wastage was increased by about 7% at the higher flow rate in both grower and finisher pigs.

The flow rates employed in the study were lower than that usually used on commercial farms.

Higher flow rates could result in more water spillage from nipple drinkers.

Yuzhi Li and Harold W Gonyou. Effects of nipple drinker height and flow rate on water wastage in grower and finisher pigs. Prairie Swine Centre Annual Research Report.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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