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Watering behavior of pigs

The daily water consumption by pigs depends on their live weight, the quality of the food taken in, the composition of the ration and their physiological condition (lactation, diseases, stress, etc.). The welfare, health and growth of the pigs is strongly determined by the physicochemical quality of the water they have at their disposal, the bacteria it may contain, its taste and smell. The control of water spillage is the second issue when choosing and installing drinkers. Please contact us for personal advice.

Drinking behaviour and water needs

  • A piglet visits the drinker for the first time within the first 18 hours ofits life.
  • More than 80 visits to the nipple per day during weaning (stress).
  • After weaning, 100% of the piglets visit the drinker at least oncebetween 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (important for treatments).
  • During fattening, a pig drinks 30 times a day and spends 10 to15 min/day at the drinker.
  • The water intake occurs primarily during the daytime withconsumption peaks around mid-morning and late in the afternoon.
  • More than 75 % of the water intake is associated with the feedperiods.

Bowl or nipple?
How to choose between

A pig naturally drinks by suction. As such, a bowl offers a more natural way of drinking, regardless of the age of the animal. Piglets take more food in when they drink from a bowl. Also during the weaning period, we observe less stereotypies (sucking other piglets, etc.) when they can drink from a bowl instead of a nipple. In addition, bowls offer much better spillage control. On the other hand, bowls are more easily soiled by manure or food.This means that a nipple shouldn’t exactly be banned. When the flow rate and installation height are properly adjusted, a nipple always provides clean water, but it holds a high risk of spillage.


A presence of only 1,5 g of manure in 1 litre of water already affects the water intake and the growth. Besides the risk of diarrhoea, a decreased water intake affects the food intake and consequently also the weight gain, and it causes the build-up of body fat (thickness of backfat). In the lactating sow it increases the risk of constipation, mastitis, agalactia, metritis and urinary disorders.


Préférences RGPD
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