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Water Gives Weaned Pigs a Good Start

by 5m Editor
26 March 2012, at 9:48am

UK - Water consumption is what determines feed intake, pig producers heard at BPEX’s Two-Tonne Sow Focus on Weaning conferences. Clean and plentiful water supply frequently came up when pig producers spoke about how they get weaners off to a good start.

Simon Colchester, who rears pigs indoors in East Anglia, said: “We give weaners easy access to water with several water points. They are wet-fed twice a day for the first four days, alongside ad lib dry feed, to make sure newly-weaned pigs keep getting enough liquid.“

Cleveland-based producer Brian Bainbridge rears weaners in indoor flat deck accommodation and uses turkey drinkers. He has at least one drinker per eight pigs, all set at different heights so, as the pigs grow, there is always a drinker at the right height for the pigs to drink more easily.

South-west producer Cameron Naughton manages weaners outdoors. When he started his outdoor nursery system, he used open troughs which offered good access but relied on manual re-filling. “To improve water flow, we now use water barrels which feed water into troughs with bite drinkers. They are easy to clean and help make sure all pigs can drink whenever they want. The barrel means there’s a reservoir of water when we get freezing temperatures in winter.“

Water and feed intake are the priorities to maintain and boost growth in newly-weaned pigs but water is often the ‘forgotten nutrient’, said Mick O’Connell from Devenish Nutrition.

To see presentations and photos from all the conference speakers, please click here.

For practical information and tips download 2TS Action for Productivity factsheets 16: Water supply and 9: Establishing the weaner by clicking here.