Number of visits and length of each visit to a nipple cup drinker by 7-week-old pigs after a water deprivation period or ad libitum access to water
Ciara J. Jackson, MS; Locke A. Karriker, MS, DVM; Kenneth J. Stalder, PhD; Anna K. Johnson, PhD
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Objective: To determine how quickly all pigs visited the nipple cup drinker, the number and duration of visits, and water disappearance when water was restored after a 15-hour withholding period.
Materials and methods: A total of 184 seven-week-old pigs, identified with unique numbers, were commercially housed (23 pigs per pen), with one stainless steel nipple cup drinker per pen. Two treatments were compared in a crossover design: withheld (WH; four pens), pigs did not have access to water for 15 hours, and control (C; four pens), pigs had ad libitum access to water. One camera was positioned over each drinker to record visits lasting ≥ 5 seconds between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm on 2 consecutive days. One meter was installed on each water line to record water disappearance.
Results: All pigs from both treatments visited the nipple cup drinker during the 6-hour observation period. Control pigs made fewer total visits and spent less time at the nipple cup drinker than WH pigs (P < .05). The WH pigs spent longer at the water nipple and visited more often than the C pigs only for the first hour after water was restored (P < .05). Water disappearance was greater for the WH pigs (P < .05).
Implications: Under the conditions of this study, all pigs were able to visit the nipple cup drinker between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm; thus, withholding water for 15 hours to encourage consumption of medicated water is not recommended.
Keywords: water withholding, behavior, nursery
Cite as: Jackson CJ, Karriker LA, Stalder KJ, et al. Number of visits and length of each visit to a nipple cup drinker by 7-week-old pigs after a water deprivation period or ad libitum access to water. J Swine Health Prod 2009;17(2):76-80.
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