return to contentsPRACTICE TIP

Water supply is important for husbandry

John Carr, BVSc, DPM, PhD, MRCVS

Garth Veterinary Group, 'Garth House', Straight Lane, Beeford, Nr. Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8BE England.
Practice tips are not peer refereed.

Any restriction in the water supply of pigs not only limits feed intake but also increases stress factors in the unit. A restriction of the pigs' water intake can result in a thickening of the mucus lining of the upper and middle respiratory tract. This reduces the mucocilary escalator's speed, decreasing the ability of the pig to clear its respiratory tract. This results in an increased chance of respiratory disease.

Some of the problems that can restrict the water supply of pigs include:

  • drinkers placed too high for the size of pig,
  • overgrowth of algae,
  • drinkers set at the wrong angle,
  • water troughs blocked with feed and/or feces,
  • inadequate pressure,
  • water turned off,
  • nonfunctioning bowl (photo),
  • blocked pipes (photo),
  • drinkers misaligned (photo), and
  • water flow too fast (photo).