Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, March 26, 1994, Image 162

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    E2-(lahcMttr Nnhlng, Saturday, March X, 1904
y Penn State Extension Swine Specialist
Hog producers know that as a
nutrient, nothing ranks higher than
water. ,
From a practical sense, feed
intake hinges on an adequate water
supply. From a biochemical sense,
virtually everything that happens
in the body thrives on and depends
on water.
Table 1: Daily water consumption by swine.
Pig Weight
Up to 30 Lbs.
30-80 Lbs.
80-130 Lbs.
130 Lbs. & Over
Pigs (and sows) on full feed
should have free access to water to
maximize feed intake. Water can
be restricted somewhat for limit
fed animals. For example, sows
getting five pounds of feed per day
need no more than three gallons of
water under normal conditions.
And some commercial feeding
systems successfully combine lim
ited access to both feed and water
for growing-finishing pigs.
Number Of
Too many waterers are better
than not enough. Pigs fight for the
water fountain just as they do for
the feeder.
A rough rule of thumb is to pro
vide one waterer for every 10 to IS
pigs with a minimum of two per
Table 2; Effect Of Water Flow Rate and Number of Waterers on Fin
ishing Pig Performance.
14 2 1
ADG, lb. 1.56 1.61 1.62 1.55
ADF, lb. 5.65 5.74 5.74 5.65
F/G 3.64 3.57 3.55 3.65
(Adapted from Nebraska Swine Report, 1991, p. 22)
Research also shows that sows
on restricted water flow (approxi
mately 'A cup/min) lend to eat less
and lose more weight during lacta
tion than sows on a high flow rate
(approximately 3 cups/minutc).
But a study conducted in Ottawa,
Ontario showed no differences in
water intake in lactating sows
whether at a high (8.5 cups/
minute) or low (2.5 cups/minute)
flow rate. However, sows wasted
Table 3; Suggested water flow
rates for various stages of
10-25 lbs
25-50 lbs
50-125 lbs
125-market wt
Sows and boars
Lactating sows
Pork Prose
Kenneth B. Kephart
Pigs normally drink a little more
than a quart of water with every
pound of feed they eat. Hot weath
er, boredom, and high salt levels in
the feed increase water needs.
High salt and mineral levels in
the water may also increase con
sumption to a point If salt or
mineral levels get too high, water
intake will drop.
Some typical water consump
tion rates:
pen (see Table 2 below). Keep the
fountains far enough apart one
to two feet for grower pigs, two to
three feet apart for finisher pijgs
and sows in gestation. The separa
tion is needed so that pigs can
drink without competition from
one another.
Studies at South Dakota State
University and the University of
Minnesota show that when flow
rates are less than 'A cup per
minute, pigs spend more time
drinking but consume less water
than pigs getting at least 3 cups/
minute through the waterer.
These findings are at least in
partial agreement with that of a
joint study conducted at the Uni
versity of Nebraska and Purdue
University (data presented below).
Flow (cups/min) Waterers/pen
only 2.5 quarts per day on the low
water flow rate vs. 8 quarts per day
on the high flow rate.
Based on these studies, it
appears that water flow rate for
individually housed lactating sows
should be at least 2.5 cups per
minute. But there is little justifica
tion for flow rates greater than 4
cups (1 quart) per minute.
Listed below are some sug
gested values for water flow rates.
Flow Rate
1 cup/min
2 cups/min
3 cups/min
1 quart/min
1 quart/min
1 quart/min
Type Of
The best waterer provides fresh
water, requires little maintenance,
and stands a lot of abuse. For most
stages of production, it’s tough to
find a waterer that will do a better
job than a nipple.
Sows housed in gestation stalls
could also drink from a continuous
concrete trough with a valve at one
end. The only concern with conti
nuous troughs is that some dis
eases (such as TGE or pseudora
bies) are quickly spread in a
For baby pigs, water isn’t too
important until they start consum
ing a significant amount of creep
feed (three weeks for most opera
tions). However, % inch nipples
work well. Bowl or cup waterers,
while less sanitary than nipples,
probably have better acceptance
with baby pigs.
Mounting The
Nipple watcrers work nicely
when mounted horizontally. Many
folks suggest pointing the nipple
down at a 45 degree angle to pre
vent wastage. I’m not convinced
that will reduce wastage at all, but
if nipples are mounted on an angle,
they should be mounted an inch or
two higher than the pig’s back line.
A study from the University of
Nebraska did rind that pointing the
nipple up on a 45 degree angle
created clogging problems with
the feed particles.
Water Quality
While this has been getting a lot
of attention in recent years, effects
of changes in water quality on pigs
is still open to estimation.
Here are suggested quality val
Table 4: Suggested maximum concentrations for toxic metals in
water supplies for swine.
Source: Canadian Task Force on Water Quality (1987)
Commercial laboratories or
your health department can usually
assist in water analysis. Unless you
see problems, annual checks for
total dissolved solids, nitrates, tot
al coliforms, and fecal coliforms
are probably adequate.
Disinfection of water supplies
for livestock is sometimes needed.
Ultraviolet disinfection is adequ
ate as long as the unit is designed
for the relatively high flow rates
often found with large animal
Chlorination is another means
of disinfection. Add enough chlor
ine to provide at least 1 ppm of free
residual chlorine. One ppm will
control bacteria, but you will need
slightly higher levels to control
Giardia and viruses if present.
Also, water with a pH higher
than 7.5 will require at least 2 ppm
of free chlorine to be effective. Be
sure that the chlorine is in contact
with the water for at least five
Stray Voltage
Under some conditions, the
watering system may become elec
trically charged.
Because flooring is damp in
swine facilities and because the pig
is a good conductor of electricity.
ues (adapted from EPA standards,
1973 and the National Academy of
Sciences, 1974).' Many of the
levels cited below will seem
unusually high. Clearly, more
research is needed.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS,
also total dissolved salts) —Avoid
using water for swine when TDS
levels exceed 5,000 parts per mil
lion (ppm). High levels are more of
a problem during hot weather, pre
gnancy, and lactation. Watch for
low consumption rates or milking
problems. Sulfates can have a lax
ative effect As little as 500 ppm of
sulfates in the water can have
adverse effects on weanling pigs
and sow reproductive efficiency.
Total Coliforms This is a
measure of total E. Coli present in
the sample. While all strains of E.
Coli are not harmful, total coli
forms provide an indicator of con
tamination. 5,000 coliforms/100
ml should be a maximum. If the
value approaches this, look for
sources of contamination.
Fecal Coliforms These are
the E. Coli bacteria originating
from manure. Don’t use the water
for swine when fecal coliforms
exceed 1,000/100 ml. High levels
usually lead to diarrhea or mastitis
Nitrates This form of nitro
gen can be tolerated at moderate
levels by the pig. Some estimates
place the maximum level at 440
ppm. I suggest that 100 ppm (23
ppm nitrate nitrogen) be the maxi
mum level. Even at this level, the
source of contamination should be
located and contained if practical.
Nitrites are much more toxic than
nitrates. Nitrite level should not
exceed 30 ppm. High levels can
lead to stillborn pigs.
Toxic Metals
pigs drinking from these systems
will sense an electric shock.
Studies at the University of
Minnesota show that 3.7 volts is
enough to reduce water consump
tion by 25 percent Many research
ers and producers also feel that
stray voltage through the watering
system can lead to nervous beha
vior and cannibalistic vices such as
tail biting.
Recently in southeastern Pen
nsylvania, a sow herd had recently
been experiencing vaginal dis
charges during gestation, and a
fairly high rate of abortions. Stray
voltage was evident and although
the source could not be located, the
problem was corrected with the
installation of neutral ground
The vaginal discharges stopped
with days of that installation, and
the conception rate in the herd also
improved markedly.
Stray voltage reaches the water
ing system since many electrical
systems are grounded to an exter
nal ground and to a water pipe, and
because much of the electrical
equipment and fencing are inter
connected. The stray voltage
should be measured between the
waterer and an external ground
(driven in a damp area) at least 25
feet from the building. Measure
ment should be taken with equip-
ment both operating and turned
The causes of stray voltage
• Unbalanced load in the electri
cal box. Check to see that the num
ber of circuit breakers (and the cur
rent load) on each sideof the box is
roughly equal.
■ A short circuit or faulty
appliance. Check water pumps,
heaters for waterers, drip cooling
systems, feed auger motors, and
limit switches in feeders. All
should be properly grounded and
functioning normally.
• Stray voltage through the
neutral line. This current may
originate from the power company
or their equipment
Although unrelated to water, it
should also be noted that stray vol
tage can reach the pigs through
feeding equipment or fences just as
readily as it does through the
watering system.
Stray voltage problems, with the
help of an electrician or a power
company representative, are usual
ly easy to correct
Remember that pigs consume
more pounds of water each day
than any other nutrient Be sure
you give it the attention it
Chlorination'of animal drinking water,
Dlinoie Veterinary Bulletin. 1(1) 1993.
Ruasett, J. C. 1987. Waterneediforpigi.
Swine Line. Vol 2, No 4.
Brooks, P. H., J. L. Carpenter and J. Bar
ber. 1992. Banff Pbrk Conference. Newton-
Abbot, Devon, England.
Co.) Urban and community
forestry can make a difference in
our lives. As we develop and ap
ply technologies for a better way
of life, often times side effects ad
versely affect our natural environ
In many cases, the trees that
help create liveable oommunitia
are taken for granted and fail to re
ceive the maintenance they need
to remain healthy.
On April 14, Penn Stale Co
operative Extension in coopera
tion with Penn College of Tech
nology, the Pennsylvania Urban
and Community Forestry Council,
the Bureau of Forestry, and the
Williamsport Shade Tree Com
mission will hold a seminar en
titled “Promoting Tree Health: A
Community Forestry Workshop."
This program will begin to ad
dress community forestry issues
and examine ways of maintaining
and promoting tree health in our
If you are a municipal manager,
green industry professional, or an
individual concerned about the
health of your community trees,
this workshop is worth attending.
The workshops will be held at
the Alvin C. Bush Campus Center
at the Pennsylvania College of
Technology in Williamsport. The
registration fee is $l5 per person,
which includes lunch and written
Preregistration is required be
fore April 8 (no walk-ins will b*
For more information, call Lu
zerne County Cooperative Exten
sion at (717) 825-1701 or (717)
459-0736 ext 701.