Patterns of Drinking Water Use in Pork Production Facilities
University of Nebraska 2006 Swine Day Report. The amount of drinking water needed daily by the pig depends on numerous influences, including temperature, diet, stage of production and health. Within a 24-hour period under thermal-neutral conditions, grow-finish and gestating swine demonstrate a peak in water usage in late afternoon while lactating females consume water more consistently throughout the day. In times of heat stress, grow-finish pigs alter their water usage pattern with a peak between 8 to 9 a.m. and second peak around 5 to 8 p.m. Daily drinking water needs for pigs range from less than 0.5 gal/pig/day for newly weaned pigs to greater than 1.5 gal/pig/day for grow-finish pigs using nipple drinkers. Water requirements for breeding swine range from 3 to 4 gal/day for gestating females and 6 gal/day for lactating swine. Knowledge of the daily water needs of pigs, and the patterns of water usage within the day allow for the appropriate sizing of delivery devices and prediction of the impact of pork production on available water supplies. Daily charting of drinking water usage can serve as a predictor of the on-set of swine health challenges such as swine influenza. As more sophisticated methods become available to record water usage, other predictors of performance may be developed depending on the patterns detected.