The UK’s standards for pig farmers are some of the highest in the industry, with animal welfare a key component of the guidelines. There are basic rules such as all pigs must be fed at least once per day and, when “pigs are housed in a group each pig must have access to feed at the same time if they: don’t have continuous access to feed; aren’t fed by an automatic feeding system that feeds the animals individually.” Similarly clear rules are in place where water is concerned, and pigs are watered according to their life cycle, gender, and so on.
While there is a general rule stating that “all pigs over 2 weeks old have permanent access to a good supply of fresh drinking water” there are different systems in place. All must meet the guidelines for minimum flow through rates via nipple drinkers, but there are options for drinking bowls better suited to suckling piglets or finishing pigs.
What should farmers look for when selecting their pig housing drinking systems? It takes a point by point look at the most popular options:
- Nipple drinkers – You’ll need high pressure, stainless steel, nipples for sows, both high and low-pressure nipples for piglets and for growing and finishing pigs, too. You may want to find guards that prevent any risk of injury as well as designs that supply multiple pens at one time. Circulation tubes are also helpful in flushing lines and eliminating any build-up in the lines.
- Troughs – These should be equipped with vacuum flooding options that automatically restock supplies when pigs drink.
- Bowls – Animals like using bowls and it is a good design for limiting water loss. It is also a system that many younger pigs prefer as they can see the water. They should be stainless or enamelled cast iron.
You will also want to have a complete system with meter, filters, pressure controls, reversible flow filters, bypass options and even medication delivery gear. This would mean mixing tanks attached to the system, and require a cleaning system, too.
There are many options, and at IDS Pigs, you can find a turnkey solution designed for your farm’s needs and budget.