It might be difficult to have clean water accessible for your pigs unless you invest in a quality pig waterer. These cunning omnivores can overturn a water trough before you can turn around, combining power with a curious temperament and a fondness for muck. In the summer, even a few hours without water may be dangerous to a pig’s health; and even in the winter, your pigs require continual access to water.
It’s a good thing there are so many methods to water a pig since outsmarting our pigs is an ongoing endeavor!
1. How Much Water a Pig Requires
A pig’s water intake varies greatly depending on the weather, the size of the animal, and what it is consuming. Pigs whose diet is primarily dry feed drink more than natural-feed pigs. A lactating sow (mother pig feeding babies) might require 6 gallons of milk per day, whereas immature piglets may only drink a few quarts. As a result, any technique you employ to provide water to your pigs should consider these considerations.
2. Using a Watering Trough
When you’re just getting started, the most low-tech option may be the obvious choice, which would be a basic water trough for pigs. They can also function effectively if we take the time to plan ahead of time.
Even when half-filled, a pig trough should be substantial enough that the animals cannot tip it over. While the sides must be low enough for even the tiniest pig to drink, they must also be high enough to keep animals from climbing (or being pushed!) over the edge.
If you want to water your pigs from a trough, placing one or two cinder blocks in the bottom of the tank can give footing for any animal that falls in—at least until you can rescue it. For animals housed on deep bedding, an open trough is also difficult. The tank edges must be high enough to prevent waste from falling into the water and contaminating it.
3. Other Popular Watering Options
The cup waterer and pig nipple are slightly more complicated than a trough. These simple valves may be linked to a garden hose and hung on a pig pen’s wall. No trough means no drowned animals or polluted water. And animal-activated stem valves only give water on demand. This can reduce water waste.
Of course, a pig seeking a puddle can intentionally spill liquid to create one. However, these simple valves assist in keeping this to a minimum.
No water to the pigpen? No worries! A huge plastic barrel can easily work as a pig waterer with nipples or cups. This will be too heavy for your porkers to flip with water inside. You may also secure it in one of the pen’s corners. It will even fill itself if you connect it to a rain bucket outside the barn! The same may be done with a big livestock tank if your pigs are out on pasture. The tank’s wide base prevents tipping.
4. Watering Pigs in the Winter
Water is, of course, a daily requirement in the summer, but it may also be a problem in the winter! You’ll need to protect your pig’s water from freezing if you keep this livestock throughout the winter months.
First, if the pig gets water from your stock tank, nothing is stopping you from just breaking up the ice in it. Breaking up the ice is probably the cheapest option but not always the most practical. A deicer may be all that is required to keep water heated enough to avoid freezing. If you use a metal pig nipple, however, this extension may be the first element of your system to freeze.
Running water takes a long time to freeze, so you may find an outside tap left open to a trickle in near-freezing conditions. Why not channel this little trickle into the pigpen? If the temperature is not too low, even a few drops of water dropping into a tank will disrupt the surface enough to keep it from freezing.