Although it may seem far off, the hot summer months are quickly approaching. Now is the time to ensure that your water set up is adequate for your litter. Food nutrition is only one aspect to consider for pig health and growth; water is just as important to monitor. Not only will water help to cool the pigs down, but it will also aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Also, keeping the right levels of hydration based on the pigs’ age will decrease the risk of salt toxicity or any other unhealthy toxin buildup. And of course a hydrated pig has a much better chance of staying cool and happy.
As heat rises above 80 degrees, the danger for over heating rises for pigs. Pigs will use available water to regulate their body temp by ingesting and keeping their skin wet. Their daily water intake will depend on their stage of life. This can range from half a gallon for weaners up to 5 or 6 gallons a day for lactating sows. Depending on your water source, you’ll need to adjust the water flow rate as needed for your pigs. If you are using nipples to supply water, their flow rate can be adjusted and you’ll need to check and adjust this as your pigs grow.
The most important aspect of water available for pigs is its purity. Cleanliness and pigs are a bit of an oxymoron, but it is important to provide a grime-free water source to keep your pigs hydrated and healthy. Stagnant water sources such as pig troughs and tanks will have clean water replenished only as quickly and as often as you refill it. Stagnant water also runs the risk of getting too hot, especially if in direct sunlight. At a minimum, stagnant water trough and tanks should be set up in a shady, covered area.
Automatic pig waterers are a very useful tool for this situation. Water can be cycled to allow pigs to have access to cleaner and fresher water than a pig water tank. Some automatic pig waterers have a basin and a float valve to fill water as needed, but this allows water to get hot and dirty because of stagnation. Drinking Post offers fresh and clean water with every use. The unused water drains allowing new clean and cool water on demand with every use.
For more information on Drinking Post Waterers and pigs, please visit this page:
Some other tips and tricks for keeping your pigs cool in the summer heat is to keep pools of water available in a shady area. Air movement with fans and adding misters will help keep them cool through evaporative cooling. Allow your pigs to utilize shade as needed, keeping in mind that the pigs can still overheat in a shady area. You could also freeze some fruits and vegetables for a cool mid afternoon treat.
If you have any outside the box ideas for cooling down Summer pigs, please let us know in the comments below!
For more information on Summer watering with livestock, click here: