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Water is an important part and often over looked aspect in raising pigs. Best results come from providing clean fresh water that is always available. Your water system should be set up in a manner that avoids contamination by manure and is separate from wallows.

  • Pigs require more water as they grow. Pigs consume approximately 10% of their body weight each day in water (2 to 3 times higher than feed intake).
  • Pigs require continuous access to water (24/7) to grow to their best potential.
  • Ensure clean water is available and easily accessible, preferably at multiple locations.
  • Heating elements will be required in winter to ensure water sources do not freeze.
  • Water can be delivered through multiple options — nipple drinkers, tubs, or troughs.


The goal is to provide fresh, clean water continuously at all times. Therefore, the system you choose will depend on water source, number of pigs, pasture/penning layout, and season.

  • Surface water should not be used as a water source for your pigs, as it will attract rodents and birds and can become contaminated.
  • If using tubs, buckets, or troughs, ensure they are cleaned as required in order to avoid contamination.
  • Also consider testing your water (from the drinking source) annually, in addition to regular chlorination, to avoid risks associated with fecal coliforms.

The best water delivery system for your farm will be dependent on a number of factors including the number of pigs, how much time you have, season, and how your yard is setup to deliver water to your pigs. Pigs consume more water than you think. It’s important to have a constant supply of fresh clean water.


Water Required per Day (L)

Lactating Sows

10 – 20

Gestating Sows

5 – 10

Weanling (5 – 15 kg)

1.0 – 3.5

Grower (15 – 50 kg)

3.5 – 7.0


7.0 – 10.0

Manual Water Delivery Systems

  • Trough, bucket, or tub
  • Clean and add fresh water daily
  • Need to be durable and mounted in a manner that avoids tipping
  • Locate where water can be easily added
  • Need to be cleaned on a regular basis

Automated Water Delivery Systems

  • Nipple drinkers or water bowls
  • Provides continuous supply of fresh water
  • Typically mounted to the side of penning
  • Check flow rates and availability