Pigs and water

Michelle showers pig

How much water do pigs need?

As a general rule: Pigs will consume 1.5 to 2 times more water than feed.

Pigs lose water through four routes: 1. Kidneys (urination), 2. intestines (defecation), 3. lungs (respiration) and some through 4. evaporation (skin- sweat glands are largely dormant). Therefore, pigs must consume enough water to balance the amount of water lost. Care must be taken when determining water requirements for pigs, because true water usage is generally overestimated. Wastage is generally not taken into account, therefore realize there is a difference between water consumption and water disappearance (animal intake and waste).

Estimated water requirements of swine.

Class of Pig Gallons/pig/day
Nursery (up to 60 lbs.) 0.7 - 1
Grower (60 – 100 lbs.) 2 - 3
Finisher (100 – 250 lbs.) 3 - 5
Non-pregnant gilts 3
Gestating Sows 3 - 6
Lactating Sows 3 - 7
Boars 5

Don’t ignore water

A poor water supply can lead to:

  • Slower growth rate of pigs
  • More urinary infections in sows
  • Lower feed intake in lactating sows, leading to a loss in body condition
Water is absolutely crucial. If they don’t drink enough water they won’t eat sufficient feed, which impacts on the welfare and productivity of the pig. If pigs are deprived of water altogether (e.g. if water supply is inadvertently turned off), they will die within a few days. The first signs of water deprivation (so-called ‘salt poisoning’) are thirst and constipation, followed by intermittent convulsions.

Before you buy a pig

One (simple) Golden Rule is to check their water supply. If the breeder don’t drink the water, be careful… On Vero Pig Farm we have both shallow well and deep well And YES we all drink the same water..!

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