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Drip system to increase water consumption in the post-weaning phase

Picture 1: Example of the drip irrigation tubing, valve, and dripper in nursery pens immediately after weaning
Picture 1: Example of the drip irrigation tubing, valve, and dripper in nursery pens immediately after weaning

How to increase water consumption in piglets during the 2 to 3 days period after weaning using the piglet’s natural curiosity.

Objective

To use a commercially available drip irrigation system to increase piglet water consumption after weaning (Picture 1). This is a simple and effective strategy that will increase water consumption in piglets during the 2 to 3 days period after weaning using the piglet’s natural curiosity in the sound of the water drops.

Description of the tip

Around weaning, both suckling and weaned piglets have a high need for fresh and clean water. Increasing its availability and consumption results in better feed intake and daily gain. The weaning process is one of the most stressful transition events for piglets. Setting up a system that drips water into their water bowl brings attention to the water bowl and increases the likelihood that they will quickly find their new water source before they become water deprived. The material needed can be found in any hardware store and includes: 4 mm tubing, a small valve to control the flow (liters/min), an elbow joint, and a drip attachment. A punch system is used to create an opening in the main water line where a connector attachment can be inserted.

Helping them adapt more quickly to the water access points will lower the negative impact of this stressful period. The aim of this tip is to help the piglets understand where the water points are using the sound of dripping water and their natural curiosity.

he cost and level of difficulty associated with the installation of these drip irrigation components is very low relative to the benefit to the piglets.

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