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Normal consumption and possible variables based on room temperature

If we contemplate applying medications using drinking water as a vehicle we should be familiar with the environmental conditions in order to correctly estimate consumptions and keep in mind that temperatures also affect pigs behavior in relation to their daily pattern of water consumption.

Thursday 2 February 2012 (6 years 4 months 17 days ago)

Pigs mostly get water from drinking water (77-80%); the rest is metabolic water (16-19%) and humidity from feed (4%):

Obtaining water for three categories of pigs (liters / day)

Pig, growth phase Gestating sow Lactating sow
Drinking water 6,5 11,50 17,50
Water from feed 0,31 0,24 0,84
Metabolic water 1,07 0,82 2,89
Total water consumed 7,88 12,56 21,23

“Swine nutrition”. Lewis and Southern (2001)

Water needs have never been very well defined since there are many variable, individual factors that are hard to determine.

Water consumption estimates in different pig categories (l/day)

Authors Type of pig or productive stage
Lactating piglets Weaned piglets Growth pigs Finishing pigs Gestating sows Lactating sows Boars
Pederson (1984) 1-2 1-5 5-10 5-10 12-20 25-35 8-10
Lumb (1998) 0,27 1,20 2,25 6,00 5-8 15-30 -
Cleary (1983) - - 3-7 7-12 12-15 18-23 12-15
Anderson (1984) - 1,3-2,5 2,5-3,8 3,8-7,5 13-17 18-23 13-17
Almond (1995) - 2,8 8-12 12-20 15-25 10-30 20
Patience (2005) - 1-2,5 2,5-7 - - 12-20 -
Carroll (2003) 1-2 1-5 8-12 12-20 12-25 10-35 8-20
Bpex (2008) - 1-1,5 2-5 5-6 5-8 15-30 5-8
Shannon (2008) 1-2 1-5 5-10 10-20 12-20 20-60 10-20
Taylor (2006) - 2-5 5-7 9-12 10-20 20-30 -
Muirhead (1997) - 1-2,5 3,3 4,2 9-18 18-36 -
Forcada(1997) 1,2-1,5 2,25-2,5 3-5 6-8 5-8 10-30 5-8
Taylor DJ (1995) 0,3-0,5 1,5-2,0 - 6-12 10-20 25-40 -

Compilation of several authors

Under conditions of thermoneutrality, drinking water needs are about 10% of live weight. However, consumption is typically oversized by the waste of water due to environmental factors (temperature and % RH). With the rise of temperature, consumption increases, and it decreases with the rise of RH %. When temperature is very high, needs can increase by up to 15-75% and 3 or 4 times the water waste.

Finishing phase facilities (950 pigs in a 21 day period):

Relationship between high temperatures and water consumption.
Increase of 1,45% for each ºC over 21 ºC:

Relationship between high temperatures and water consumption

Relationship between high temperatures and water consumption
Bird N. 2001 dicamUSA-Building Management Services, Fremont (NE).

When we reference water from feed consumed we are talking about a dilution rate, this increases linearly with the temperature (RH between 65-70%):

Influence of room temperature on daily water consumption in the fattening phase

Dilution rate (liters of water:kg of feed) Room temperature (ºC)
28 24 20 17
Test 1 Castrated males 3,75 3,26 2,89 2,64
Females 3,65 3,21 2,50 2,15
Test 2 Castrated males 3,97 3,22 2,95 2,57
Females 3,90 3,31 2,85 2,72

Massabie, Granier and Le Dividich (1996) Journées Rech. Porcine en France, 28,189-194

In this study, water consumption and the dilution rate increased 0,1/ºC) when the temperature increased from 17ºC to 28ºC. Upon decreasing the temperature from 28 ºC to 17ºC the ADG increased by 16% with an rise in consumption of 44 g/day/ºC and an growth rate decrease of (0,02/ºC).

A change in room temperature from 12-15 ºC to 30-35 ºC produces a >50% increment, but we must keep in mind that the increase in water consumption also depends on its temperature. At high room temperatures consumption will double if the water is chilled (10 ºC) as opposed to if it is hot (27 ºC). Regarding this, Roseworthy Pig Research Unit (Australia) found that an increase of water temperature (17.80 °C to 28.35 °C) reduced growth (378 g/d to 327 g/d).

Among other factors that can influence consumption is flow. With pigs exposed to chilled temperatures, a heavy flow was detrimental while when exposed to higher temperatures, a light flow was detrimental:

Influence of the water flow and room temperature on the performance of pigs at 10-14 weeks old

Room temperature
4,5 ºC 35ºC
Water flow (ml/min) 100 1100 100 1100
Water consumption (L/day) 3,26 4,62 3,13 10,83
Feed consumption (Kg/day) 2,24 2,18 0,74 1,09
Average Daily Gain (g) 855 730 278 466
Feed conversion 2,62 2,99 2,66 2,34
Time dedicated to drinking (min./day) 32,6 4,2 31,3 9,9

Nienaber and Hahn,1984

If we contemplate applying medications using drinking water as a vehicle we should be familiar with the environmental conditions in order to correctly estimate consumptions and keep in mind that temperatures also affect pigs behavior in relation to their daily pattern of water consumption. There are 2 consumption patterns based on room temperature:

  • Thermoneutrality (temperatures <27 ºC): Drinking begins (5-6 am), peaks at mid-day and in the afternoon consumption reduces until nightfall.
  • Heat (temperatures >27 ºC): 2 consumption peaks appear, between 8-9 am and 5-8 pm. Consumption drops at mid-day and at night.

Weaning – finishing facility (600 pigs between 88-95 kg)
Weaning ? finishing facility (600 pigs between 88-95 kg)

Brumm M. (2006). University of Nebraska, Nebraska Swine Report 2006 pg 10-13

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