Finisher pigs on liquid feeding are not more motivated to drink water from an extra water bowl than those fed on dry feed.
Such are the results of a study by the Dutch Livestock Boards for Livestock,
Meat and Eggs (PVE) which are important for future regulation for provision of
water in conjunction with liquid feeding.
Finishers that are fed with
liquid feed with 25% dry-ingredient content absorb more water than they require
physiologically. However, European regulations stipulate that pigs ‘must have
access to water all the time’. This can lead to higher feed costs.
Motivation of pigs
As a result, the Animal Sciences
Group, part of Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands,
carried out a study on behalf of the PVE in 2006 and 2007 in order to
investigate the motivation of finishers to drink more water.
motivation was measured by providing firstly an extra water bowl in the pen. The
speed of flow of the water was changed on a weekly basis between 130, 360, 730
en 1040 ml/min. If the pigs drank more water at a lower flow rate, this was
considered a measure of motivation.
Three liquid feeding systems were
used: long trough, sensory feeding and variomix. Results were taken from 48 pens
with 12 pigs. In total, the pigs fed on liquid feed, used 7.3 litres water per
day and the pigs fed on dry feed 4.7 litres, including water from feed.
Consumption from the extra drinking bowl amounted to 0.6 and 3.4 litres
per day respectively. At the lowest flow rate, the pigs drank less – around 0.3
to 1.9 litres per day. The speed of water consumption was low and no difference
was recorded with liquid feed and dry feed. This indicates that they were
motivated for extra water.
The results of
the study suggest that pigs fed on liquid feed are not motivated to drink more
water than those on dry feed. If an extra drinking bowl for pigs feed on dry
feed is not necessary, then such is the case of those fed on liquid