Drinker to nursery pig ratio: Drinking behavior, aggression, and drinker location preference over 2 days

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Johnson, Anna
Karriker, Locke
Jackson, Ciara
Johnson, Anna
Stalder, Kenneth
Edler, Roy
Holck, J. Tyler
Stalder, Kenneth
DuBois, Paul
Karriker, Locke
Sadler, Larry
Stambuk, Cassandra
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Animal ScienceVeterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

Objective: Determine the effect of drinker number (1, 2, or 3 drinkers/pen) on the frequency and duration for drinker visits, aggressive interactions in the drinker vicinity, drinker location preference, and water disappearance for 7-week-old nursery pigs.

Materials and methods: Two hundred twenty-five, 7-week-old gilts identified with unique numbers were commercially housed (25 gilts/pen). Three treatments were compared with 3 pens/treatment: 1 drinker (treatment 1), 2 drinkers (treatment 2), and 3 drinkers (treatment 3). One camera was positioned over each drinker to record behavior between 7:00 am and 12:59 pm over 2 consecutive days. In addition, 1 water meter was installed on each water line to record water disappearance.

Results: Pigs in treatment 3 visited and spent more time at the drinkers compared to the other 2 treatments (P = .02). Pigs in treatment 1 had more and longer duration of aggressive interactions in the drinker vicinity compared to the other 2 treatments between 7:00 am to 7:59 am (P = .02). When offered 3 drinkers, pigs spent the least amount of time at the drinker across from the feeder near the alleyway (P < .001). Total water disappearance was greatest for treatment 1 and least for treatment 2.

Implications: Under study conditions, 3 drinkers increased visits and time at drinkers without increasing aggressive interactions. Pigs exhibited location preference when offered 3 drinkers. Results can inform producers on water placement in pens.


This article is published as Jackson, Ciara J., Anna K. Johnson, Kenneth J. Stalder, Roy A. Edler, J. Tyler Holck, Paul R. DuBois, Locke A. Karriker, Larry J. Sadler, and Cassandra R. Stambuk. "Drinker to nursery pig ratio: Drinking behavior, aggression, and drinker location preference over 2 days." Journal of Swine Health and Production 29, no. 2 (2021): 81-89. Publisher's URL for this article: http://www.aasv.org/shap.html. Posted with permission.