Effect of nipple drinker water flow rate and season on performance of lactating swine

V. D. Leibbrandt, Lee J Johnston, Gerald C Shurson, J. D. Crenshaw, G. W. Libal, R. D. Arthur

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18 Scopus citations


A cooperative study involving six experiment stations and 236 crossbred litters was conducted to determine the effect of nominal nipple drinker water flows of 700 mL/min and 70 mL/min (actual = 701 and 76 mL/min, respectively) during winter (November through February; 124 litters) and summer (June through August; 112 litters) seasons on performance of lactating sows and their litters. Within a season, sows were paired according to expected farrowing date and assigned at random to crates. Water flow rate treatments were assigned at random to sows within pairs. Sows were housed in farrowing crates from d 109 of gestation until either d 21 (two stations) or d 28 of lactation (four stations). Within 24 h after farrowing, litters were adjusted to contain 8 to 12 piglets. Sow feed intake (SFI) and litter weight (LW) were recorded weekly. Sow weights were recorded at d 109 of gestation, d 0, and d 21 of lactation. Sows lactating beyond 21 d were also weighed on d 28. Analysis of covariance was applied to sow weight change, average daily SFI, and LW data where litter size after crossfostering was the covariate. Average ambient temperature 30 cm above the floor at 0830 and 1600 was 24.6 ± 0.15°C and 29.4 ± 0.14°C, respectively, during summer and 20.7 ± 0.13°C and 21.8 ± 0.11°C during winter trials. Restricted drinker water flow rate decreased SFI (P < 0.01; 4.59 vs 3.94 kg/d, respectively, for 700 and 70 mL/min) and increased BW loss (P < 0.01; 0.56 vs 0.89 kg/d, respectively for 700 and 70 mL/min) but did not affect litter size (P > 0.87) or LW (P > 0.89) during the first 21 d of lactation. During d 22 to 28, the 70 mL/min flow decreased SFI (P < 0.01; 5.02 vs 4.47 kg/d respectively, for 700 and 70 mL/min). Over the 21-d lactation period, the 70 mL/min treatment depressed (P < 0.01) SFI more during the winter (5.12 vs 4.24 kg/d for 700 and 70 mL/ min, respectively) than during the summer (4.05 vs 3.65 kg/d for 700 and 70 mL/min, respectively). Season affected SFI (P < 0.01; 4.68 vs 3.85 kg/d, respectively, for winter and summer), sow weight loss (P < 0.001; 0.46 vs 0.83 kg/d, respectively, for winter and summer), and LW at 21 d (P < 0.05; 52.8 vs 49.6 kg, respectively, for winter and summer) but not (P > 0.96) the number of pigs per litter. Results of this study suggest that ample access to drinking water and controlling ambient temperature during summer months are essential for sow and litter performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2770-2775
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001


  • Drinking water
  • Lactation
  • Nipple drinker
  • Seasons
  • Sows


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