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Today, the advice in farrowing is about the importance of water consumption for lactating sows. Water is essential for the quality of a sows milking ability, whether at farrowing time or throughout her lactation period. Some barns will have two water nipples/farrowing stall. Those systems easily reach the Choice recommendation for water consumption.
When you only have one water nipple in a farrowing stall, it is important to measure the flow rate prior to moving a sow into the stall. For this, you can use a graduated container. Fill the container from the water nipple for one minute to determine the amount of water flowing/minute, or flow rate. The target is to have between 3 and 5 liters/minute (0.80 and 1.3 gallons minute). Here we measured for 20 seconds. We collected a little more than 1 liter (0.25 gallons) in the container in 20 seconds, which means more than 3 liters (0.80 gallons) per minute. This is a good flow rate.
There are different styles of water nipples. Some are adjustable inside but this is not the case for this water nipple. If you have an adjustable water nipple, be sure that the adjustment is positioned at the largest hole to have the best flow rate.
Choice recommendations for water consumption depend on the number of days the sow has been lactating. They are as follows:
- End of gestation: 12 to 16 liters/day (3 to 4 gallons)
- 1-2 days pre-farrow: 20 to 25 liters/day (5 to 6.5 gallons)
- 1-10 days post-farrowing: gradually increase from 22 to 30 liters/day (5.8 to 8 gallons)
- + 10 days post-farrowing: gradually increase from 30 to 45 liters/day (8 to 12 gallons)