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Drinking behaviour in sows kept outdoors during the winter months

By Heidi Mai-Lis Andersen, Lene Juul Pedersen

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In the light of the EU regulation, “pigs must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of fresh water” and the practical problems it provides farmers during winter to keep water free of ice, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of periods with frost on the diurnal pattern of water intake in sows kept outdoors with free access to water. The study was performed on an organic pig herd with outdoor sows. Twenty-four Danish Landrace×Yorkshire sows of different parity (mean: 4.5±2.8) housed in individual farrowing paddocks with free access to water provided by a frost-proof drinking bowl were used. The individual sow's water intake from the drinking bowl was measured continuously from six days before farrowing until weaning at seven weeks after farrowing. Temperature of supplied water to each drinking bowl, air temperature and rainfall was measured continuously. Numbers of born alive, stillborn and weaned piglets were recorded. The recording period was divided into two temperature categories; control days (CD) with daily average air temperature at or above 0°C and frosty days (FD) with daily average air temperature below 0°C. The FD included data from 22 days representing 11 sows, while the remaining observations were defined as CD. Average water uptake from six days before farrowing until four weeks after farrowing was higher on FD than CD (28.9±0.8 vs. 23.1±1.8l/day, P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 161
Pages 34-41
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.09.018
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Circadian rhythm
  2. Diurnal variation
  3. sows
  4. temperatures
  5. water