Can Feeder and Drinker Design Affect Water Usage Rates?

Brian Cotton, Swine Specialist, Brandon, MB

One of the concerns with swine production is the amount of water used and the amount of manure produced on the farm.

To address this concern, researchers Brumm, Dahlquist and Heemstra of the University of Nebraska set up trials to determine the impact of feeder and drinker designs on pig performance, water use and manure volume. They compared a wet / dry feeder to a dry feeder with wall-mounted nipple drinker, a swinging nipple drinker to a gate-mounted drinker and a bowl drinker to a swinging drinker. The water was metered and manure volume was measured in the pits.

In the trial comparing the wet / dry feeder to the dry feeder with the nipple drinker, total water use was 26% less for the wet / dry feeder, and manure volume was reduced by 29.3%.

With the swinging drinker water was reduced 11.1% and manure volume was reduced 13.7% compared to the conventional drinker.

In experiment three, pigs on bowl drinkers used 25% less water than pigs on the swing drinker.

The results from these trials suggest that feed conversion has improved due to improvements in genetics, nutrition and equipment design and that manure production has decreased.


  • Water use and manure volume ranges widely depending upon feeder and drinker type.
  • Decisions regarding drinker device selection have a major impact on water use and manure production.
  • Differences in pig performance that could be attributed to feeder and drinker type were minimal.

Summarized from "Swine Health & Production, Vol. 8, # 2.