Water guidance for pig farmers

This section provides guidance for pig farmers on water system setup and maintenance, the importance and methods of maintaining water quality and how to avoid waste. It also explores water supply management.

It is a legal requirement that all pigs have ready access to good quality, clean water. Defra’s code of practice for the welfare of pigs states that: 'All pigs over two  weeks of age must have continuous access to a sufficient quantity of fresh drinking water.'

  • Water meets the pig’s basic need of freedom from thirst
  • Water is essential for nearly all body functions, including temperature regulation, absorption of nutrients, tissue growth and waste excretion
  • Water directly affects feed intake, so contributes to pig growth and performance
  • Water is used in cleaning and disinfection routines to maintain animal heath

Maintaining water quality and preventing wastage are both important. Water is a precious resource that comes from either surface or underground sources. It may be supplied ready-treated to potable (human drinking) water standards via the mains supply and/or from a farm’s borehole, well or spring.

Water quantity and quality Water usage Waste water and drainage Water regulations for pig farms Water supply problems – a guide for livestock farmers