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Water

123. The Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994 state that:
"All pigs shall be provided with an adequate supply of fresh drinking water each day. Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed, placed and maintained so that contamination of the pigs' feed and water is minimised."

124. Water is required not only for drinking but also to make wallows (see also paragraph 56), so the site must be properly supplied throughout the year. Flow and pressure from the mains or a borehole should be established to provide an adequate supply to the site. The troughs should contain sufficient water for at least a day and there should be adequate access appropriate to the number of sows in the group. Farrowing sows, in particular, should have a continuous supply of water and during periods of interrupted supply should be allowed to drink at least twice a day.

125. On outdoor units where sows have a tendency to chew stones, which are then often dropped into the water trough, it is important to remove the stones frequently to maintain the effectiveness of the trough.

126. Arrangements should be made to ensure an adequate supply of water to all stock in all weathers. Particular attention is needed at times of freezing conditions. Furthermore, the stockman should ensure that damage to water pipes by the sows, which often happens during periods of hot weather, does not disrupt provision of water. The use of a bowser can ensure effective supply where necessary.

127. Many farmers place fenders around the entrance to the farrowing hut to keep the litter together and prevent the piglets from mingling with other sows which may result in competition from cross-sucking. These fenders retain the young piglets often until weaning but allow the sow to come and go as she pleases. However, in summer sows may abandon piglets for several hours while they use wallows. Special care should be taken in hot conditions to ensure that piglets which do not receive adequate milk do not become dehydrated. The provision of easily accessible water to prevent dehydration should be considered. We believe that there may be advantages in providing water within the fender but acknowledge the absence of scientific evidence. We therefore recommend research is undertaken to establish the water requirements of sucking piglets. Should this research demonstrate that these piglets do need water we suggest further research to develop a means to provide water within the fender.