In the developed world, clean and readily available water is often taken for granted, both for humans and animals. However, the quality and quantity of water served to animals can seriously impact their performance. Several factors influence an animal’s water intake needs, including the time of year, the time of day or the animal’s production cycle. For example, the water intake of a lactating sow triples between day 1 and 21 of lactation. This is also true when the temperature increases from 20 to 28oC.
Various Components of Water Management
As a rule of thumb, approximately 10% of an animal’s live weight is used as the equivalent of the amount of water needed. For example, a 50 kg pig requires about 5 litres of water/day. Measuring the daily water intake is also a good indication of a group’s overall condition in the nursery or finishing barn.
In addition to quantity, water quality is another critical point. Every production site should have a complete microbiological water analysis done yearly. Ensuring that the water is free from major pathogens will help the production site avoid enteric problems on the farm. Water lines should be cleaned regularly to control biofilm formation.
During critical production periods, the pH of the water can significantly impact an animal’s performance. It is with this in mind that Trouw Nutrition/Shur-Gain is proud to launch Selko® ProHydro, a liquid acidifier used in swine and poultry drinking water. Its unique composition of organic acids, ammonium hydroxide and copper sulfate makes it a stand-out product on the North American market.
The pH of water is a very important quality criterion and it can greatly influence the type of living organisms found in water. At a pH between 4 and 7, most of the bacteria present in swine production proliferate significantly. However, below pH 4, the environment becomes hostile for gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella.
Therefore, during critical production periods, when stress on the animal’s digestive system is high (ex. weaning), a decrease in the pH level helps the pig navigate the challenge with greater ease.
Importance of Testing and Water Analysis
It is important to have a recent microbiological and chemical water analysis administered in order to identify the water’s pH and buffering capacity. This will help to determine how easily the pH can be impacted once an acidifier is added. It is recommended that a water sample be submitted to Shur-Gain’s laboratory to precisely determine the amount of Selko® ProHydro to add to the water, where the pH can be acidified to 3.8 (fig. 1).