The Effects of Water Quality on Nursery Pig Performance and Health

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The Effects of Water Quality on Nursery Pig Performance and Health

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Water is an essential nutrient necessary for survival. There are minimal literature and water quality suggestions available to aid in describing ideal drinking water for pigs. An initial survey was conducted to understand how Minnesota pig producers perceive the quality of water in their nursery barns. Initial survey responses were summarized and 15 barns with perceived “excellent” or “intolerable” water quality were chosen to be sampled and analyzed for 29 analytes. An experiment was then conducted to determine effects of drinking waters of differing qualities on growth performance and health of nursery pigs. Weanling pigs (n = 450) were randomly assigned to one of three treatments consisting of varying water quality. Pig growth performance, health, and behavior were measured and water quality was monitored throughout the study. Water quality did not change while stored throughout the experiment. There were no differences among treatments in ADG (0.46 kg; 0.46 kg; 0.47 kg) or ADFI (0.68 kg; 0.69 kg; 0.71 kg). Phagocytic activity of pigs fed different water sources also was not different for the percentages of monocytes (73.2 to 74.5%) and granulocytes (93.6 to 95.3%) (P = 0.91 and 0.45, respectively). These results suggest that the gut health and immune status of pigs consuming water sources of variable quality were similar and did not affect morbidity and mortality. Pigs did not have an aversion to the waters provided, as total time spent at the drinker did not differ among treatments on d 1 (P = 0.65), 2 (P = 0.82), or d 3 (P = 0.79).


University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. 2020. Major: Animal Sciences. Advisor: Lee Johnston. 1 computer file (PDF); 104 pages.

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Lozinski, Brigit. (2020). The Effects of Water Quality on Nursery Pig Performance and Health. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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