The importance of water for boars

Water is a vital resource for boars: around 50% of the body weight of an adult boar is water. Both the quality and quantity of water consumed will have a direct impact on the sperm produced by boars. As such, it is essential to regularly check the quantity and quality of the water being consumed by the herd. Water resources can cause a variety of problems. In this article, we will therefore focus on several key points to ensure good management of water in your boar pen.

Water origin : Make sure the quality is good.

Whatever the source of your water, from a borehole/well or mains water, the quality of your water needs to be checked regularly. In general, water that is safe for human consumption will be safe for boars. Extra vigilance is required when it comes to well or borehole water. Unlike mains water, this water is not systematically controlled by the water supplier. The table below shows the elements to be checked during your water testing. Of course, during a test, a longer list of elements will be tested. This table only contains the main elements to be considered:

ITEMPPM (Parts per million)
Total viable bacterial count (TVC) per ml at 37°C<200 TVC/ml, but more important is
no fluctuation between samples
Total viable bacterial count (TVC) per ml at 22°C<10,000 TVC/ml
Coliforms Zero

Water consumption of boars

On average, a boar consumes between 8 and 10 liters of water per day. It is commonly assumed that the average water consumption of a boar is around 15 liters per day, but this figure is incorrect. The simplest way to check consumption is to install a meter at the end of the water supply line.

Ideally, water should be supplied through nipple drinkers located between 80 cm and 1 meter off the ground. The maximum flow rate must be around 1 L/minute. This is because:

  • If the flow rate is higher, this will become a game for the boars and result in wastage.
  • If the flow rate is too slow, there is a risk the boars will become impatient and irritable.

You should regularly check the water flow through the nipple drinkers to ensure they are working correctly. Most are also equipped with filters that need to be cleaned regularly, particularly if a borehole is used.
The system of shared troughs is also common. However, from a health point of view, this system is not recommended due to potential contamination as the water circulates between different boars.

Measuring daily volumes consumed

Measuring the volumes of water consumed by boars in a boar pen can help to predict any bouts of influenza for example. Increased water consumption is generally explained by an increase in the body temperature of your boars. For example, this may explain a decline in the quality of ejaculate.

It is also good practice to measure monthly consumption, which is likely to be higher in the summer months and in the heat. It is important to make sure that boars have plenty of water to drink during the summer.

Remember that boars must always have permanent access to fresh water to ensure they remain hydrated.
If you would like to discuss water supply for your boars, please contact one of the Boars & Semen experts.

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