Watering the Hogs on the Cheap

One of the questions we get regularly is how we deliver water to the hogs on pasture.  We don’t have hydrants in pasture so how do we do it?

In the winter we carry a bucket to a couple of rubber pans.  The pigs only need water a couple of times/day and we make sure they get all they want.  When the danger of freezing a hose is replaced with the danger of overheating a pig we use a hose.  Our hose runs from under my feet to the center right of the picture…where that second hill breaks over.  You will read that there is some concern about giving pigs hot water to drink (and the water in the hose is certainly hot) but we think any water is better than no water, the pigs seem to do fine on it and if we had to install hydrants throughout the farm we would not keep pigs.  Maybe we’re getting away with something here but the pigs are happy, they grow well and we don’t have any problems so we continue with our poor-boy solution.

Then we bridge across the fence.  I have a short length of old, broken hose suspended by a tarp strap from an old, broken t-post.  You with me on the old broken stuff?  I’m going for mileage here.  Everything has to keep working for us.  The posts pull up easily and the whole assembly breaks down for easy setup at the next pasture.

There is a shut-off valve as we cross the fence.  With that valve in place we have easy access to water for goats and chickens (further up the rotation).  This helps add a multi-purpose dimension to our infrastructure, a constant goal.  A short length of hose screws on to the shut-off valve and is clamped on to an adaptor in the pipe elbow.

Then it is a short trip down to the nipple through pipe held to an old, broken t-post by hose clamps.  The hogs get all the water they need, which translates to enough to make a wallow.  This wallow is about 24 hours old.  It will get bigger.  Pigs like and probably need to wallow in mud.  Lots of farmers don’t like their hogs to do this but we think it makes a good opportunity to add in pockets of organic material.  Plus, we think it’s a small price to pay for the amount of work the hogs do on pasture.
What kind of “work” do the pigs do for us on pasture?  What do pigs DO on a farm?  I’ll answer that in an upcoming post.

4 thoughts on “Watering the Hogs on the Cheap

  1. Can you show or describe the nipple? I’m not familiar with them. One is obviously enough for a half dozen small pigs, will it do as they get bigger and hotter? I’m all over the poor boy thing – got a barn full of “might be useful” odds and ends, and they probaby will be sooner or later.

    • Can you describe the ruckus? (Sorry.)

      I’ll put up a video of it along with the post about what pigs do on a farm. In short, it’s a stainless steel housing with a valve. The pig bites down on it and water comes spraying out. When the pig releases the bite, the valve closes. They figure out that they can just bite down without swallowing and the water will make a puddle they can root, dig and wallow in.

      We keep a close eye on big pigs in hot weather. This indicates you need one nipple per 10-12 pigs once out of the nursery. I should probably have a backup but the real weak link is the hose. Also, 8 pigs should recieve sufficient hydration from the one nipple but they may be short on opportunities to cool down. When it gets hot we usually unhook the hose and just spray an area of the pasture for them to really soak into. Talk about disturbance!

  2. LOL..
    I’ll look forward to the video. Your set up sounds like it may save on water wastage. I think we’ve heard about the weakness of the hose – it doesn’t stand up to the mower blade very well, right?

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