When it comes to water, pigs seem to instinctively know how to destroy anything that holds it. If they’re not breaking under ground pipes then they are breaking connections to troughs and drinkers. We have tried all types of troughs and drinkers but none have seemed to work. We even tried a very expensive line of drinkers that were specifically designed for pigs so that they would not break. Every one of these was broken within 48 hours. Being an electrician by trade I never did like plumbing but now I buy teflon tape in bulk.
I’m sure each farm would be different in terms of what works and what doesn’t, but for us we found that the nibblers in the featured photo are the strongest and most effective way of getting water to pigs. There are different sizes for smaller pigs and larger ones. A pig goes up to the nibbler and bites down on it which moves a pin and releases the water. We have found that all the pigs get the hang of it very easily either through playing with them or watching other pigs. We have never had a pig that couldn’t work it out.
We noticed one of our new sows was just not getting the hang of the drinker and preferred to drink any spilt water from other pigs off the ground. Now that the entire farm has these type of drinkers strewn every where we needed to teach her and fast.
If this ever happens we usually just press the nibbler when the pig is watching and they work it out pretty quickly. Not this little piggy. Whenever we have a pig on the farm that we don’t know her name by sight (and is a few kangaroos short in the top paddock) we call them Norbit. People who have seen the Minions movie will understand this. The next idea was to smear some peanut butter on the nibbler so Norbit would realise water comes out when she touches it. She sniffed the peanut butter and went back to drinking water off the ground. Honey was our next brilliant idea. She liked the honey but was so gentle licking it off that the nibbler didn’t operate. It doesn’t take much to set them off but somehow this girl managed to get all the honey off without a drop of water coming out.
I then put some more honey on but this time sprinkled some grain over the honey to see if that made a difference. No luck. Time to bring in reinforcements.
I went and got another girl to show her how to drink. Just as we were approaching I saw Norbit about to try and drink from the nibbler but we distracted her and she stopped. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the other girl to have a drink when she did she blocked Norbit’s view. Back to plan C.
I put some more honey and grain on the nibbler and waited patiently. As I was waiting I was thinking I was going to have to get on all fours and drink from the nibbler myself to show Norbit how it is done. I knew as soon as I did this someone would walk around the corner and see me and then I would have to have a very awkward conversation.
As I was thinking of possible answers to awkward questions Norbit tried the honey grain mixture again and some water came out! She was shocked at first but quickly worked it out from that point onwards. Awkward conversation avoided!