Plenty of water ‘gets weaners off to a good start’

WEANERS get off to a better start if they have a plentiful supply of clean water, are kept in tidy units and are cared for by dedicated staff, pig farmers were told at a series of conferences.

The three Focus on Weaning events, hosted by pig levy payers’ organisation BPEX, took place at Cirencester, Diss and Wetherby from March 19 to 21.

Among the speakers were Simon Guise, of Bacton Pigs Ltd, near Stowmarket, and Simon Colchester, a batch pig grower partner for BQP at Ashes Farm, near Stowmarket.

Mr Colchester, who rears pigs indoors, told delegates that water was important.

“We give weaners easy access to water with several water points. They are wet-fed twice a day for the first four days, alongside ad lib dry feed, to make sure newly-weaned pigs keep getting enough liquid,” he said.

Mr Guise, who is involved in outdoor production, explained how they got weaners off to a good start.

“Our three rules for success are pig health, enthusiastic and dedicated staff and simplicity and tidiness around the unit,” he said.

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“We keep good records of weaner pig performance that all staff can see, including batch weights.”

Also among the speakers was Cleveland-based producer Brian Bainbridge. He rears weaners indoors and uses turkey drinkers. He has at least one drinker per eight pigs, set at different heights.

Mick O’Connell, of Devenish Nutrition, said water and feed intake were the priorities to encourage growth in newly-weaned pigs but water was often the ‘forgotten nutrient’.

, said Mick O’Connell from Devenish Nutrition.

To see presentations and photos from all the conference speakers visit

For practical information and tips download 2TS Action for Productivity factsheets 16: Water supply and