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How To Outwit Your Pigs With An Old-Fashioned, Mess-Free Watering System


If you have had pigs for very long, you’ve probably noticed that they have a love affair with water. Not only do they drink a lot of it, but they also love to play in it if the weather is warm. A 100-pound pig can drink two gallons of water per day. This amount can vary based on temperature and types of feed the pigs are consuming, but that’s a good rule of thumb.

While it may be cute to watch your pigs climb into the watering trough, it quickly makes clean drinking water a muddy, smelly mess. A hog consuming dirty water is a recipe for sickness and parasites.

Hog BarrelTo beat the pigs at their own game, you can make an old-fashioned pig waterer made from nothing more than a barrel and some lumber. I found these plans folded up and placed in an old book published in 1919.

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This simple system uses the same principals as the modern-day poultry waterer you can purchase from any farm store.

Start by finding a suitable barrel that can be used. I like to use 55-gallon plastic food grade barrels. The barrel will need to be airtight, or it will not work.

Next, build a square box or trough, which the barrel will sit in so you have a five-inch space between the barrel and the inside of the box. (See illustration).

The trough can also be made from concrete or a combination of wood and concrete. I have made several from building a form out of plywood and then pouring concrete into the form.

Next, drill a hole in the bottom of the barrel, approximately three inches from the bottom. This is the outlet for filling the trough. This hole should be fitted with a plug or valve, as it will need to be closed when filling the barrel with water.

Hog TroughFor this system to work you’ll need to be certain the trough is level. If the trough is not level, it will simply drain the barrel.

Filling the Barrel

Once you have the trough set up and level, center the barrel in the trough. Make sure the plug is tight in the bottom of the barrel. Open one of the plugs on the top of the barrel and fill the barrel until water comes out the top.

Replace the plug in the top of the barrel and tighten so it is airtight. If the plugs on the top of the barrel are not airtight, the trough will overflow.

Next, remove the plug from the bottom of the barrel. The trough will fill to the top and then automatically remain at that level until the barrel is empty. There are only two reasons this type of set-up will not work: there is a leak somewhere, or the trough is not level.

I’ve used these barrel-type watering systems for many years with great success. Try it, and you’ll be amazed at how easy they are to make and maintain.

Do you have any advice for giving pigs water? Share your tips in the section below:  

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