Pigs' preference for the location of drinker bowls was tested in a commercial nursery barn near Jefferson City, MO. Twenty-five, 7-week-old crossbred gilts were allocated to one of nine pens, configured with three treatment options:

Treatment 1 had one water bowl located on the same side of the pen as the feeder, close to the back wall (F).

Treatment 2 pens were equipped with two water bowl drinkers. One bowl was positioned as F (above), and the second was located across from the feeder along the back wall (O).

Treatment 3 had three water bowl drinkers/pen. Two were positioned as F and O, and the third bowl was located across from the feeder, but next to the alleyway (A).

Pigs preferred the drinker along the back wall (O), when given three choices (Figure 1). But when offered two water bowl drinker locations, they did not show a preference (F vs. O).

The least preferred location for a water bowl was next to the alleyway (A).

The number and length of aggressive interactions around the water bowl drinkers did not differ among treatment groups (Figure 2).

Researchers: C.J. Jackson, A.K. Johnson, L.J. Sadler, K.J. Stalder and L.A. Karriker, DVM, Iowa State University; R.E. Edler and J.T. Holck, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.; and P.R. DuBois, DVM, Cargill Pork. Contact Johnson by phone (515) 294-2098, fax (515) 294-4471 or e-mail johnsona@iastate.edu.