Economic success of a modern facility relies largely on the methods of providing feed and water as well as how many pigs are in the facility. Maximum stocking density space is determined by how large the pig will be by the time it will leave the pen to advance to the next stage of production. Pigs with too little floor space see a decrease in feed intake resulting in a decrease of daily gain. For a fully slatted pen, every 3% decrease in space allocation results in a 1% reduction in daily gain and feed intake for the entire grow-finish period (it is recommended 8 ft2/pig from 150 lb to slaughter). Proper space allocation can also contribute to a slight decrease in back fat and a leaner carcass.
Water is a component that is frequently mismanaged among producers. Factors such as pen size and stocking density should be taken into account when planning number of drinkers, number of drinking spaces, drinker type, and delivery rate of drinkers. Water consumption appears to go in seasonal patterns. For example, in the summer, pigsâ€™ water consumption peaks earlier in the day, with a decline beginning midday. Water recording devices can be used to monitor water wastage. Water-to-feed ratios decrease as pigs grow. At the start of their life they require about a 3.35:1 ratio and this declines to about 2.25:1 (with gate-mounted nipple drinkers). Although the volume of manure is less when water wastage is minimized, the amount of total nutrients does not vary. A flow rate of 1000 ml/min appears to be accurate for grower-finisher pigs, and 2 drinkers are recommended for every 15 to 20 grower-finisher pigs.