How to Maintain a Sow’s Condition During Lactation


We are known for creating the original wet-dry finishing feeder back in the 1980s. Since then, we have expanded the revolutionary concept of wet-dry feeding to nursery barns and wean-to-finish production systems, which are well-known throughout the world.  

For our S2-Series sow feeders, we adapted the innovative features of our nursery, grow-to-finish, and wean-to-finish feeders (including the feed shelf, patented EZ-Adjust system, and our patented Adaptive-Flow™ nipple technology) to engineer a farrowing feeder that gives producers the high-quality and performance improvements they expect from Crystal Spring.

The S2-series feeder is not new to the marketplace—we first introduced it about 15 years ago— and, like our finishing and wean-to-finish feeders, over that time we’ve collected a lot of data showing how these feeders help improve production. Some of the most interesting research comes from Fast Genetics, published in their company newsletter, Issue 4 – 2014

Fast Genetics took our S2 wet/dry feeder and compared it to our S2-D which is the same feeder but without a drinker nipple, making it a dry feeder (hence the “D” in the feeder model). This research is interesting because both feeders are equal in design (shelf, hopper bowl and feed control) with the only difference being where the drinker nipple is located—inside or outside the feeder.

Here are the specifics of the two treatment groups:

 S2 Wet/Dry FeederS2-D Dry Feeder
No. of Sows161166
Average Parity2.562.50
Total Born14.4714.62
Born Alive13.2413.64
Stillborn (%)5.90%4.19%
Mummies (%)2.56%2.47%
Average Weight (kg/lbs)1.45 / 2.301.48 / 3.26
Standardized Litter Size (cross fostering)12.5512.61
Piglet Wean Age (days)21.3720.84
Pre-Wean Mortality (%)15.03%16.61%
Number Weaned11.5511.35

The following table is of results that are considered statistically significant at p<0.05:

    S2 Wet/Dry Feeder S2-D Dry Feeder
    kg lbs kg lbs
Feed Usage/Day    6.5 14.33 5.86 12.93
Feed Wastage/Day   0.06 0.14 0.03 0.06
Feed Intake/Day   6.44 14.19 5.83 12.87
Water Usage/Day    18.26 4.82 24.6 6.50
Backfat Loss   2.62 0.10 3.23 0.13

As you can see, sows on the wet/dry feeders had significantly higher feed intake as compared to sows on the dry feeders.

Sows on the dry feeders had significantly higher water usage as well as backfat loss as opposed to the sows on the wet/dry feeders.

Although not statistically significant, several key production indexes were numerically different:

  S2 Wet/Dry FeederS2-D Dry Feeder
Piglet Wean Weight (kg/lbs) 5.9213.055.8312.85
Litter Weight at 21 Days (kg/lbs) 68.21150.866.18145.9
Number Weaned 11.5511.35
Weight Loss (kg/lbs) 9.420.7310.5723.3

Overall, the data shows that sows on wet/dry feeders consumed more feed, lost significantly less back fat, and lost less weight, thus maintaining better condition and allowing for heavier litter weights than sows on dry feeders. 

These results show some of the potential benefits and practical implications of adding our S2-series feeders to your farrowing barns.

For more information about how our wet/dry S2 series feeders can help you improve your performance and overall production results, please contact our team at or WhatsApp/Phone: +1 (402) 227-8228.