Where to put the piglet milk in? Considerations when choosing feeding bowls for suckling piglets

Feeding piglets efficiently and effectively during lactation is crucial for their growth and development. One essential tool to do so when feeding piglets manually, is with feeding bowls. These bowls come in various sizes, materials, and designs, each aimed at different needs and preferences.

When selecting feeding bowls for suckling piglets, several factors should be taken into account to ensure optimal feeding practices and the well-being of the animals. A factor to first think about before looking at the feeding bowl options is the feeding management/practices of suckling piglets at your farm, like applied amounts, freshness of feed, frequency/correct moment of feeding, hygiene, options to place the feeding bowl in the pen, etc. It is advised to pay attention to these certain factors so you can make an informed decision about which feeding bowl to choose.


Feeding bowls are commonly made of plastic (Polypropylene) or stainless steel. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Plastic bowls are lightweight, easy to clean, and made of a strong material. Stainless steel feeding bowls are durable, resistant to corrosion, and also easy to clean. They are also less likely to become prone to bacteria compared to plastic feeding bowls, which can develop scratches and crevices over time, allowing pathogens easier access and to grow.

However, when providing piglet milk in a feeding bowl made of stainless steel the result could be that your milk will gett cold much faster than for instance milk provided in the plastic feeding bowl. This is because a material like stainless steel conducts heat faster and therefore also cools faster than a material like plastic which cools slower. Becaus eof this, the piglet milk will stay warm longer in plastic feeding bowls.

Size and Capacity

Feeding bowls are available in different sizes and various liter contents. Considerations to keep in mind when choosing a feeding bowl are for instance the space available in the pen to place the feeding bowl, the average number of piglets in a litter, but also the duration of providing piglet milk to the piglets.

Go for a feeding bowl that can comfortably fit in the pen, and accommodate the number of piglets you have by providing enough space for each to access the piglet milk without overcrowding. Additionally, consider the growth rate of piglets, especially when providing piglet milk to the piglets during the whole lactation period. Bowls should be able to accommodate their increasing size as they grow, but also contain the amount of liters of milk for the increasing milk intake. Instead of placing one large(r) feeding bowl, another strategy could be to place two smaller bowls. In this way, more piglets have better access to the piglet milk, but it will also give a better indication of the milk intake, applied amounts, and the right frequency of feeding, and it will improve the hygiene and freshness of your milk. When feeding piglet milk for a shorter number of days instead of the whole lactation period, a single and smaller bowl could also be a good option while keeping in mind the piglet size and milk intake in liters.

Design and Accessibility

Consider the design of the feeding bowl, including the shape, color, size, (floor) fixation, and accessibility features. Regarding shape, different shapes are available depending on the needs, preferences, and space available in the pen to place a feeding bowl. However, when looking at shape and color it would be good to take into consideration that piglets appear to act on differences in contrast rather than on specific colors. Piglets are often more reluctant to put their head in a dark or secluded space, and they seek to avoid unexpected reflections of light.

In general, go for feeding bowls with smooth edges and no sharp corners to minimize the risk of injury to the piglets, and with wide openings that allow piglets to access the milk easily. Some bowls come with adjustable openings or dividers/separators, which could regulate the flow of feed but also affect the accessibility of (all) piglets to the feeding bowl and their feed intake. Don’t forget to make sure that the feeding bowl can be secured in the pen so it cannot be moved or knocked over by the piglets. An example of this is fixing the feeding bowl to the grid in the pen with a push button system using a clamping spring.

Ease of Cleaning

Maintaining proper hygiene standards is essential for preventing the spread of diseases and therefore for better overall health, better feed intake, and increased growth. Choose a feeding bowl that is easy to clean and disinfect, preferably with a smooth surface and round edges making it more resistant to the build-up of feed residues and bacteria. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the feeding bowls will help prevent contamination and promote a healthy environment for your piglets.

So, Where to put the piglet milk in?

The feeding bowl is a tool to provide suckling piglets with additional feed during lactation to contribute to optimal feed intake, growth, and overall well-being. Considering factors such as feeding management/practices of suckling piglets at your farm, like applied amounts, how to keep the freshness of feed, frequency/correct moment of feeding, hygiene, options to place the feeding bowl in the pen, will help in selecting the feeding bowl that meets the specific needs of your pig farming operation and contributes to the success and profitability of your business.

Want to know which milk to feed in the feeding bowls?

Check out the range of Porcolac piglet milk here. Every bag of Porcolac contains the same consistent safe and high-quality milk powder with excellent usage properties to reach optimum growth results.

Share this article
In this article
Porcolac Power
Porcolac Power See product
Porcolac Quick
Porcolac Quick See product
Porcolac See product

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest updates from Nutrifeed!