The Importance of Livestock Water Quantity & Quality


Spring has sprung and we are getting into the full swing of summer. Days are longer and the nights are warmer. But with these warmer days comes the even hotter weather of the months ahead. For those of us with livestock it is refreshing to not have to trudge through two feet of snow to get the morning chores done and animals fed, but the heat brings other concerns to the surface. 

Providing enough fresh water is extremely important. When livestock do not receive adequate amounts of quality water, they produce less and are at risk for dehydration, which could require medical attention and in severe cases be fatal.  

Water requirements vary by breeds of livestock and age of the animal; however, all livestock should always have access to clean water. 

For their specific needs see the charts below provided by the North Dakota State University.   

Table 1- Beef Cattle
Table 2- Dairy Cows 
Table 3- Horses 
Table 4- Sheep

Table 5- Swine 

As mentioned above, water should be fresh and clear, free of debris, and not “stale” or “stagnate.” Water tanks should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled on a regular basis, especially if livestock never completely empty it. Dirty water is a host for disease organisms. 

Growing up my dad had a rule when it came to animals’ water. “Would you drink it?” this has become a statement that echoes in my head while filling or cleaning my water tanks. 

For more information about livestock water consumption and quality, or any livestock or homesteading questions contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office of Saratoga County by phone 518-885-8995. Or reach out via email to Nicolina Foti This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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