What to Know About Cattle Hydration and Drinking Systems

Milk cow drinking water in a modern farm close up

Water is one of the most important nutrients for your livestock, and providing fresh, clean water for your cattle will keep them healthy, active, and happy. The best way to ensure your cattle have plenty of easily accessible water is to invest in an automatic waterer, like the ones from your local agricultural supplier.

However, before you choose the waterer that’s right for your cattle, there are a few things to know about your cattle’s water needs, drinking habits, and watering systems as a whole.

How Does Dehydration Affect Cattle?

Water makes up about 60–70% of the body composition of cattle, so it should come as no surprise that it plays a vital role in many bodily processes. A lack of water can cause a variety of health and production issues in your cattle, including:

  • Difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients
  • Difficulty self-regulating body temperature
  • Decreased consumption of feed
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased milk production
  • Decreased effectiveness of the immune system
  • Mineral imbalances
  • Poor joint lubrication
  • Hearing and vision issues

How Much Water Will Cattle Drink?

Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimates the daily water intake of cattle ranges from 3–30 gallons a day. However, your cattle’s rate of water consumption will depend on various factors, including:

  • Humidity levels
  • Whether the cow is pregnant
  • Diet
  • Cattle size
  • Growth rate
  • Milk production stage
  • Physical activity
  • Salt and dry food intake
  • Temperature

With winter approaching, it’s important to remember dehydration and health issues are still a risk. As daylight and temperature decrease, cattle will increase their feed consumption to maintain their body heat, and they’ll need plenty of fluid to process that extra feed.

The location of your water drinking system is also crucial to keep in mind. Multiple drinking systems should be placed strategically so one is always visible from anywhere in the pasture.

What Makes a Good Cattle Hydration System?

At Carlson Wholesale, our watering products are the perfect affordable drinking systems to provide your cattle with enough water and nutrients to stay nourished. We carry the highest quality Ritchie drinking systems, suitable for cattle, pigs, horses, and other livestock.

Ritchie fountains are compatible with heat systems, ensuring they stay frost free in the winter. Depending on the model, Ritchie drinking systems are designed to reduce energy consumption and maintenance. Plus, drinking systems carry a 5–10 year warranty, ensuring your animals are covered for years to come.

Contact Carlson Wholesale to learn more about the drinking system that’s right for your cattle.

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