Water is the ultimate part of the nutrition of every living being. Be it humans, animals, or plants, water is necessary for healthy living and proper growth.
Seeing as goats are living beings, the need for water also applies to them. On average, goats need about 1-3 gallons of water daily. But their intake could be more or less depending on their physiological state and the type of food they eat.
Supplying Your Goats With Water
Generally, when goats eat dry food, such as hay, they will likely thirst for more water. On the other hand, if they get fresh green grass, their thirst will be relatively lower.
Physiological changes such as pregnancy and lactation can also influence the amount of water your goat thirsts for.
When your goat is pregnant or lactating, you can expect it to require more water. Their water requirement could go up as high as 4 gallons per day.
As humans, we need about 0.5 gallons of water daily. Knowing that goats need about 1-8 times our daily water intake, it is only right that you pay close attention to their water supply.
So, how do you supply water to your goats?
Transporting Water Daily
If there is no water source in the barn, you can get water to the barn every day from your house.
While the goats will enjoy the water you bring to them, you may not enjoy the stress that comes with moving that water every day.
This is especially true if the barn is quite far from your house or the water source.
Pond or Creek
If you have a pond or a creek around your barn, then getting water to your goats will be almost effortless.
However, before you let your goats drink from the pond or creek, you should verify that the water in it is safe for their consumption. Like humans, goats need fresh, non-toxic water for healthy growth.
One drawback of using a pond or a creek as the water source is that it can get contaminated easily. Urine, debris, or feces could get in the water and make it unfit for drinking. Goats will most likely not drink contaminated water.
Hose and a Water Container
Instead of transporting water to the barn from your house daily, you could get water to the barn with a hose.
Now, unless you intend to always be there to supply water to the goats, you will need a water container to go with the hose.
You could get a tank and fill it with sufficient water to last the goats for a certain period of time. You could also automate the process of filling the water container.
By connecting a float valve to the hose, the tank will be refilled whenever the water level falls below a certain level. The float valve responds to changes in the water level in the tank.
When the tank is almost empty, the valve gives way for water from the hose to enter the tank again.
3 Good Water Containers for Goats
Farm Innovators Heated Bucket
This bucket is great for supplying water to goats in winter. It comes with an autoregulated thermostat to keep the water from freezing.
The thermostat comes on when the temperature is 35°F and goes off at 60°F. The electric-powered bucket has a 5-gallon capacity and is chew-proof.
LuckyFarm Automatic Cattle Waterer
This product is a stainless steel bowl, so there’s some corrosion resistance. You can connect it to a hose, and since it has a float valve, the water level and intake are controlled automatically. So, you pretty much just have to install it and maintain it from time to time.
H20 Animal Hydration Flow Automatic Waterer
As the name of this product suggests, the water level in this water container is controlled automatically. You can easily connect it to a hose from the water source and let the float valve do the rest for you.
The bowl has a large surface area for easy drinking. It is also durable: the body is heavy-duty stainless steel, and the cover is made from high-density polypropylene.
Tricks You Can Use to Encourage Your Goats to Drink More Water
Water is essential to your goats’ health. It helps remove toxins, and it supports milk production.
Water is also vital when a goat is pregnant. It ensures that the goat stays strong and healthy to carry the pregnancy and deliver safely.
There is no doubt about the vitality of water to the health of a goat. However, you can make things even better for the goats by encouraging them to drink water.
But how can you do this?
- Only give the goats fresh water. Change the water daily even if they do not drink the water from the previous day.
- You could add some apple cider vinegar to the water. This makes them drink more water. Adding about 1 tablespoon per gallon should do.
- Regulate the water’s temperature. Make the goats’ water cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cool.
- You can encourage them to drink more water by sweetening their water. One common way to sweeten their water is to add molasses to it.
- Do not leave too many goats to a limited water source. Give them multiple options – you could have multiple water containers so they can spread out.
- As you ensure that the water is fresh, make sure it is clean, and its container is also clean.
- Make the water accessible to the goats. If there are kid goats and adult goats, make provision for everyone. Keep shorter bowls around for the kid goats.
How to Keep Water From Freezing in Winter
Supplying water to your goats during winter can be a bit complicated. In winter, there’s the chance that the water will freeze before they even get to drink it.
What can you do to prevent the water from freezing?
Get a Tank de-Icer
Place the tank de-icer in the reservoir to keep it from freezing. If you get a tank de-icer, check the water regularly to ensure that it does not give off an electric shock. If the water does, then the de-icer is faulty. Do not worry, the shock is harmless to you, but it might deter the animals from drinking.
Place the Water in a Sunny Spot
Another way to keep your goats’ water from freezing is to place in a spot where it’ll get a lot of sunlight.
Add Salt to the Water Trough
Salt lowers the freezing point of water. This means it’ll become harder for the water to become frozen.
Cover Half of the Water Container
Cover half of the water with an insulator such as plexiglass. This reduces the exposure of the whole water to cold.
How Much Water Do They Need
As mentioned earlier, goats need between 0.5-4 gallons of water daily. For those lactating, you have to provide extra water – supply an additional 0.25 gallons of water for every 0.125 gallons of milk produced by the goat.
Consider the water content in their food when determining how much water the goats need. Greens usually supply some of the water they require, but with dry food like hay, your goats will need more water.
Should You Add Anything?
You could choose to give the goats ordinary water, or you may choose to add certain things to the water.
- You could add molasses when you want to sweeten the water for the goats. They love molasses.
- You should add electrolytes to the water if your goat is dehydrated. This is important if your goat has been weakened by diarrhea. This is not a treatment recommendation. Electrolytes help with rehydration, but they do not cure diseases.
- You may also add antibiotics or other drugs to the water of a sick goat. But this should only be on the advice of your goat’s veterinarian.