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Bovine Water Consumption

It’s no secret that adequate water consumption for cattle is the key to a healthy herd. Cows who stop drinking due to water contamination, weather changes or stress are at risk of developing severe diseases and illnesses. Therefore, it’s important to know the daily water requirements for your cattle and how to prevent water consumption issues in your heard.

Daily Water Requirements for Cattle

The typical daily water requirements for non-lactating animals run from .75 to 1.5 gallons per 100 pounds of weight. In other words, cows should consume between 6 and 12 percent of their body weight every day. Lactating cows, on the other hand, drink much more, consuming up to 18 percent of their weight every day. Therefore, the standard 1,200 pound cow requires approximately 27 gallons of water per day.

Water consumption depends on many factors including feed types, production levels, salt intake and climate conditions. Grazing cows take in water through grass, while grain or hay-fed cows do not. Thus, grain-fed cows typically need more water than grazing cows.

The amount of salt your cattle takes in will also alter water consumption. Hotter temperatures mean higher rates of respiration, which call for an increase in water consumption. Again, if your cattle’s water is contaminated in any way, their water intake will drop.

Why Are My Cattle Not Drinking Water?

If you notice some of your cows are not drinking water, you should act immediately to prevent serious health issues from arising. Some causes of a decline in equine water consumption include the following:

  • Foul Smelling Water: If the water smells bad, cows will not drink it. Ensure proper cattle water consumption by keeping your water and troughs clean!
  • Bad Tasting Water: Your cattle can detect off-tasting water. Make sure their drinking water stays clean and pure.
  • Acidic Rumen: When excess acid is present in the rumen, it can cause discomfort, resulting in decreased feed and water intake.
  • Stress: Anytime a cow encounters stress, the ruminal pH in their stomach changes. This can cause their water intake to drop. Proper handling, good-quality feed and clean, calm and quiet living conditions are key to preventing stressed-out animals.

How to Prevent Water Consumption Issues in Cattle

Water-deficient cattle will show signs in the form of firm stool, drops in milk production, low urine output and infections. Preventing water consumption issues starts with simply making sure your cattle are not experiencing acidotic rumen conditions and the water offered is clean, pure and bountifully supplied.

If your cows know where to go to find clean drinking water and they’re eating and moving around, they should have no problem consuming enough water. It’s important to keep in mind that your cattle may stop drinking due to infections or diseases. In that case, act on the symptoms as soon as you notice them.

How CattlActive® Can Help Your Herd

Our proprietary product, CattlActive®, helps cattle cultivate nutrient absorbent, healthy and pH balanced gut conditions. If you have questions about your cow’s drinking habits or are interested in using CattlActive®, contact us today!

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