As a nutrient, the importance of water for all animals can’t be overemphasised. The amount of water that your goat needs depend on many factors such as breed, diet, age, season and environment.
For example, if you live in an area where it is hot during the summertime then you will want to give them more than if it was wintertime.
Signs that your goat may be dehydrated can include not eating or drinking enough, increased breathing rate, sunken eyes or ears and excreting less urine than normal. It is also important to note that dehydration can happen quickly so if you suspect your goat is not drinking enough it might be time to see the veterinarian.
When introducing new goats to each other, make sure that you have water available so they can socialise while drinking.
If there are no water sources around then introduce them without having food available for at least an hour to ensure they get a drink before anything else.
There’s always a risk of incurring more losses and more problems when water is not provided. When this happens, it may lead to the early death of the goat.
Here are a few ways you can provide water for your goats:
1) Pipes – Making sure that pipes are not blocked and within the goats’ reach is vital in ensuring that their needs are met. It is advised that you should attach a float valve for their livestock.
2) Troughs – This is also another good way to ensure that your goats have water. However, you should avoid using metal or plastic because these can become very hot during summertime.
3) Buckets – Make sure that the buckets are used for drinking purposes only and are properly cleaned after each use. Place them at a height that is easy for your goats to access.
4) Automatic drinkers – If you have the resources, investing in an automatic drinker can be a good idea and will save you time and money on maintenance. Just make sure that the goat cannot destroy them during playtime.
How much water do goats need?
If you are rearing goats, you should understand that while goats require less water than cattle, they do need a constant supply of fresh and clean water at all times.
Goats are also quite particular about the cleanliness and the overall quality of the water provided.
If the water provided is not of sufficient quality or fresh, they will simply refuse to drink it.
Since goats are picky about their water, it is recommended that you provide them with individually designed and clean water tanks. This way you can ensure that the water in the tank remains as fresh as possible at all times.
So the source of water on the farm or shelter is well looked after, cleaned and tested for organic contaminants, minerals and certain types of bacteria like E Coli.
Regarding the water source, it largely depends on the structure and location of the farm or shelter.
Still, there are some places where water is not readily available and farmers must devise ways to get fresh and clean supplies.
Water should be provided in a place that is easy for the goat(s) to access and they need to have access to it at least twice a day.
A few things you can do include investing in automatic drinkers so you don’t have to worry about filling them up constantly.
Provide different water supply options where they can drink from multiple sources and make sure that the water is clear and cool, not warm or hot.
Apart from the water source and the overall quality of the water provided for your goats, there are other factors that we need to be aware of.
All in all, the source of water on your farm or shelter must be accessible to goats and clean enough for them to drink.
If you are aware of the different factors that come into play when providing water sources for your livestock, go ahead and choose what works best for you.
Quantity of Water Goats Need
The number of water goats needs every day can vary depending on the size of your herd, the activity level of your goats and the environment that you keep them in.
Other factors include the goat’s food rations and intakes, its size and age, the weather and a host of others. Knowing these factors will ensure the right supply of water to the goats you own.
Goats need water at least twice a day but more often depending on where they live, if it’s hot or cold, etc.
A normal goat consumes between 8 to 15 liters (2-4 gallons). On average, a goat weighing 50 kg will require about 2.5 gallons of water per day.
However, this number can increase if you add in the food rations and intakes of the particular doe or buck.
For example, if the doe or buck is on a dry feed like hay, then you would likely increase the amount of water given.
On the other hand, if a goat is on a more water-intensive diet like grains, you would reduce the amount of water given. Water is essential for goats to keep them hydrated and healthy.
It helps in the proper digestion of food in their stomachs, ensures that they remain cool in hot temperatures, keeps the kidneys working properly and prevents constipation
As for kids, providing about 2 gallons of water a day is more than sufficient for them.
Another factor that leads to an increase in water consumption is when your doe is lactating.
A doe in that stage will require an additional 1.8 litre of water for every 1 pint of milk it produces. Also, the doe is in peak lactation, whereby it’s producing 5 pints of milk, for whatever reason, it will need an extra 2 to 2.5 gallons of water each day.
Goats Need Water Quality
While it’s true that goats are used to drinking water from ponds, brooks and other natural sources of water, this doesn’t mean that the source is clean enough for them to drink.
Keep in mind that these sources can be contaminated with parasites or bacteria that can make your goat sick.
How much water you provide your goats is determined by a number of different factors. Some of these factors include the age and size of your goat, the activity level, the amount of food intake and the environment.
Other factors worth noting are listed below,
- Ensure that your farm’s watering system can provide water to different parts of the property. These areas should especially include the barn areas, pens( working pens, Kidding pens and the rest) and pastures. These areas should be made as near as possible to the goat’s shelter and fields. If you can, try placing them close to your barn or home where you can easily monitor them.
- Water supplies must be clean and clear enough for the goats to drink. This is a very important issue because there are many parasites and bacteria. Do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides that contaminate the water.
- Choose a system that will work on your farm. There are many systems available out there, choose whatever works best for you depending on the size of your goat herd and the area around your farm.
- There should always be an alternate source of water that can sufficiently provide water in case of any unforeseen incidents. Goats need lots of it to drink, so they can live. Without water, goats will die for sure.
- Another aspect to look at is the sizes and locations of the drinking equipment employed by the farm or shelter. Your troughs, bowls and whichever other drinking equipment you utilize should be well sized and placed in locations that are of sizes suitable for the groups of goats that will utilize it. When using the machines that use electricity, ensure that they are installed at places where there is no danger of goats standing on them or climbing over them.
- You should also have a thorough cleaning and maintenance regime for your equipment. This is because any contamination of the equipment, whether by chemicals or goat droppings often leads to diarrhea outbreaks among your goats.
- When the winter season is near, you should start taking steps to ensure your watering system does not freeze over. The usual method of preventing the water from freezing is to install a heater in your system.
Watering Systems for Goats
Goat watering systems have some unique features that are worth noting.
- One thing about goat systems is that they are made in various sizes. For example, when designing for goats with kids many people prefer to choose a large bowl.
- Another thing about goat systems is that they are made in different types. When designing the system you should look at what you want to achieve before making your choice.
- Have one nipple drinker per every 15 goats -the drinker should be at least 12 inches in diameter and should be elevated at least 3 feet off the ground.
- If using more than one nipple-style drinker, place them at different areas of the pasture to ensure that all goats get an opportunity to access water when they need it.
- Each nipple drinker should also have a minimum capacity of 1 quart per goat on daily basis.
The importance of water to every animal can’t be denied or withheld.
If you can’t provide an adequate supply of water for your livestock, they will likely go in search of it and if they can’t, you would notice their health diminishing.
Goats need very clean and fresh water daily. If your goats don’t want to drink the water, it means they are not comfortable with its quality and you should do something about it.