As things are heating up across the country both in terms of temperature and competition in the show ring, water is something that we all need to be paying attention to. To have truly productive animals we need to ensure that they have good quality drinking water.
In our Make Your Own Luck Clinics we always ask what is the most important nutrient? It makes us excited to see that most exhibitors know it is water!
We’ve been taught that it is important to have an abundance of water available. Daily intake on a cow can vary from 3 to 30 gallons per day depending on size, stage of production and environment. Dr. Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska, says “As a rule of thumb, consumption will range from 1 gallon per 100 pounds of body weight during cold weather to nearly 2 gallons per 100 pounds during the hottest weather.” The same variables need to be taken into consideration with smaller species like pigs. Newly weaned pigs will drink about .5 gallons/pig/day, where as a grow-finish pig will drink 1.5 gallon/pig/day. However, if the quality of water is not suitable that can cause a decrease in consumption, which can affect animal health and performance.
What factors can affect water quality? Odor, taste, mineral compounds, nitrates and microbial contamination all can reduce water quality. There are several steps that you can take to ensure water quality remains at an optimal level.
- Make sure your water sources are clean. Troughs, automatic waters and water lines should be cleaned frequently.
- Testing your water will allow you to know exactly what is in your water, and if any steps need to be taken to improve it.
- Some exhibitors find using a filter at home and the show is beneficial to remove changes in water taste.
- Consider adding Vita Charge Liquid Boost to your water at home. Not only will your animals get their daily dose of Vita Charge, to help stimulate their digestive system, but the berry flavor will become familiar to them and helps mask some of the foreign taste of “city water” when on the show road.
Check out all of our livestock nutrition posts under our Feeding Strategies tab.