When given a choice, cattle will drink from a trough


If you lead or direct a cow to clean water, it will usually drink faster and grow better.

The best way to make that happen is with an off-site system like a water trough, say experts.

Water facts

Livestock behaviour research in the Kamloops, B.C., area studied how water influences cattle behaviour.

  • Proximity to water is the most important factor determining where livestock are distributed. This means water is the most effective tool at manipulating livestock behaviour. Although cattle will travel three to four kilometres for water, it is recommended that they have water within 1.5 km in gentle terrain and less in steeper terrain. In general, studies have shown that cattle tend to spend most of their time within about 300 metres of water. (DelCurto et al. 1999)
  • The amount of time cattle spend drinking depends on water source, water quality, taste and weather. Time spent drinking can vary from three to six minutes per day
    to 26 minutes per day. (Veira, D. and Liggins, L. 2002)
  • The water requirements of cattle vary with weather conditions and the physiological state of the animal.

Source: Kelsey Spicer-Rawe, riparian specialist with Cows and Fish

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