Water Benefits for Goats & Sheep
The Power of Hydration
Water is the single most important nutrient needed by all animals and people! Water helps the body manage:
- Metabolic Functions of the Body – How the body converts food to energy to growth & development.
- Body Temperature – Helps to reduce overheating.
- Digestion & Nutrient Movements into the tissues & organs.
- Flushing Impurities & Removing Metabolic Waste – Flush out sickness & bacteria.
- Milk Production – As appropriate!
A Goat’s or Lamb’s body weight is 60-70% water. They consume all of their water by drinking, so their water bucket needs to be clean, cool and lots of it! Water in the body absorbs deeply into the muscles and tissue to create fullness that can help in the show ring. Ample water combats dehydration.
How Goats & Sheep Loose Water (Dehydration)
Goats & sheep loose water by urine, feces, & hot temperatures through their hair/wool. Question: Do you know how much water is being consumed by your goat or lamb?
Using a bucket tied to the fence out of direct sunlight will give you an idea how much water your animal is consuming. Using the chart below will let you figure the daily water consumption.
Daily Water Intake for Goats
Goats (to 60 lbs.) 1-2 Gallons
Goats (60-115 lbs.) 2-3 Gallons
Daily Water Intake for Lambs & Sheep
Sheep (20 – 60 lbs.) 1-2 Gallons
Sheep (60 -115 lbs.) 2-3 Gallons
Sheep (116 lbs.+) 3-4 Gallons
Water Situations to Fix
Will also cook away the hydration levels. Be sure that the pen & water source is shaded. Even the hose leading to an automatic water source can heat the water to very hot temperatures. Test the water source first to verify the water temperature is cool. If it’s too hot, attach a water bucket to the fence in the shade. Add fans and misters to the pen to create circulation and cool the air. See Pen Temperatures for information!
Animals like warm environments. If the pen is too cold, your animal may not eat, drink or grow well and can exposed them to potential illness. Comfortable temperatures help to encourage drinking. Add a heat lamp on a timer if it’s below 60 degrees.
Sick Goat or Lamb
If your goat is sick or showing signs of diarrhea, it is safe to assume that they may be on their way to becoming de-hydrated. Besides taking steps to remedy the illness, add electrolytes to a bucket of clean cool water. This will help to get them replenished and re-hydrated. All animals seem to like the attention of being hand fed or watered. So if they are sick, give them some personal care by hand watering and feeding. It also lets you see how much water is being consumed.
A clean, dust free and shaded pen with thick shavings is a great place for your pig. A happy pig eats and drinks well! What can cause dehydration is a hot, dusty, or dirty pen.
Muddy or Bug Infested Water Source
Check your water bucket twice a day! If it’s dirty, warm, mossy or worm infested always clean it out and prepare a clean fresh bucket. Keep all water out of direct sunlight. This will help to keep the water temperature cooler and the larva & algae from growing. A little time spent cleaning will always be a good habit and it will encourage good drinking habits.
Water consumption can be a factor easily overlooked in your feed program. But with a few steps to your daily management, your goat or lamb will most likely be fine! A horse trainer once said that if I wouldn’t drink from the animal’s water source…neither should they! It’s always stuck with me and is now part of my daily feed program. Good water intake is good for all of us! Cool and clean wins in the end!