Livestock Watering

Livestock Watering  –

Far out cow happy its livestock watering issues have been resolvedRaising livestock requires a lot of water. Livestock watering is becoming more and more complex as herds get bigger and new farming methods are adopted. Animals need access to fresh drinking water – and a surprisingly lot of it – see the table below.

Good livestock watering management requires investment, organisation and forward planning. The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA-NI) offers the following advice:

“Farmers should develop contingency plans to get water to all stock in the event that water will be turned off. In many cases this will mean having sufficient stores and a means of getting it to the animals – a storage facility and a pumping system.”

“Farmers are also encouraged to:

make sure that all pumps and pipework are in good working order, and all tanks are leak-proof

aim to conserve water as much as possible

Sourcing water for livestock watering can mean abstracting raw water from streams, ponds or other natural water sources.  Mains water is expensive, so making the best use of rainwater and recycling water where possible reduces costs.

Pumps, water trough ball valves and other equipment can easily become blocked or jammed by weed, debris and other water born solids. Water often needs to be cleaned before re-use.  Rotorflush self-cleaning strainers and submersible filter-pumps provide robust low maintenance filtration and pumping while protecting and extending the life of your equipment. We have supplied many farmers in the UK and abroad with pumps and strainers that have enable them to conserve water and reduced the time and effort that can be spent unblocking filters and repairing equipment.

The Rotorflush Self-cleaning Filter was invented by a dairy farmer. Our filters and filter pumps can help farmers put in place the systems they require for effectuive, safe and reliable livestock watering.

Oh, and how much water do you need? Take a look below.


Amount of water (litres/day)

Cow with calf


Dairy cow in milk

68 – 155


24 -36

2 year old

36 – 50


Amount of water (litres/day)

Lactating sow

18 – 23

Gestating sow / boar

13 – 18

Fattening pig

3 – 10


1 – 3

Poultry (per 1000)

Amount of water (litres/day)

Broilers (1-4 weeks)

50 – 250

Broilers (5-8 weeks)

345 – 470

Laying fowl

180 – 320


30 – 180


Amount of water (litres/day)

Ewe with lamb

9 – 10.5

Pregnant ewe / ram

4 – 6.5

Half of the cows in Europe drink dirt and manure - better livestock watering needed


sheep drinking thanks to good livestock watering practice


Cow with a slice of lemon - hope it's livestock watering and not gin


There are growing concerns about both the environmental harm and the effect on animal health where there are no alternatives to livestock using natural surface water sources.

Grazing animals near available natural water sources is not always feasible and there are increasing concerns that this may sometimes cause problems.

Increasingly, as herd sizes grow and modern animal husbandry becomes more mechanised, simply allowing animals access to available surface water is often no longer sufficient.

An excellent article about these issues – “Remote Pasture Water Systems for Livestock” by the Alberta Agriculture and Food and Agriculture Stewardship Division begins:

“In the past, livestock were turned out to summer pasture and allowed to walk through and drink from any slough, creek, river, or lake available to them.

In the winter, livestock either ate snow, or holes were cut in the ice of these natural water sources for them to drink from. When these natural water sources were not available, dugouts were constructed.

Today, allowing livestock direct access to surface water sources is a concern to livestock producers and to other water users. The practice is also a problem for livestock.Livestock producers want to provide a safe, reliable supply of good quality water for their livestock, and they want to increase their management to better utilize their pastures for livestock production.

Many producers are using remote water systems and applying the latest technology available for extended livestock grazing and winter feeding of livestock away from the farmyard.”   Read the rest of this article at

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