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  • All animals require ready access to drinking water, particularly in hot dry weather.
  • Sheep, cattle and other cattlevdrinkingruminants have fluid-filled fore stomachs, and horses have a fluid-filled large intestine, so they must have water to keep their digestive systems operating well.
  • In hot weather, all mammals lose water in their breath, and the rate of water loss is increased by panting and/or sweating.
  • Lactating cows can drink up to 70 litres and day and sheep can drink 6 litres daily if there is no other source of water.
  • However if the pasture is lush and moist, they may not require as much as this, and if it’s wet and grass is lush, animals like sheep can get most of the water they require from the pasture.
  • But as a general rule, clean drinking water must be available for all livestock at all times.
  • It is important to check water troughs regularly to make sure there is a good supply of clean drinkable water at each trough.
  • Stagnant water sources such as farm dams and ponds are usually not good for stock, because they can become contaminated by faeces, and this is a disease risk.
  • Clean troughs occasionally if necessary. Some types of algae are poisonous to stock.
  • It is not uncommon for vermin or birds to drown in the trough, especially in dry conditions. This is a health risk to stock.
  • When lambs get to the playful stage, they can slip into the water trough and may drown.
  • When the carcass decomposes it can cause serious illness in animals forced to drink the fouled water.
  • Place bricks or a plank in the trough so that any animal that falls in can escape without drowning.
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