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How much water do animals drink?

cattle drinkingThe answer to this question is usually a series of questions about the animal's liveweight, size, activity, physiological state (pregnant, lactating, etc) - all of which affect daily intake. Then of course there is the ambient temperature and humidity of the farm and the amount of shade on offer.  So all this makes you realise how dangerous an "average" figure is. But you need some kind of figure for planning water supply systems, so here are some that have been around for years.  However, always err on the high side of any figures if you know that stock are having to deal with extra challenges like dairy cows walking long distances, stock in summer with no shade or in winter when eating very wet herbage.

Consumption in Litres/head/day

Class of animals Litres/head/day
Cattle (lactating) 70
Dairy cattle (plant cleaning) 70
Cattle (non lactating) 45
Calves 25
Working horses 55
Grazing horses 35
Sheep 4
Lambs 1
Sows 25
Poultry per 100 birds 20
Household use per person 200


Peak drinking water flows in Litres/head/day
Class of animals Litres/head/hour
Cattle (lactating) 12-14
Cattle (non lactating) 8-10
Sheep 0.4
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