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Calculating Livestock Water Requirements for Your Farm

Calculating Livestock Water Requirements for your Farm If you work a farm with livestock, planning for your necessary stock water is just as important as feed supplies. Ensuring your stock has adequate water at all times, especially during the hot Australian summer when livestock require more water, is evidently important. To correctly plan requires knowing your properties’ water sources, how much water you need for your livestock month-to-month, and then ensuring the correct amount of water is available on your property at all times. To help, this article will look at some water estimates of common livestock found on Australian farms.

Livestock Water Drinking Requirements

It is important to keep in mind that your feed type and quality, livestock breed, sex and age, weather conditions, available shelter and water quality can all affect water consumption. Nonetheless, some average figures can be estimated based upon drink (litres) per head. Please note: During summer cattle, sheep and horse water consumption will be about 40% more than winter, on extremely hot days as much as 80% more water. Water consumption can be reduced by providing shaded areas, it is also important to shelter water sources as livestock avoid warm water.

Cattle Daily Water Requirements

Cattle type Daily requirements (L/head)
Lactating cow on grassland 40–100
Lactating cow on saltbush 70–140
Young stock 25–50
Dry stock (400kg) 35–80

Sheep Daily Water Requirements

Sheep type Daily requirements (L/head)
Adult dry sheep on grassland 2–6
Adult dry sheep on saltbush 4–12
Ewes with lambs 4–10
Weaners 2–4

Horse Daily Water Requirements

Horse type Daily requirements (L/head)
Lactating horses 80–150
Young horses 20–40
Horses 40–50

Poultry Daily Water Requirements

Chickens do not really consume much water on their own, but if you farm them, then you will likely have thousands. Poultry water requirements based upon sex and the production of laying hens.
Production Stage Age/Rate of Production Daily requirements (L/1000 birds at 21oC)
Layer pullet 4 weeks 100
12 weeks 160
18 weeks 200
Laying hens 50% production 220
90% production 270
  If you farm mixed sex birds, then daily water consumption for broilers at 20oC based upon age are as follows:
Age (weeks) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
L/1000 birds (mixed sex) 65 120 180 245 290 330 355 370
  Obviously, if temperatures are hotter then birds will consume more water, about 40% more at temperatures 32oC and above. Water intake for birds is generally about 1.5–2 times the amount of feed intake. If you need to water stock, then rainwater is an invaluable high-quality water source to harvest. Water tanks are a great way to maintain the highest quality of water and protect against evaporation. National Poly Industries provide reliable poly water tanks which can be linked together to store high capacities of water at a lower price point than steel. If you’re not yet ready, don’t hesitate to request a quote anyway—we would be happy to lock in a special deal and deliver to you when needed.