How to Get a Goat to Drink More Water: A Practical Guide

Just like humans, goats need water to survive. Water is vital for a goat’s body to function properly, but sometimes goats do not seem to drink as much water as they should. This can lead to dangerous consequences, so it is important to know how to get your goat to drink the right amount of water.

The most important way to get a goat to drink more water is by providing constant access to clean water that is easy for goats to reach. Goats will not drink out of a bucket that has dirty water in it, which means that proper and regular cleaning of a goat’s water bucket is essential to getting the animal to drink more water. 

Goats are much pickier about their water supply than other farm animals are. Chickens or pigs may tolerate their water getting a little muddy, but goats will not. Water is essential for goats, so you must know ways to increase their water intake. 

Increasing a Goat’s Water Intake

By now, we have established that goats need water just like any other living creature. A goat’s body cannot function properly without adequate water. Some goats drink little water, but there are ways to increase their intake. 

Goats should drink between one and four gallons of water a day. It may be hard to tell how much each individual goat drinks each day if you have many goats, but you should aim to provide at least two gallons of water per goat. 

Access to Clean, Fresh Water

The first thing you should do to encourage your goats to drink more is to make sure they have constant access to a clean water source. Most people use buckets for goats to drink out of, but livestock water tubs are also an option. 

Ideally, you should empty and rinse a goat’s water buckets every day. For goats that play in their water, you may have to dump out the buckets more than once a day. Lack of regular cleaning can cause a filmy residue to exist in the buckets, which can alter the taste of the water. 

You should thoroughly clean a goat’s water buckets at least once a week with a water and bleach mixture. Scrub the inside and outside of the buckets, rinse clean, and then fill with fresh water. This will help keep the water supply clean for longer. 

It is also important to make sure that the water buckets you provide for your goats are within their reach. It should not be a strain for goats to reach their water supply, and they should be able to easily reach the entirety of a bucket, not just the top few inches. 

Add a Flavor to the Water

Even if they have constant access to fresh, clean water, some goats are still finicky and will not drink enough water. If you find that your goats are ignoring their clean water supply, consider adding some flavoring to it. 

Goats usually love the taste of apple cider vinegar, which makes it a great option for an additive to a goat’s water. Since goats enjoy the taste of apple cider vinegar, they are more likely to drink down their water. You can add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water. Be careful to only add the flavoring a couple of times a month; otherwise, the goats may only drink flavored water and not regular. 

You can also add a little bit of punch flavoring to a goat’s water bucket. The sugary taste will encourage the goat to drink more water. As with apple cider vinegar, be sure to only add punch flavoring every once in a while to prevent the goats from being attached to that taste. 

Add Some Molasses 

Adding molasses to a goat’s water is a like a special treat for the animal. If your goats have never had molasses before, introduce it to them by putting a little on your fingers for them to smell and lick. 

To put molasses in your goat’s water, you only need to add a little bit to a bucket. Once you have put a small amount of molasses in a bucket, fill the bucket with clean water. Mix the water and molasses thoroughly. Goats will love the sweet taste of the molasses, so they will start to drink more of their water. 

Provide a Salt Block

Many farm animals are encouraged to drink more water by the placement of a salt block. Goats are no exception to the way a salt lick or block will increase the amount of water they drink. Salt blocks provide a key nutrient for goats, salt, and they increase a goat’s desire for water.

You can buy salt blocks from any livestock or farm store in a couple of different forms. Some salt blocks are in a solid brick state, like this one. This kind of salt block is best if offered in a feeding pan or other dish that is shallow.

Other salt blocks come on a rope, such as this one. You can use the rope to hang the block for goats to lick. Salt blocks that are on a rope typically have a lower weight than those that you set near the ground.

A good goal is to have one salt block per goat, but you may find that goats prefer to use one salt block together. In that case, just make sure the salt block is big enough. You can buy salt blocks in many different weights, so pick which weight works best for the number of goats you have. 

Monitor the Water Temperature

Like humans, goats prefer their water to be in a certain temperature range. In the warm summer months, aim to have cold water accessible for your goat’s water buckets. Try to keep the water buckets in a shady or covered area to prevent the sun from warming the water up. 

In the winter, try to have warmer water available to your goats. Consider using insulated buckets or covers to keep the water from cooling. You need to make sure that the goats’ water buckets do not freeze over. Frozen water in a bucket is the same thing as no water in a bucket. 

Check the Water Buckets Regularly

If you start implementing some of these measures to get your goats to drink more water, you need to pay attention to the amount of water they begin to drink. You may be used to needing to fill their buckets only once a day, but the frequency may change as the goats drink more.

Routinely check to make sure that your goats still have water throughout the day. This is especially important during and right after goats eat a meal that involves grain. Check the water buckets frequently to see how much water is gone. 

How Long Can a Goat Go Without Water?

Most animals can go about three days without drinking any water, but this should be avoided at all costs. A goat may survive for three days without drinking water, but the goat’s body will suffer significant internal harm.

Water is necessary for essential body processes, and dehydration can severely harm a goat’s organs. Even though a goat could theoretically last three days without any water, you should strive to make sure this does not happen.

To prevent a goat from going without water for too long, be sure to regularly check the amount of water the goat has and how clean the water is. If your goat has not had any water in a day or more, it is probably best practice to call your vet to make sure everything is okay.

Related Posts:
Raising Goats on your Homestead
Can Goats Eat Too Much?

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