Just like any other mammal, goats need water to survive.
If water availability is high, will they go over the line?
Can a goat drink too much water?
Goats aren’t likely to drink too much water. These animals are far more likely to suffer from the effects of dehydration from not getting enough water rather than overdoing their cumulative water intake. Factors such as health and size also call for an increase in water intake.
Keep reading, and we’ll look at everything you need to know about keeping your goat’s cumulative water intake at the right level.
How Much Water Should Goats Drink?
The amount of water a goat needs daily can vary depending on its condition.
However, the average, healthy adult goat needs about two to three gallons of water daily in normal feeding conditions.
Sometimes, a goat may get by on fewer gallons of water per day while grazing, but this average is ideal.
There are periods your goats may need an increase in water intake.
For instance, when a female goat has kids, she’ll likely need to consume more water while she lactates to stay as hydrated as she normally would with a lesser amount.
Typically, you’ll need to give her an additional quart of water to match each pint of milk she produces.
You might notice your goats drink more depending on other factors as well.
The size of the animal, health, and even the weather they’re experiencing can affect how many gallons of water your goat needs a day.
For instance, large-type goats have a higher cumulative water intake than smaller breeds.
Goats also tend to drink more when they’re feeding on feed at dinnertime.
This is a natural response to feeding on a thirst level known as postprandial drinking, so make sure to have plenty of water availability around the hour of feeding or during dry forage feeding.
How Much Water Does a Baby Goat Need?
A baby goat will start life drinking its mother’s milk before they move on to more advanced stages of feeding.
Once they’re ready to start drinking water and milk or milk formula, your kids will need about two gallons of water a day.
Like their mothers, water availability is crucial for goats as they start to wean away from milk.
At this point in their life, they may have a larger increase in water intake than you expect, so make sure you have plenty of water availability.
How Do I Know If My Goat is Dehydrated?
How do you tell if your goat is dehydrated and needs an immediate increase in water intake?
One trick many goat owners use is simply pinching the skin of the goat’s neck.
In a goat who’s had plenty of water, when you let go, its skin will snap back to its original position.
If you do the same test on a dehydrated goat, the skin will stay in position for a moment before slowly moving back into place.
This is a sign to increase in water intake.
Severe dehydration comes with some changes to your goat’s appearance too.
If you notice your goat has pale gums, weight loss, sunken eyes, or they generally seem weaker than normal, it’s best to offer additional fresh water availability and check in with a vet.
When a goat is severely dehydrated, it may need fluids intravenously to rehydrate properly.
Do Goats Need Fresh Water?
Yes! Access to fresh, clean water is a factor of water intake no goat owner can overlook.
Even if a goat were to increase in water intake, it’d do more harm than good if the water isn’t clean.
Dirty water is more likely to carry harmful diseases.
These can potentially harm most animals, goats included.
Goats will also gravitate towards clean water during drinking.
It’s particularly important to check for contamination before letting your goats drink from a body of water like a lake, stream, or pond, even if they offer instant water availability.
When Should I Give My Goat Water?
Most owners allow their goats to have constant water availability.
This allows them to drink whenever they’re thirsty and helps them increase their water intake throughout the day and maintain a steady cumulative water intake.
What is the Best Way to Water Goats?
Even with water readily available, you might struggle to raise your goats’ cumulative water intake.
Luckily, there are a few tricks to help you out with this.
Further Reading: Tricks to get your goats to drink more water
Offering Frequent and Easy Water Availability
First and foremost, make sure you are offering clean, fresh water for your goats.
Goats aren’t as drawn to dirty or potentially dangerous water.
The container holding the water must be clean too!
Don’t forget: this doesn’t just go for when you add the water.
You have to make sure to check the water regularly.
If it gets dirty, replace it with fresh, clean water to offer proper water availability.
This is a good time to check for water leakage disrupting availability.
Add a Little Flavor
Like you might do to your own water, flavor their water to entice them.
Add flavor with a bit of molasses or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to help encourage a higher cumulative water intake.
Some even use kefir grains to create water kefir as a sweet treat for goats.
Containing Your Water with Accessibility in Mind
Break down the water into multiple containers to broaden water availability.
If you have several goats, some may not often venture to the water source to brave the rest of the herd.
Similarly, ensure everyone, including short kids, can comfortably reach the water.
Multiple containers will also encourage your goats to drink more water as the day progresses.
A general rule of thumb is to have a water container per two goats in your herd under normal feeding conditions.
Any less than this, your water containers will likely get overcrowded.
Can Goats Drink Cold Water?
Like you, goats want their water at different temperatures depending on their own temperature and the environment around them.
Cold and warm water have their places at different periods.
As summer wears on and the temperature starts to climb, your goats will likely love a bit of cold water.
Not only is it hydrating at this point, but it’s also refreshing because it helps them cool down.
Conversely, warm water is likely to be less refreshing.
On the other hand, when the weather is cold, your goat isn’t going to want cold water as much.
After all, they’re already cold and won’t want something to make them even chillier.
In cooler temperatures, your goats may appreciate warm water even more.