Keeping your goats hydrated is essential to their health and overall quality of life in general, but getting them to drink enough water daily is sometimes tricky.
Thankfully, we have 10 clever tips and ideas below to get your goats to drink plenty of water!
Add A Salt Block Near Their Water Source
Goats need plenty of salt in their diets to boost their appetite and keep their muscles and bones strong.
They also naturally crave and enjoy salt, so providing a large salt lick or block is essential to having a healthy herd.
The best thing about salt blocks is they naturally encourage your goats (and other livestock, like cows and horses) to drink more water!
If your goats aren’t drinking enough water, consider placing a salt block near or right next to their water source.
After licking the salt, they’ll naturally be thirsty, and the fresh water source will already be right next to them.
If you have multiple water sources throughout your yard, consider adding a bunch of smaller blocks rather than one large one, so all of your goats can access it at all times.
Add Some Apple Cider Vinegar To Their Water
Some goats are picky about the taste of water, so adding some flavor is a great way to get them to drink more.
Interestingly, goats seem to enjoy the taste of apple cider vinegar!
The tart, crisp taste adds a natural flavor boost when added to water, and you only need a tiny amount of it to make a difference in the taste.
Add around one tablespoon of pure apple cider vinegar for every gallon of water.
In addition to making their water supply more appealing, it provides a natural immune health boost and helps with digestion.
It also increases the alkalinity of your goats’ intestines, making them less habitable for various types of common parasites!
Overall, a little bit of ACV is an inexpensive, instant way to make sure your goats stay hydrated, even during the harsh, hot summers.
Not only will your goats enjoy drinking more, but they’ll also be a lot healthier as a result!
Add Ice Cubes To Your Goats’ Water In The Summer
The water warms up and evaporates quickly under the hot, harsh direct sunlight of the summer months, making it harder for goats and other livestock to stay hydrated.
What’s more, warm water isn’t particularly appetizing compared to crisp, cold water.
So, how are you supposed to keep the water temperature cool throughout the day?
By adding ice, of course!
Adding a few cups of ice to your goats’ water sources will keep it colder–and a lot tastier–for longer.
This will encourage your goats to drink more, and it’ll cut down on how often you have to refill the water, too.
Alternatively, when water sources tend to freeze during the winter, consider adding hot water to keep it from freezing over!
While goats enjoy fresh, cold water, freezing water is unpleasant, especially in cold weather.
Clean Your Goats’ Water Source More Often
With how picky goats are, you’ve probably realized by now they won’t touch dirty, stagnant water.
Honestly, do you blame them?
Nobody likes dirty water!
If you’ve noticed your goats aren’t particularly interested in their water after a certain point during the day, there’s a good chance it’s getting too dirty too fast for them to enjoy drinking.
We recommend cleaning your goats’ watering sources at least once per day.
However, depending on how large your herd is and how dirty they tend to be, you’ll likely need to clean their water bowls out two or even three times a day to keep them interested in drinking it.
Though this is inconvenient depending on how your goat pen is set up, ensuring the water quality is good will go a long way in encouraging your goats to drink more water.
Provide More Water Sources
Goats don’t just prefer having clean water–they also greatly appreciate having multiple watering holes to choose from!
This is especially true for very large groups of goats, as they don’t tend to enjoy having to crowd around a tiny, singular bucket of water just to get a drink.
Though they are highly social animals, they also value their privacy from time to time too, especially older adult goats when they’re eating and drinking.
If you only have one large bucket of water for your goats to drink from, consider splitting this up into several smaller buckets throughout your yard for them to choose from.
This will keep the water sources cleaner since there will be less traffic, and your goats won’t have to compete with one another every time they’re a bit thirsty.
The more water sources for your goat herd, the better.
Add Some Molasses To Their Water
Many goats greatly prefer flavored water to plain water as we touched on earlier.
While apple cider vinegar is a great option, molasses is possibly even better!
It’s naturally sweet yet not unhealthy for goats in small amounts, and it packs a flavorful punch to make their water a lot more tasty and interesting.
Also, just like plain old salt licks, molasses encourages goats to drink more by naturally making them more thirsty.
It contains a fair bit of sodium despite its overall sweetness, so not only will your goats be automatically inclined to drink more, but they’ll also really enjoy drinking the sweetened water.
For best results, add about a tablespoon of molasses to every gallon of water.
This will slightly flavor the water without making it a goopy, hard-to-clean mess.
Turn On The Sprinkler In The Spring And Summer
Goats are naturally incredibly social, surprisingly intelligent, and playful animals!
Providing them with plenty of stuff to climb on, play with, and explore for enrichment is always a good idea, and it’s even better when you’re able to combine enrichment with some extra hydration.
If you have a sprinkler system or even a sprinkler attachment for your water hose, turn it on for a few hours a day in the summer.
Your goats will not only have a blast playing in the jets of water, but it’ll also keep the surrounding grass and plants wet.
When your goats graze on the surrounding flora as they normally would, they’ll get a bit of extra water thanks to the sprinkler.
The cool sprinkler water will also keep their body temperature from getting too high in the summer, especially if you live in an area with consistently hot weather.
Offer Lots Of Moisture-Rich Snacks
What kind of snacks are you giving your goats?
Are you offering them any treats?
If not, it’s always a good idea to look into offering them healthy treats to boost their hydration and promote their overall health.
Goats aren’t very picky, and they’re able to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables, many of which they love.
For example, leafy greens like kale and spinach have plenty of moisture and fruits like watermelon, grapes, and peaches!
Either offer them right along with their normal food or hand out treats at a certain time each day.
Offering them a varied range of healthy, moisture-rich snacks will keep your goats happy and hydrated!
Of course, with any snacks you feed your goats, always be sure to remove any large seeds or pits, like with grapes or peaches.
It’s fine to leave the skins for most fruits, aside from things like bananas or oranges with very thick (and not very tasty) peels.
While citrus fruits are to be avoided for most animals, they are safe for goats!
Oranges and grapefruit are common treats, and some more adventurous goats will even eat more bitter fruits like lemons and limes.
Keep The Area Around Your Goats’ Water Sources Clean
Goats are surprisingly clean animals, and as we briefly mentioned above, they will often outright refuse to drink water if it’s too dirty for their liking.
In addition to this, they won’t enjoy drinking water in a dirty environment, either, even if the water itself is fairly clean!
Keeping the areas where your goats frequently eat, drink, and sleep clean is essential to their happiness and their health.
Replace dirty bedding with clean, dry bedding regularly.
This cuts down on parasites and nasty bacteria, which will make them sick.
Get in the habit of cleaning your goats’ water sources and the area around them.
Check for feces and other unpleasant messes in the immediate area and keep clutter minimum.
Offer Fresh Fruit Alongside Their Water
If fresh, clean water alone isn’t enough to entice your goats to stay hydrated, then perhaps offering them snacks along with their water will help!
Consider tossing a few grapes into their water buckets or some watermelon slices next to them.
These fruits have lots of moisture in them naturally, which will help keep your goats hydrated even if they don’t start drinking more water right away.
In addition to the fruits we mentioned earlier, here are some other great choices:
- Small berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries