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Animals drinking in streams or creeks contribute to erosion, water borne sediments, and
manure contamination of the water. Providing a water supply away from the stream is an
important part of the overall pasture management plan.
Benefits of Stock Watering away
Animal wastes will be kept out of streams and creeks.
Streamside plants can provide habitat and food for desirable fish and wildlife.
- Prevent animal injuries from steep and/or crumbling streamside slopes.
- Protect areas near the water source from becoming infested with undesirable plants due
to overgrazing and trampling.
- Watering location can control where and what forage the animals will consume.
- Animals have access to cleaner water, whether the source is from a
protected stream, well or
Stock Watering Guidelines
- Prevent any activities which may result in the discharge of wastes into
the waters of the state. Wastes include but are not limited to, livestock manures,
composts and fertilizers.
- Pasture near streams should be managed to establish and maintain a well vegetated buffer
extending at least 35 feet back from the normal high water mark for the stream.
- A water right may not be necessary to provide water from a stream to livestock, if
certain conditions are met.
- Proper placement of watering devices can be a valuable part of effective pasture
management. Trough locations can be designed to reduce overgrazing in some areas.
- Prevent overflow from water troughs - The area
near a watering trough is heavily used. Overflow causes mud, mess, runoff contamination,
and possible animal injuries. Use float valves or other controls to prevent overflow. All
troughs need an overflow system and overflows should outlet at least 15 feet from the pad.
All troughs should have at least a 11/2 inch drain plug to aid cleaning. Guard rails may
be needed to keep stock out and keep smaller animals from being pushed in. A ramp on the
inside of the trough will help small wildlife, such as birds and squirrels, escape from
- Instruction hints - protect float valves from
animals and vandalism. The trough should be large enough to allow stock to drink without
shoving. Concrete or rock pads installed around drinking facilities reduce mud, disease,
and erosion problems.
- Check the capacity of the water source - a milk
cow may need as much as 35 gallons of water per day, a beef cow or a horse may need 15
gallons, a sheep or goat may need 5 gallons. Add more if any wildlife will be drinking the
- Locate water troughs - in under used pasture areas to assist in
pasture management. Livestock graze more in areas near available water. Plan water
facilities as part of your rotational grazing and pasture management plan. (See Pasture Management)
- Provide watering areas and shade away from streams - a shaded
water trough at an easily accessible location draws the animals away from loitering in the
stream. Place the water supply in or close to the animals normal path toward the
creek. Other out-of-stream shaded areas allows the stock to move to the coolest spots
during the day.
- Method - water from the stream can be pumped or
gravity fed to the trough. Nose pumps, gravity filled storage tanks, hydraulic rams, solar
pumps, or in-stream propeller pumps, can be used to provide water in areas without
- Allow animal access to only small stream stretches - Where
out of stream watering systems are not feasible, fences can be used to limit access.
Fenced openings guide animals to a water gap to drink from the creek. High rainfall and
flooding may require regular maintenance and repairs on the water gaps and fence.
- Communicating for Agriculture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of
America's farmers and ranchers. They can be contacted at: http://www.cainc.org
This page was last updated on
November 15, 2002