Healthy drinking water for healthy animals
Each day, animals ingest a lot of drinking water, which comes from water companies or private sources. However, good spring water or tap water is not a guarantee for good drinking water!
Spring water that was initially suitable as drinking water for cattle may turn unsuitable in the course of time. One of the causes for this is contamination of the drinking water system. Water samples are usually taken at the source. However, the result will only relate to the quality of the source. A lot can go wrong between source or water meter and the ultimate drinking points, like contaminations in pipes, water troughs with floats, storage drums and drinking troughs. Micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, yeasts and algae do particularly well in moist and hot environments. Algae that cause skin, liver and intestinal problems can develop in water with a temperature of 20 °C and higher. It is a well-known fact that the inside of water pipes may be covered with a deposit that will not always disappear, even after the pipes are disinfected.
Furthermore, the quality of surface water and shallow sources (meadow pumps) can fluctuate immensely due to contamination, temperature and precipitation. Algae, sewer overflows, pesticides and contamination with bacteria also threaten the quality of surface water.
Poor water quality leads to a reduced food intake, which in its turn causes less growth and more health issues.
What can you do to improve water quality?
• Clean the water troughs on a regular basis.
• Animals prefer to drink from open systems, but make sure that no fertiliser can end up in the water troughs.
• Clean pipes by rinsing them thoroughly. Decontamination is often not immediately necessary. When cleaning does not help, you will have to disinfect the pipes.
• Sometimes, additional measures, such as installing filter systems may help. This can be effective, especially when the water contains too much iron.
• Bacteria will grow quicker in water that is too warm. However, water that is too cold (colder than 5 degrees Celsius) may lead to a temporarily reduced resistance in the gut.