Clean Drinking Water Affects Calves
USU Dairy Extension Newsletter
Over the years we have emphasized the importance of maintaining clean drinking water for all animals on the dairy, including calves. Research conducted here at USU by Dr. Randy Wiedmeier shows the importance of this simple process.
Holstein bull calves were put on a study beginning at 2 to 7 days of age, were weaned at 60 days and maintained for another 100 days until marketed. Drinking buckets were emptied and rinsed (not washed with soap and water) either daily, every 7-days or every 14-days until calves were weaned. After that, all animals were treated the same (ration and common pen).
Calves whose drinking water was changed daily gained 9 lbs more by the time they were weaned than those changed every 14-days. Even though this doesn't sound like much, it represents a little over 5% of the total body weight. Calves whose buckets were changed every 7-days weighed about 5 lbs less than those whose water was changed daily. These effects were seen primarily in the calves raised during the summer and winter months.
Young, A.J. 2005. Clean drinking water affects calves USU Dairy Extension Newsletter Vol. 28, No. 5: (Sept. 2005).