Successfully feeding water
Monday, April 02, 2012
Posted by: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association
DCHA member, Sandy Quinn, provided this Tip of the Week.
With temperatures at Sandy Quinn's Sunset View Farm, a custom calf raising facility in Schaghticoke, N.Y., ranging from 110 degrees F to -40 degrees F, she shares why successfully feeding water is important to calves and heifers; how to properly supply the water; and how to make sure you are feeding clean water.
Successfully feeding water helps:
- Keep animals hydrated
- Rumen development
- •Acceleration of starter grain intake
At each stage of life, the best water feeding methods vary. For wet calves, water should be close to the body/milk temperature, which is around 90-100 degrees F. Wet calves should receive 2 1/2 gallon pails that are filled at least twice a day. In between feedings the pail should be cleaned, sanitized and a dried before refilling. To properly clean the pails, rinse with warm water (110 degrees F) and proceed to wash with hot, chlorinated water (140-160 degrees F). Rinse the pail with an acid solution at the same temperature and let the pail air dry.
Freshly weaned calves (to 10 weeks of age) should be water feeding from 8-gallon "muck buckets" in six-calf superhutches. For these animals, the "muck bucket" should be filled between three and four times a day and the bucket should be cleaned daily. The cleaning process for the muck bucket is simpler and can be completed by washing and scrubbing with warm, chlorinated water.
Older heifers need continuous-flow waterers and they should be sanitized one to three times per week. The best cleaning method is to scrub with chlorinated water.
At any stage of the life, here are some tips to follow:
- During hot weather, refill the water supply around mid-day. Also rinse milk out and refill it after night feeding.
- In freezing weather, do not leave the water supply out overnight and remember to dump at mid-day and refill.
- The best practice for water disposal is to place all water in a common receptacle and haul it away once it is full.
For additional information on water feeding, click here to review DCHA's Gold Standards III, section IV.