Veterinary Handbook Disease Finder

Veterinary Handbook Contents

6.6 Interventions And Prevention Of Watering Problems

Regular systematic checks of the water delivery system should be routine to ensure problems are detected and fixed quickly. If problems occur during a period of heat stress the consequences may be serious. 

There should also be regular and systematic checks ensuring animals have access to water troughs or drinker bowls. Trough heights and positions, and numbers and types of animals per pen may need adjusting. Widen pen rails if necessary for horned animals and lower troughs for smaller animals. 

If electrolytes are added to the ship’s bulk water storage tanks, header tanks or directly to troughs, the calculations of amounts should be double-checked and the volumes measured out carefully. If there is a problem with water delivery systems, feed troughs may be emptied and manually refilled with water while maintenance or repairs are carried out. If spare feed troughs are stored on board, these may be used as water troughs if necessary. In a heat stress emergency, watering rather than feeding is the top priority. Animals can go for many days without feeding if necessary but cannot go without water for more than a few hours under conditions of heat stress. 

Note that it is very important not to empty fouled water from troughs in the pens or onto the decks near pens. It is just as important that water does not leak from troughs, fittings or pipes. Wet flooring may increase humidity and ammonia, make floors slippery and soften the horn of hooves making them more susceptible to wear. The slurry, if it covers the hair coats of animals when they lie down, may scald the skin and reduce loss of body heat. The water should be carried away from the pens in buckets or wheelbarrows and emptied into drains or directly overboard.