When I enter the barn in the mornings, I always stop and give attention to the goats that are obviously wanting it. There is something about the eyes of a goat...you have to love one to know what I mean. They speak through their eyes, there is a definite connection. Sometimes I give attention to those that do not want it. Once they trust a human, and learn to like being touched, they seem to be much hardier animals. For those of you that raise goats, you know as well as I do, there will always be more than a few that seem to crave attention! As I made my rounds this morning, and as I held Aleecia's face between my gloved hands, kissing her on top of her head (yes, I kiss goats), I remembered an article that I had read a few weeks back about the water needs of animals. I do not know where that article is at. This is my version.
Water is the number one need in both humans and animals. Animals, particularly livestock, actually need more water in the winter months than they do in the summer months. It is imperative, especially to a goat, to keep the water buckets clean and free of debris. Keeping the buckets in a position where they do not get soiled can be a challenge, but is a must. Contrary to the old popular statement, goats will not eat anything and everything. If their water bucket is not crystal clear, they will not drink water. I truly believe they would die of thirst before drinking from a filthy bucket.
There is conflicting information regarding how much water a goat will actually drink on a daily basis. And who is to say? Water consumption depends upon a lot of variables. I estimate the average needs on a good day right at a gallon a day, per goat. I have to pay close to attention to water consumption because we have tricky water amounts available in this area (the goats come first). It is said that goats require 4 times the amount of water than the dry matter that they eat. By my own calculations, this is closely true (based on the estimated weight of the grain and hay I feed each goat per day). Rule of thumb, provide as much water as they want. I want to add that pregnant goats tend to need a lot more water when later in pregnancy, and this, in itself, makes it even more important to ensure the water buckets are clean, and not frozen.
Now I will touch on human water needs. Our bodies are made up of 60-70% water. This means that we need to take in fluids to keep our internal balance in check. Some say 8-10, 8 ounce, glasses of water a day. Others say it is a matter of math, simply take your body weight and divide it in half to determine the minimum amount of water needed per day. Example: a person that weighs 150 pounds should drink no less than 75 ounces of water per day.
We all need pure water on a daily basis, but some of this can be obtained through drinking decaffeinated drinks, fruit juices, and milk. But, to keep the skin healthy, and to help regulate the organs and body weight, there is nothing better than water!
Many people do not know the symptoms of mild dehydration. Before I list these symptoms, I will never forget the day that I had a terrible headache. I felt lousy! Nothing seemed to help. I tried aspirin, then ibuprofen later in the day, I tried a nap, and the list goes on. Eventually I drank a bottle of water. Within 5 minutes my headache disappeared! Yep, the old light bulb clicked on again. So, with that in mind, the symptoms of mild dehydration are: chronic pain in the joints, muscle pain, constipation, and headaches. If you suffer from these ailments from time to time, or even on a daily basis, you want to take a look at your water consumption. One of the worst culprits leading to these symptoms is the consumption of diet sodas, with artificial sweeteners. That is a whole separate topic...another day!
Before I end this post, I wanted to add that I do not like drinking a lot of water either. Part of my problem is that I do not like the frequent trips to the restroom that seems to follow when we shift over to drinking healthy amounts of water. Let me assure you, the discomfort does not last forever. Over a couple of day's time, your body will adjust to drinking water. You will begin to crave water (your body begins to talk to you), and your trips to the bathroom become much less frequent. Now...I need to get on the ball and make this healthy switch back to water myself, AGAIN!