How much water do farm animals need in this weather?
Key advice from Teagasc on keeping animals during extreme weather condtions
As the current weather conditions continue to hit farms around the country, Teagasc has issued key advice on looking after animals.
Many farmers are dealing with frozen pipes and overcrowding in sheds and while the red alert warning continues many farmers will be days before they are back to normal farming conditions as the snow piles high in places and temperatures remain very low.
According to Teagasc, livestock will survive for a period of time without food but animals will show signs of dehydration if left longer than 24 hours without water.
With cattle in sheds, the provision of feed is generally not a problem as forage and meal is usually stored in the farmyard or nearby. The most vulnerable groups of animals to water shortage are milking cows, animals on high concentrate diets and animals fed hay, straw or other very dry feeds.
Milking cows must have access to drinking water at all times, it says and a cow producing 30 litres of milk and being fed a silage- based diet requires 75-90 litres (16-20 gallons) of water per day.
Finishing animals on high levels of dry feed, such as high concentrate diets have a big demand for water. These animals should always have free access to water. An animal consuming 10kg dry matter of dry feed will need 60 litres (13 gallons) of water daily.
Concentrate feeding levels should be reduced and animals put on wet silage fed to appetite, where an adequate water supply cannot be provided. These animals need to be introduced to meals gradually again once water supply is restored.
Reducing mineral intake may reduce the demand for water, particularly in sheep.