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The preference for water nipples vs. water bowls in dairy goats

Author(s): Bøe Knut | Ehrlenbruch Rebecca | Andersen Inger

Journal: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
ISSN 1751-0147

Volume: 53;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 50;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: goat | water dispenser

Abstract Background Previous studies have reported that the design of the water dispensers can influence the water intake in farm animals. Horses and dairy cows seem to prefer to drink from an open surface whereas sheep and pigs apparently prefer water nipples, probably because of the worse water quality in water bowls. The aim of the present study was to examine the preference of dairy goats for water nipples or water bowls. Methods In each of the two experiments (exp. 1, dry goats, exp. 2 lactating goats), 42 dairy goats were allotted into 6 groups of 7 goats. In period 1, the goats had access to a water nipple. In period 2, they had access to a water bowl and in period 3 (preference test) they had access to both a water nipple and a water bowl. Water usage and wastage was recorded and water intake (water usage - water wastage) was calculated for each group for the two last days of each period. In experiment 2, water samples from each dispenser were analyzed for heterotrophy germs at 22°C, Escherichia coli and turbidity. Results Water usage was higher from water nipples than from water bowls both in experiment 1 (dry goats) and experiment 2 (lactating goats). There was however, no difference in water intake from water nipples and water bowls. In the preference test (period 3), the water intake tended to be higher from the water nipple than from the water bowl both for the dry goats (exp. 1) and lactating goats (exp. 2). Especially for the dry goats, the differences between groups were large. Turbidity and heterotrophy germs were much higher in the samples from the water bowls than from the water nipples. Water wastage from the water bowls was negligible compared to the water nipples. From the water nipples the water wastage was 30% and 23% of water usage for the dry and lactating goats respectively. Conclusions We conclude that type of water dispenser (nipple or bowl) was probably of minor importance for water intake in goats, but water bowls had a lower water quality.
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