Waterers and Watering Systems: A Handbook for Livestock Producers and Landowners
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiement Station and Cooperative Extension Service , 2006

Blocksome, C.E., Powell, G.M.

Livestock tend to concentrate around water sources. This activity can lead to reduced vegetative cover and increased manure concentration in and around water sources. The water source can become polluted with sediment, nutrients, and fecal coliform and streptococcus bacteria, leading to impaired water quality. Livestock may respond to fecal contamination of water quality by reducing water intake6. This may affect production through reduced feed intake. Livestock distribution can be altered by manipulating livestock attractants. Water is the strongest attractant, both for drinking and loafing. Other attractants are mineral and salt feeders, oilers and scratching posts, gates, shade, wind protection (winter), breezy heights (summer), feeding areas, patches of highly palatable forage and cattle in adjacent pastures. Removing or adding attractants or redistributing them can alter cattle drinking and loafing behavior. The purpose of this handbook is to assist you in choosing a watering system that fits your budget and needs. Some systems will only work in certain situations. They may require specific geological formations (such as springs) or depend on specific elevation differences. While components may be off-the-shelf, the arrangement and installation of a watering system must be adjusted to each site. As you look through this handbook, keep in mind the characteristics of your land and site, the time you have available for management and upkeep, and the size and type of animal you have. These will all factor into your decisions about which option to choose.