Many producers will retain weaned calves on their farm for some amount of time during the year. While they are there proper water availability can have an important affect on health and growth performance.

"Water must be available in sufficient quantity so cattle have ready access without competition," says Bob Larson, extension veterinarian at the University of Missouri. "Insufficient space for animals to drink, low flow rates, low water capacity, high mineral content or unfamiliar taste can all discourage water consumption to the point that feed intake is reduced."

Adequate trough size and flow rate are both important to ensure a proper water supply. Received calves and yearlings will drink between 6 and 15 gallons of water per day, according to Dr. Larson, depending on calf size and environmental temperature. He recommends that you provide 2 feet of tank perimeter for every 25 head if cattle drink throughout the day. If the entire herd drinks at once, 2 feet of tank perimeter per head is necessary.