Do we need to offer Water to Calves?


Hello Vets, hope your weekend was good, i am Dr. Kashif Amin and today we will discuss about importance of water for Calves and Why we need to offer water to calves? before staring i must ask what do you already knew about this topic.

Water is an essential and universal nutrient for all animals and humans. Water is a polar molecule and its concentration in body decreases with the passage of time. Calves at the time of birth contain 80-85% water. Dairy animals requires 12% times of water according to there dry matter intake. Calves takes four times more water than dry matter intake.

Water for calves is important

Water for calves is important

Water to Calves

Water is essential for ruminal bacteria, ruminal media cannot survived without water. There are three sources of water for calves.

  1. Drinking water
  2. water in ingredients
  3. Metabolic water

Role of water in development of Rumen:

Rumen is fermentation compartment of ruminant stomach, at the time of birth rumen is upto 10% of total stomach but at mature age it is 60% of total stomach. Do you noticeĀ  milk can bypass rumen and water cannot? because milk have specific protein which play role in bypassing the milk. Water can also bypass rumen if just offered to animal after milk.

Water increases the growth of bacteria inside the rumen of ruminants. Calf starter provides Propionic acid to bacteria, this propionic acid is essential for bacterial population. As population of bacteria increases, butyric acid production by bacteria also increase. This butyric acid develop rumen by developing and thickening of papillae.

Can Concentrate Increase Rumen development?

Yes, because concentrate on fermentation relsease excess of proppionic acids which help in growth of microbial population in rumen.

Can Forages Increase Rumen development?

No, because it contain more acetate on fermentation that is not necessary for growth of bacteria.

Some people or farmers offer hay to calves, is it good? No, it has more acetate. Hay does not play any role in the development of rumen.

How do you get a calf to drink water?
Calves can drink water through bucket or bottle. Calves can take almost 1 gallon water per day according to recent research but it could be upto 2 gallons per 100 pounds weight.
How do you train a calf to bucket?
  1. Mix the normal amount of replacement milk that you feed your calf by feeding and pour it into the bucket.
  2. Let the calf begin to suck your fingers and slowly aim your head towards the bucket.
  3. Help them understand that there is milk in the bucket and that they can drink it by putting their hands in the bucket – you may have to put your hand in the replacement milk.
  4. Leave your fingers in their mouths as they begin to suck milk from the bucket. Gradually remove your fingers and let the calf try to drink alone. If they stop, replace your fingers and help them again.
  5. Do it until the bucket is gone, it may take longer to start. Be patient!
  6. You may need to complete step 4 several times in a few days. They will eventually realize that the milk is in the bucket and is not attached to your fingers.
  7. Do not become impatient, energetic, in a hurry or frustrated. If your calf really does not seem to get it after 2 to 3 days, wait a week and try it again. Most catch very quickly.
  8. Once they have learned to drink from the bucket, simply pour the replacement milk into the bucket and let them drink.
How much times does calves live without water?
Water is very important ingredient for proper functioning of body. No water no life. According to recent reseacrh calves can live upto 48 hours without water. Care should be taken to provide water to calves within 12 hours otherwise more problems will occur.




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