By Shelia Grobosky
Water is the most essential nutrient of life. Humans, animals and plants all rely on the water for survival, due to its molecular makeup. Water is vital for bodily functions like nutrient intake, absorption and feed conversion, overall health, waste removal and temperature regulation. Since most show animals are in a confined area during most of their lives – either tied in a stall during the day or penned up – it is the responsibility of the owner/exhibitor to make sure they get the proper amount of water to keep eating and stay healthy.
Not only is water intake important to the overall health and performance of your animal, it is also important to the appearance. A hydrated animal will have a healthier skin and hair coat, healthier hooves, brighter eyes and overall look healthier and more show ring ready than an animal that has not had enough water. Here are a few tips to keep your pigs hydrated this summer.
1. Start at home. Making sure your animals drink at home is imperative to your success on the road. Water and feed intake work synergistically, and if your animals are not drinking, chances are they aren’t eating either. Be sure to provide a clean, fresh water source. If your animals are used to drinking out of a watering system or an automatic tank, make sure the lines and bowls are clean, so the water the animals are accessing is clean and cool.
2. Use a bucket. Teach your animals to drink out of a bucket. This might seem trivial at first, especially if you do have automatic waterers at home. However, you won’t have that luxury on the show road, and you definitely want your animals to drink while traveling. Use the buckets you will use at the show, and fill them with clean fresh water at home, so they get accustomed to drinking from buckets. This is a good way for the animals to learn something new before getting to the show and will eliminate one stressor from their show travels.
3. Keep it clean. No matter what your water source is or if you are at home or on the road, you always want to start with fresh, cool, clean water. If your buckets are dirty or your water troughs have debris in them, clean them out and start fresh. If you are using a hose that has been laying outside in the sun all day, make sure you run it first to get all the warm water out before filling your animals’ water. A hot animal doesn’t want to drink hot water. You also might want to consider buying a water purifier and using it on your hydrant at home and taking it with you, as it filters out the chlorine and other harmful elements from the water. These are a good investment, especially since so many fairgrounds have chlorinated “city water” that animals are not used to.
4. Haul your own. If you are going to a one- or two-day show, and have the resources, haul your water from home. Hauling your own water in clean, enclosed plastic jugs leaves little reason for your show stock to go off water while at the show.
You’ve worked hard to get your animals looking, feeling and eating their best. Make sure they keep drinking their best to keep your chances of getting to the winner’s circle at their maximum. Keep them drinking at home and on the road. Learn more at http://www.surechamp.com.
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