How To Choose The Ideal Livestock Water Trough

How To Choose The Ideal Livestock Water Trough
When raising livestock, it’s quite possible that taking time to look for an ideal water trough isn’t a priority. But the fact that choosing the right water trough is beneficial for you and your animals. If you fail to do it right from the beginning, it may end up costing you more money by paying unnecessary repair or replacement expenses.

Besides, if the troughs aren’t easy to clean, your livestock might end up sick, adding to the expenses and reducing their productivity. Ideal troughs should be practical, easy to maintain, and durable so that you can save maintenance costs, increase their productivity, and therefore, gaining profits.

So, how do you know which water tough is ideal for you? Here are a few tips for choosing water troughs.

Water Supply And Area Regulations

First, you should think about how the water will get into the trough with ease and when needed. There’s also the need to consider the weather conditions in your area to ensure that the trough serves its purpose at all times. You could have a trough that can’t freeze in winter but pipes and water that can freeze.

In addition, ensure to check the farm regulations you may need to follow to avoid being fined. Most places require you to create an air gap to prevent backflow that may cause water contamination. There are also requirements for ensuring that livestock water in storage tanks is safe.

The Shape That Fits Your Needs

Some shapes, such as square and rectangular troughs, tend to need an external frame to prevent them from bowing outward. But the round or cylindrical-shaped troughs don’t have that kind of issue as their structure is self-supporting. You can find the different shapes of troughs here.

For the troughs that may need supporting structures, ensure to have them in place before filling them with water. It can be quite difficult to remedy bowing once it happens.

Type Of Material

When choosing a trough, the material it was made of and its durability should be your top priority. Therefore, getting the right material is crucial when making your ideal choice. These are the common materials used:

  • Plastic: This is by far the most eco-friendly material because it can be recycled or reused. Plastic can also be made from ultraviolet (UV) resistant material to keep it from getting brittle when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. However, they’re vulnerable to breaks and cracks from impact or abuse.
  • Fiberglass: Although they’re light and easy to install, they’re the most vulnerable to damage if mishandled or abused by the animals. They also need to have a special food-grade quality coating to keep them safe for use by your livestock.
  • Concrete: These are the most durable type of troughs, but you can’t move them for cleaning or maintenance. So if you want a trough that you can move, this choice might not be ideal, if not, they can give you good service for a long time.
  • Metal: They’re quite durable and aren’t likely to crack, but they’re prone to leakages and plumbing issues such as misaligned pipes. The plastic liner inside the troughs can also break, making water dangerous for your animals.

How To Choose The Ideal Livestock Water Trough

Trough Size

It can be quite a challenge to know what size of the trough you need for your animals. But depending on the size of your farm, animals will behave differently at the water point. When herding in a small area, animals tend to drink individually, and so you can place smaller troughs. When they have to move further to access water, they’re likely to move as a herd. You’ll then require a longer trough to avoid congestion and pushing, destroying the troughs.

You’ll need to consider the current size of your herd and the area where the livestock is, and your plans to increase capacity in the future. This will eliminate the need for new arrangements as the number of your herds and livestock grow.

Also, if you need to move the troughs about, you’ll need to have them in manageable sizes, unless they’re made from concrete which you can’t move.

Livestock Safety

For the safety of your animals, there are two main safety concerns you should consider when choosing an ideal water trough. These are water safety and the safety of the trough material. For the materials, fiberglass is susceptible to breaks and cracks, leaving sharp edges that can cause injuries to livestock. They also crack when exposed to a sudden drop in temperatures to a freezing point. On this front, plastic and concrete troughs are the better choices.

In water purity, copper pipes and metal troughs can leach copper and zinc into the water, making water hazardous for your livestock. Concrete troughs can also leach lime, removing water acidity. If you’re already using copper pipes, you can use a water filter to remove the harmful chemicals before the water gets to the toughs.

Since plastic can be made using food-grade material, it’s the safest to use.


Choosing the ideal water trough for your animal isn’t easy since there are many factors to consider. Look at your specific needs and circumstances, including your budget, water supply, area weather, livestock size, and future growth plans. Also, always follow the regulations set by your local authority to avoid legal trouble.

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Sunil Chandel

Sunil has been blogging about autos, consumer gadgets and home improvement ideas from a couple of years. When he is not writing, you can find him riding his royal enfield motorcycle, listening to music and showing off his football skills