Going into Goats: A practical guide to producing goats in the rangelands

Water and watering facilities

What to do

Access to sufficient quantities of high quality water in a goat production environment is critical to goat health, managing grazing pressure and controlling livestock movement. The management of watering points in a trapping enterprise is particularly important.

Goats will tend to centre their range around reliable water, particularly where water is scarce and bucks have been removed from the herd. Such watering points become an important consideration in monitoring gazing pressure and managing livestock numbers.

Once goats are confined it is important to provide them with easily accessible, good quality water at all times.

How to do it

In a trapping enterprise, non-critical watering points should be fenced-off to force goats to enter traps. This must be done in consideration of other animals that may be relying on the water.

Grazing pressure should be monitored around the fenced watering points. This is best done by identifying key plant species which are grazed at different times depending on the amount of feed available. The more palatable species are the first to be grazed with less palatable species only grazed when other plants are in scarce supply. By monitoring the less palatable plants as you move away from the watering point, you will develop a feel for how much feed is available and when it is time to reduce or increase stocking rates.

In providing water to goats in confinement it is important to position the watering point where goats will locate it easily. Troughs are best positioned near the fence in a goat paddock so that when goats are moving around the fence, as they tend to do in seeking exits and establishing their range, they will naturally come across the trough.

Water should be provided to goats when they are yarded although it is advisable to limit access to water immediately prior to trucking as goats that have drunk their fill do not tend to travel well.

Module 4: Infrastructure of the GiG Guide provides further information about water supply for goats.