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How To Find the Right Livestock Water Trough For Your Farm

Livestock by a water trough at a farm

Understanding your livestock’s hydration needs is crucial to their health and your farm’s overall productivity. A significant component of meeting these hydration needs is selecting the appropriate water trough. With various options available, it can be challenging to decide which one fits your farm’s specific requirements. This guide will walk you through the different aspects to consider when choosing the right livestock water trough, ensuring your animals stay well-hydrated in a safe and efficient manner.

Understanding Your Livestock’s Needs

When figuring out what kind of water trough to get, it’s important to think about how much water your animals need and how they like to drink. Different animals drink different amounts of water each day, and their drinking habits can also be different. For example, cows might need a bigger trough than sheep because they drink more water. You also need to think about how easy it is for all your animals to reach the water. If you have a mix of big and small animals, you’ll need a trough that works for everyone or multiple of different sizes. This step is all about making sure your animals have enough water every day in a way that’s easy for them to use.

The Different Types of Water Troughs & Materials

Water troughs come in various materials and types, each with its own benefits. One of the most popular material choices among farmers is plastic due to its lightweight, durability, and ease of cleaning. Unlike metal troughs, plastic ones do not rust or corrode, making them safer for your livestock’s water supply. They also tend to be more affordable and easier to move or adjust, which is great for adapting to your farm’s changing needs.

As for the types of water troughs, there are several to choose from depending on your livestock’s needs and your farm’s layout. Here are some common types:

  • Stock Tanks: These are large containers used to hold water for livestock, available in plastic, metal, and sometimes concrete.
  • Electric Water Troughs: These include a heating element to prevent water from freezing in cold weather, ensuring your animals have access to water year-round.
  • Energy-Free Water Troughs: These troughs utilize insulation and sunlight’s natural heat to keep water from freezing without the use of electricity.
  • Tip Tanks: Designed with a mechanism to tip and empty the tank for easy cleaning, typically used in smaller setups.

Features to Consider

Some key features that might influence your decision include:

  • Automatic Refill Systems: These ensure a constant supply of fresh water is available without manual intervention.
  • Insulation: Particularly important in harsh climates, insulation helps maintain water at a drinkable temperature year-round.
  • Portability: If you rotate pastures or need to move water sources frequently, the ease of transport is crucial.
  • Ease of Cleaning: To minimize disease spread, choose troughs that are simple to drain and clean.
  • Mounting Options: Consider the layout of your farm and how you prefer to mount or secure the water trough. Some can be mounted on a wall, while others are designed for ground-level use.

Additionally, consider designs that discourage algae growth and can stand up to adverse weather conditions, ensuring a longer lifespan for the trough.

Size and Capacity

Choosing the right size and capacity for your water trough is important. You want to make sure there’s enough water for all your animals, but not so much that it gets dirty or wasted. Think about how many animals will be drinking from the trough at the same time and how often you can fill it up. A good rule is to have a trough that can hold at least one day’s worth of water for your animals. This means if you have a lot of animals, you might need a bigger trough, more than one trough or one that has an automatic refill system. This way, all your animals can get enough water every day, and you won’t have to fill the trough too many times.

Maintenance and Hygiene

Maintaining a clean water source is vital for your animals’ health, so choose a water trough that’s easy to clean and maintain. Look for troughs with simple designs that don’t have hard-to-reach spots where dirt and bacteria can hide. Some troughs come with features like drain plugs at the bottom or are easy to tip, making it easier to empty and rinse out any buildup without too much hassle. Regular cleaning is important to stop germs from spreading and to keep the water fresh. A trough that’s easy to clean will save you time and effort, keeping your animals healthy and hydrated with less work.

Spotlight on SPI Plastics’ Livestock Waterers

For those looking for a durable, low-maintenance solution, SPI Plastics offers a range of polyethylene livestock waterers designed for years of trouble-free operation. Our products are built with safety and efficiency in mind, meeting and exceeding “Grade A” Dairy requirements. The benefits of polyethylene construction include corrosion resistance, easy cleaning, and sustainability, as this material is recyclable and approved for food-grade use.

SPI’s waterers come with insulated bases in the Electric, Energy Free, and XL Series, which help regulate water temperature regardless of the season. The float-operated valve system ensures a consistent water level, refilling the trough automatically from a pressurized line. Designed with rounded corners and a focus on animal welfare, SPI’s waterers protect your livestock from injuries, making them a safe and reliable choice for farmers.


Choosing the right livestock water trough comes down to understanding your herd’s specific needs and the diverse options available. By considering the factors highlighted above, you can select a trough that meets your capacity requirements and promotes the health and welfare of your livestock.

Those interested in high-quality, durable water trough solutions should reach out to SPI Plastics. Our expertise and commitment to quality and safety make us a top choice among farmers. With our range of options and features, we can help you find the perfect water trough for your farm. Keep your animals hydrated and healthy with SPI Plastics’ livestock waterers today!

SPI Plastics Inc.

165 Stoneman Drive, Box 100
(Shouldice Block Road & Joynt Street)
Shallow Lake, ON
N0H 2K0

T   519-935-2211
TF 800-269-6533
F   519-935-2174

Business Hours

Monday - Thursday: 8am to 4:30pm
Friday: 8am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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