The shelters in the zootechnical units, regardless of their size, are designed and built so as to meet all hygienic requirements. Possible deficiencies in the design stage, subsequent use of unsuitable materials, other than those included in the project, poor quality execution are causes that can lead to the construction of unsuitable shelters.
The veterinarian-associate has the task of collaborating with the designer to know the component parts of the shelter, including the waterers, indispensable for raising cattle. Watering directly and considerably influences the production of cows, which can be increased by using automatic waterers and good quality water. The abundant supply of quality drinking water is crucial; high performance cows consume up to 100 liters of water in 24 hours. However, all animals must have access to appropriate amounts of drinking water or meet their needs from other drinking sources. Watering equipment must be designed, constructed and located so as to minimize water contamination and the harmful effects of the infestation.
Theory does not go hand in hand with practice, in the recommendations and conditions for installing bovine watering sources, regardless of the breeding system (intensive, semi-intensive, free, ecological housing); contamination of water from waterers with manure, urine or feed debris cannot be avoided. That is why it is necessary to clean the watering devices regularly. It is recommended that these devices be designed so that as little dirt as possible can be deposited, making it easier to clean them.
The main water supply pipe is indicated to be built like a circuit system, with a constant pressure, thus stimulating water recirculation and avoiding frost, during cold periods. Short secondary pipes are connected to the main pipe, which – in turn – are ready to receive the (collective) flap adapters. It is the way in which fresh water can be permanently ensured; communication between collective waterers is not recommended, as dirty water is transported from one device to another.
The designer, builder and manager of the shelter take into account that the cattle must have the possibility of watering, including in case the water supply system fails. Also, the possibility of water discharge from the collective waterers in the main installation must be eliminated. It is recommended to use water meters and filters (to remove impurities) in the main pipes in each sector of the farm. The water meter allows the administrator-farmer to permanently record the water consumption, thus facilitating the immediate detection of a loss in flow. The registration of the daily consumption and the evaluation of the periodic one are obligatory current operations.
In order to ensure the maximization of milk production, it is recommended to supply water with a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, both in summer and in winter. The water temperature influences the water consumption, feed consumption and milk production of each cow. The specialized works emphasize the negative effect of water with a temperature that is too low or too high. Any water supply system for cows must be resistant to frost or sudden weather. The main pipe can be protected by mounting an electrical conductor, attached to the recirculation socket.