Q&A: Drinking from troughs

  • Q: I own an 11-year-old Welsh Cob who won’t drink from the water trough in his field but he used to drink from the trough at my last yard. In summer, I bring him in at night to keep his weight down, and the first thing he does is take a long drink from his automatic water bowl.

    I have tried cleaning out thetrough and offering a plastic bucket with clean water, without success. He shares the field with three cows and two other geldings, who do use the trough. What can I do?

    Nutritionist Kate Jones replies: The most likely explanation is that there is something about the taste of the water he dislikes.

    As he readily drinks from his automatic water bowl, I would suggest filling the trough, at least in part, with water from that source, rather than from the tap. As water from the trough is drunk, top it up with regular water so he gradually becomes accustomed to the taste.

    If this fails, you could flavour the water sources with something he finds palatable, such as apple juice. This will require the co-operation of the owners of other animals using that trough.

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