Water is the cheapest feed ingredient. Production, growth and the general performance of the goat will be affected if insufficient water is available. Water needs vary with the stage of production, being highest for early lactating does, and during times when the weather is hot and forages are dry. In some instances, when consuming lush and leafy forages during cold weather, or when grazing forages soaked with rain water or a heavy dew, goats can get all the water they need out of the forage. However, water is almost always needed by some members of the herd such as lactating does. Because it is difficult to predict water needs, goats should always have access to sufficient high quality water. Water needs range between ½ to 4 gallons per day, the latter value for high lactating goats. Clear, flowing water from a stream is preferable to stagnant water as the latter may contain excessive levels of blue-green algae, which may be toxic. Nitrate in drinking water should also be of concern because it is becoming the predominant water problem for livestock. Safe levels in drinking water are as follows (in parts per million): less than 100 for nitrate nitrogen, or less than 443 for nitrate ion, or less than 607 for sodium nitrate. Well, city or community water can be delivered by above ground or underground water lines hooked up to float-containing movable water troughs, a water delivery system offering optimum flexibility for control grazing.
Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.