ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 62 Number 1
Voluntary water consumption of West African Shorthorn heifers at pasture under humid tropical conditions in Ghana
The voluntary water consumption of West African Shorthorn heifers at pasture was measured during the wet and dry seasons. Mean daily intake of drinking water per head during two years (1976 and 1977) was 9.1 ± 2.1 litres (36.0 ± 12.0 ml kg-1) in the wet season and 14.4 ± 3.6 litres (88.0 ± 20 ml kg-1) in the dry season. The difference between seasons was significant (P < 0.001). Mean water turnover per day was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in the wet season than in the dry season. Drinking accounted for 43 and 93% of the daily body-water turnover in the wet and dry seasons, respectively. Seasonal changes in water consumption were attributed to rainfall and dry-matter percentage of herbage consumed. It is recommended that the minimum amount of water to be supplied to cattle (non-pregnant, non-lactating) in the dry season may be calculated on the basis of 100 ml kg-1; and in the wet season 60 ml kg-1, under conditions like those in Ghana.
Keywords: Cattle; West African Shorthorn; Heifers; Water consumption; Ghana