Rick Rasby, animal science professor at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, shares that with show season, he sometimes gets asked why show cattle will stop drinking water – even when it is hot and there’s plenty available.

Rasby says there are a couple factors to investigate.

First, do the calves have “free-choice” salt available? If not, get a salt block and allow them access to the block at all times.

Second, are the calves watering out of a tank that has electricity as part of its set-up? There may be stray voltage in or around the water source.

Third, does the water have an odor and does it look fresh and clean? If not, consider a different water source until this can be fixed.

Calves will have reduced intake when water consumption is reduced. Also, in the summertime when the weather is usually hot, water intake is important for livestock as part of their cooling mechanism, Rasby emphasizes.