Water is an essential nutrient for all animals and is sometimes overlooked. While goats require less water than cattle, they do need water and require additional supplies when lactating or coping with hot weather. A 110-pound goat will require 1 to 3 gallons of water per day, depending upon diet, intake, and weather — toward the lower range in winter and the upper range in the hottest days of summer. A lactating goat will require an additional 1 quart of water for every 1 pint of milk produced. If a goat is producing 5 pints of milk at peak lactation while raising twins, 2.5 gallons of water are required each day. If goats are eating green material, a substantial part of their water requirement can be met by water contained in the plant material. However, if dry feed such as hay is consumed, water must be supplied to meet the requirement.
Water should be kept clean to encourage intake. This usually involves regular cleaning of the waterer. It is important that the area around the waterer not be muddy as this environment can spread foot rot and internal parasites. Placing some rock or gravel around the waterer can help keep feet dry and reduce disease problems. Water cleanliness is especially important for bucks on high-grain diets. Their water needs to be shaded in summer and warm in the winter to encourage intake and reduce the risk of urinary calculi.
Reference: Hart, S. 2008. Meat Goat Nutrition. Pages 58-83 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.