The function of water for animals – Water is certainly not a foreign element in our lives. Every day, we find water when bathing to drink. On the other hand, other living things such as animals and plants will generally need water in their life. Plants use water to obtain raw materials for energy, while animals use water in much the same way as we do.
As humans, we need water to drink and even make food.
To clean up even our homes and workplaces. At school, students on picket duty will clean the classroom floor with water and a mop. In public places, janitors also use water for various needs.
Water has become the single most important nutrient in life. In the body, water is a nutrient that is present in the highest concentration, which is of course very crucial to sustain optimal life and productivity.
This one element is also the cheapest nutrition. Therefore, all domestic species should have access to a quality water supply, right?
Functions of Water for Animals
- Plays a role in digestion (hydrolysis of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates)
- Serves to absorb digested nutrients
- Helps in the transportation of metabolites in the body
- Important for the excretion process
- Regulates body temperature which depends in part on the highly conductive properties of water to distribute heat within the body. Also by evaporation the release of excess water through metabolic reactions in cells.
There is a direct relationship in the balance between the amount of water and the amount of feed consumed by an animal, including livestock, and its weight gain. Poor water intake can lead to poor feed intake, so that the overall growth of an animal species is poor.
The Function of Water for Livestock
Animal nutrition is one of the most important factors in livestock farming. This is because the level of nutrition an animal contains will determine whether they are able to reach their genetic potential. One of the factors that most influences feed intake is the amount of good quality clean water accessible to livestock.
It is essential for the survival, growth, and reproduction of all animals. Water also contributes about 60 to 70 percent of the live weight of an adult animal, and about 80 percent of the live weight of a newborn.
Indeed, water can be produced in the body through metabolic reactions, but most of the water an animal receives is through its feed, or drinks it directly from the container. Water is also constantly lost in the form of saliva, sweat, urine and feces, as well as through the air from the lungs in the process of breathing.
How Much Water do Animals Need?
The amount of water an animal needs will depend on its physiological stage, activity, age, growth rate, respiration rate, environment, type of feed, and feed intake. Pregnant or lactating animals, for example, will need more water than normal animals. This is because these animals are constantly producing milk, which is about 85 percent water.
Animals that graze on pastures with a high water content do not need as much additional water as animals that are fed a diet containing only 10 percent water. Here’s an example:
- Cattle: For temperatures above 35°C, cows should be given 8 to 15 liters of water per kg of dry food they consume.
- Sheep: Adult sheep will need between 3 and 4 liters of water per day during the dry season months, and at least 2 liters of water per day during the wet or winter season.
Water Sources For Livestock
Life cannot be maintained without water, Sinaumed’s. Here are five sources of water for livestock:
- Drinking water
- Water contained in/on feed
- Metabolic water is produced by metabolic processes in tissues, especially by the oxidation of nutrients.
What Animals Depend on Water?
If we think that the animals that depend most on water for consumption are aquatic animals, that’s wrong, Sinaumed’s. This is because the animal that needs the most water and needs water for its health is the cow, which is one of the mammals!
A cow whose milk is mostly used in industrial feedlots can consume up to 100 gallons of water during the dry season months, and that number increases. It is estimated that 55 percent of the fresh water supply in the United States is used for food purposes in animal rearing.
Every day, people around the world drink about 5.2 billion gallons of water. Meanwhile, cows drink roughly eight and a half times that amount a day, aka 45 billion gallons, Sinaumed’s!
Strong Animals Live Without Water
In the driest places on Earth, hydration is hard to come by and easy to lose, so animals are vulnerable to dehydration. Every moist breath exhaled, every drop of sweat, and every bladder emptied means wasted moisture and greater risk of death.
However, some animals managed to survive in these places. They will hardly protest if they don’t get any water at all, thanks to clever adaptations that keep them extremely frugal and still hydrated.
What animals are they? Let’s talk!
1. Land Turtles
In the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, several species of turtles survive on their urine. During lots, their bladder swells to hold about 16 ounces of urine. This is an impressive number for a reptile that is only about 12 inches long.
These tortoises can later reabsorb water from their urine to survive a year or more without drinking.
2. Kangaroo Rat
The kangaroo rat never has to drink water, it only gets it from the grains it eats. To survive in the dry climate of the American West, their kidneys produce highly concentrated urine and they don’t pant or sweat.
Some species can even lower their metabolic rate so they lose less moisture through breathing.
3. Thorny Lizard
The Australian spiny skink is more than just a master at warding off predators. The skin and spines of this lizard also function as an absorbent that sucks dew from the cool night air, rain, standing water, and other moisture that can dry out its little paws.
Thin grooves in the skin also help trap water, which then directs it to the lizard’s mouth to drink. Amazing, right?
4. Water Storage Frog or Litoria Platycephala
During hot and dry summers, this Australian frog secretes a waterproof slime cocoon that keeps moisture out of its body. Meanwhile, it hibernates underground and waits for another rainy season. In this condition, they can survive for two years or more on the fluid stored in their bladders.
5. I wish
Sinaumed’s certainly knows that camels are animals that are famous for their ability to store food reserves in their humps. Actually, camels don’t store water in their humps, like food. Therefore, they must still save water.
At night, after the cold Saharan air cools the camel’s nostrils, the mist in its breath condenses in its nose and it gets reabsorbed. The camel’s extra-tortuous nasal passages retain up to 60 percent of the moisture that is lost during the breathing process.
6. Arabian Sand Gazelle or Arabian Sand Gazelle
Sand deer in the scorching Arabian Desert have developed a strange ability to shrink organs that need oxygen when drought hits. They streamlined the heart and liver by 20 and 45 percent respectively, which allowed them to breathe less. Taking fewer breaths means less water is lost through respiratory evaporation, Sinaumed’s.
Risks when Animals Are Short of Water
Just like other living things, an animal will slowly die if it is deprived of water for too long. In the case of farm animals, the lives of those who depend on them will immediately be threatened if the animals die from dehydration.
Learning from drought in Africa, human death will follow when animals start to die. Very scary, yes.
Even so, animals don’t actually die just from thirst. One consequence of dehydration in animals is a weakened immune system. Moreover, when water is scarce, there will be no more land for animal husbandry. Animals become weak and malnourished because humans cannot help them. If that happened, it would not be surprising if the animals would quickly transmit disease to one another because of the lack of places where water was available, causing them to condense at one point where there was water.
Another effect of water shortages is that livestock produce less milk. This is because animals lack the energy needed to produce them. An important source of human nutrition is thus lost. For toddlers, in particular, vitamin-rich goat or camel milk is essential.
Awareness of the role played by water not only as a life giver, but also as a potential source of germs that cause disease in animals and humans, is critical to identifying health risks. This applies not only to those who care for livestock, but also to the millions of small farmers and small animal breeders in our backyards, and even to us humans in general.
How Sea Animals Drink Water
Isn’t Sinaumed’s confused about the need for water for animals that do live in water, especially salty sea water? Let’s discuss in this sub-chapter!
Salt water and fresh water can be consumed by marine animals. They relied on various adaptations to survive when only salt water was available. Many marine mammals have a special organ called the reniculate kidney , which is a multi-lobed kidney that increases the efficiency of concentrating their urine more than humans do.
These animals can handle the high concentrations of salt in seawater without becoming dehydrated from salt buildup, unlike humans. Even so, experts believe that many of these creatures drink seawater only occasionally. Instead, they get low-salt water from what they eat or manage to produce it themselves.
Let’s use whales as an example. This one animal has a special kidney, but also requires much less water than land mammals. For the most part, whales get their water from small sea creatures such as krill, which make up their main diet.
On the other hand, seabirds also have special organs called salt glands above their eyes. These glands extract excess salt from the bloodstream and expel it through the nostrils.
Water Chemical Structure
Chemically, water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. As we know, water is symbolized as H₂O. The main function of water in living things is to assist in:
- Transport of nutrients
- Temperature setting
There are three sources of water: Consumed by drinking, water in feed ingredients, and water from metabolism. Metabolic water is chemically bound, which is why it is not available before metabolic processes.
Specifically for water contained in feed such as silage, it is not chemically bound to feed, so it is only available to animals when consumed.
For domestic species, there are five main routes for water to escape from their bodies. These routes include:
- skin surface
- Milk (for mammals)
In addition to water availability, it is important to consider water quality. This quality can affect important production factors such as feed consumption and animal health. Examples of the more common water contaminants include: dissolved solids, salts, elements and compounds, microorganisms, and algae and protozoa.
Because water quality changes over time can have a significant effect on productivity, and profitability, it is important to carry out regular water quality tests.
There are several variations in the recommendations for testing frequency, one of the components of water quality that is present to some degree in most water sources is minerals. In addition to the total mineral content, it is important to identify the individual minerals present in the water source.
The mineral content in water also varies. The minerals in water are important because they contribute to the total amount of dietary minerals provided to animals to meet their dietary requirements.
Ensuring Water Intake for Animals
Because of the importance of understanding the chemical structure in water, here’s how to ensure the quality of water supplied for animal consumption.
In general, there are five characteristics to consider when assessing the quality of drinking water:
- Taste and smell
- Presence of heavy metals, minerals, hydrocarbons and more
- There are bacteria
- Hardness, pH, total water dissolved solids
- Presence of excess minerals and compounds such as nitrates, sulfates and iron
It should be noted, if an animal’s feed or water contains large amounts of salt, they may try to compensate independently by consuming excess amounts of water to remove excess minerals.
Water should also be available at an acceptable temperature. Animals, particularly livestock, tend to drink water that is cooler and in the shade than water that is not.
Sinaumed’s, it’s interesting, isn’t it, studying the importance of the element of water in the life of animals? Even though we are humans, it is important to know the necessities of life for other creatures that live side by side with us.