How to Maintain a Livestock Watering System

 Min read
January 19, 2023

Hog farmer Harrold currently has a livestock watering system, but has had many problems with its functionality and has found himself consistently needing to purchase replacement parts. He has decided at this point to just build out a new system and wants to do everything possible to help lengthen its lifespan, but he isn’t sure where to start. We'll take a moment to explore what a livestock watering system is and how Vu-Flow can assist you in getting the most out of one.

Simply put, a livestock watering system is a way to efficiently provide animals with the hydration that they require. A publication posted on, mentions the advantages a watering system offers, including increased livestock productivity, improved nutrient distribution, and protection of stream and pond water quality. Ultimately, if water is available in each paddock, livestock will eat more feed because they will not be resting in water or traveling to and from their water sources. The more feed an animal consumes, the more their weight will increase and it could also result in greater milk production.

When it comes to watering systems, there are several different types. These include quick-move systems, pasture pumps, ram pumps, sling pumps, and solar pumps. While they all are designed to move water to where it needs to go, each system is unique in its own way. offers great descriptions of each type.

A quick-move system is designed to provide water to animals from a powered or pressurized water source. The water sources used in quick-move systems include water from drilled or dug wells, lakes, streams or other sources. In certain situations, the water from these sources can be gravity-fed to individual paddocks. A quick-move system consists of a few components. These include plastic tubing, quick-disconnect couplings, watering troughs, and a float valve to govern water refill into the tub. A lot of people will install quick-move watering systems in conjunction with another device such as a ram pump. With this setup, the ram pump would pump water to the highest place on the landscape to be stored in a water-holding tank. Water is then fed by gravity to each paddock.

A cow drinking in a green pasture drinking from a pasture pump
Pasture Pump

Pasture pumps are powered by animals and provide water to larger livestock. The operation of this pump is based on an animal pushing a lever with its nose, which results in water pumping from the source to a bowl beneath the lever. With this system, one pump is required for about every 30 animals. These pumps take water from ponds, streams, dug wells, or other water sources.

A ram pump is another type of system. The key to using these is that there must be a drop in elevation to create the energy to drive the pump. This elevation drop can be created by a small waterfall or even an elevated pond. For every one-foot drop in elevation, a ram pump can pump water upwards of 10 feet. This system makes it possible to deliver water to the highest point on the landscape and then that water can be gravity fed into each paddock using something like a quick-move system.

A fourth type of watering system involves a sling pump, which requires flowing water for power. A sling pump is cone-shaped and is attached to the bottom of a stream. Stream current ends up spinning propellers, which drive water through plastic pipes to a point that is accessible to livestock. With these systems, there are limits to how high and how far water can be pumped.

Solar pumps are yet another type of watering system. These of course work with photovoltaic cells that capture light energy and transfer that energy to a pump. With this, water can be pushed great distances and to great heights. Solar pumps can also work in conjunction with quick-move systems.

Solar Pump

Regardless of the type of watering system you choose to install for your livestock, it’s important to consider the actual water that will be running through that system, both for the health of the animals drinking it, as well as for the long-term health of the actual watering system itself. Depending on the exact water source you’re pulling from, the likelihood of that water being completely clean isn’t very good. At the very least, there is probably going to be some type of sediment in that water that you’ll want to remove from it.

Aside from just protecting the health of your livestock, removing sediment can add to the longevity of your watering system as well. By allowing sediment to run through your system, unnecessary wear and tear will occur over time to the different aspects of that system, which can lead to you needing to spend money on replacement parts. Based on that article from, the costs for the different watering systems can range upwards of $800 all the way to even $5,000.

One way to avoid sediment damage to your livestock watering system is to install a sediment filter from Vu-Flow. These filters are very simplistic as far as functionality goes, and are offered with a variety of options to ensure there is something that will work for your exact situation. Specifically, there are a lot of different mesh sizes available to choose from depending on the type of sediment you’re dealing with. By purchasing a Vu-Flow filter to tie into your livestock watering system when installing one, you can eliminate the worry that you’ll need to pay unnecessary maintenance costs for replacement parts when damage occurs as a result of sediment.

If you’re looking to install a livestock watering system on your farm, consider adding a Vu-Flow filter as well to help avoid needing to pay for unnecessary maintenance costs down the road. Give us a call at 1-800-833-5171 where a live customer service representative can talk to you about the different options available, and help you figure out the best water filter for your situation.

Source Notes: All information in this article relating to the advantages of livestock watering systems, the different types, and their costs came from