Catchment Sensitive Farming: Practical Tips

Practical Tip: Livestock drinking bays

Livestock drinking bays consist of an access ramp excavated into a bankside with a 3-sided perimeter fence preferably constructed of post and rail fencing. The size of the drinking bays will be dictated by the type and number of livestock that need access to drinking water. The in-stream width of water should be sufficient to provide drinking access but prevent animals from standing in the watercourse.

Access ramp construction

  • The access ramp to the stream should slope down to the waters edge gently so as to permit easy livestock access to drinking water.
  • To construct an access ramp, soil should be excavated to a depth of not less than 150 mm or to a depth below this to a naturally occurring hard surface. This will vary according to the type of ground.
  • The excavated soil should be profiled in the immediate area.
  • A hardened surface to a minimum depth of 150 mm consisting of hardcore, scalpings or locally produced shale that has been compacted should prove sufficiently robust to withstand regular livestock movements, prevent poaching and reduce the amount of sediment from entering the stream at the livestock drinking bay.
  • Alternatively BS 8500 concrete (complementary to BS EN206-1 Concrete: Specification, performance, production & conformity) could be used to produce the hard surface. At the water’s edge, some form of bunding e.g. 100 mm by 50 mm tanalised timber must be in place to prevent the gradual "creep" of hardcore/scalpings into the watercourse.

If you are able to construct a livestock drinking bay, see also some practical tips for the associated fencing.


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