Farms and ranches present opportunities for enjoyment by people, livestock, and wildlife. Livestock can be for a traditional farm business (e.g., cattle, goats, fish, etc.). This can be part of Texas Ag 1-d. Livestock can animals (e.g., deer, birds, fish) which are intended for enjoyment or sport. This can be part of Texas Ag 1-d-1 (wildlife/open space. Chick here for some information on 1-d-and 1-d-1.
Cattle Support for water. Cattle (or large animals such as horses) require large amounts of water each day especially when it is hot or a cow with a calf. The two main approaches for water are ponds (called "tanks" in Texas and elsewhere) and stock tanks. Stock tanks are typically metal but can be concrete or plastic. They are fed by a water source (e.g., well) with level control system (e.g., hose and float). Issue with use of ponds/tanks for cattle/large livestock.Cattle and animal health. When cattle go into the pond for water their waste products degrade the quality of the water quality for cattle and other animals (including wildlife) using the pond which is be detrimental to their health. Cattle with heavy weight and relatively small hoofs) can also get stuck in the pond's muddy banks or bottom and struggle or die. People Health. People swimming or doing recreational activities in a pond with excessively contaminated water is unhealthy. Degradation of pond. Cattle typically weigh between 1500 and 2000 pounds an heave relatively small hoofs which create large ground pressure. This can degrade the pond banks and bottom. One effect can be penetration of a clay tank bottom leading to water loss.
Recommendation for cattle and ponds/tanks
1. Install and maintain stock tanks (e.g., metal) as the source for water for cattle and other large livestock. Cattle quickly learn to use these stock tanks. For example, at our "Kovar Ranch", the cattle (when present) use this water exclusively. An example of a 390 stock tank is Tractor Supply SKU 217713899 for $270. Tractor Supply and other sources provide materials such as automatic float valves. 2. Use fence to keep cattle out of the pond. Cattle quickly learn to avoid an area which is fenced off. The simplest approach (especially for a fence which may be relocated or removed) is an electric fence with charger, wire, and posts (e.g., a combination of T posts with insulators and plastic posts). Traditional barbed wire and T posts can be use for a permanent fence. 3. Do measures such as aeration and algae control for water quality.