12 Best Cow Troughs | Do You Really Need Troughs for Your Cows?

The daily solid food intake of a cow is around 50 pounds, and it drinks water amounting to 30 to 50 gallons every day.

Solid food is placed on a feed bunk while the water is in a trough. These things are essential to make the cows grow healthily.

Do you really need troughs for your cow? Cow troughs are needed when raising cows because they can ensure clean water. You should know that they won’t likely drink less appetizing water. It usually happens among cows that just arrived on the farm. So, their palate needs to adjust to the new water quality.

You have to keep the cattle from contaminated water, or else, their health and performance will deteriorate. If it happens, there will be losses in production.

Upon knowing that cow troughs are essential when raising cows, you have to get one that suits your farm’s needs. You’re on the right page as it’s featured here.

What Do Cow Troughs Look Like? What Are They Used For?

What Do Cow Troughs Look Like

Cow troughs are in different sizes because they can be either used temporarily or permanently to supply water for cows. They are in different forms as some can be rectangular, and there are bowl troughs.

A cow trough can keep water from contamination which is harmful to the cattle. The location of the troughs should not be more than 50 feet away from the cows.

Apart from being a container for cow’s drinking water, a cow trough can also be used as a water treatment that contains sulfate salts or chloride. This is a way to prevent grass tetany among cattle during spring and fall. Water treatment can work with pumps and dispensers.

What to Consider When Buying Cow Troughs?

What to Consider When Buying Cow Troughs

Materials and Safety

Cow troughs can be in different materials such as concrete, metal, fiberglass, plastic, and polyethylene. Fiberglass is the weakest among them, and it can crack easily. If it happens, some sharp edges can hurt your cows.

Although cattle are not fast-moving animals they can push hard with their weight. Different weather can also have effects on the troughs. For instance, freezing weather can create cracks in the trough.

You also have to be concerned about copper and metal as they can discharge zinc into the water, especially when rainwater gets into the trough. Rainwater can increase acidity but if you have a concrete trough, there will be some lime to lower it.

If you pick a plastic trough, make sure that it’s made of food-grade material so no unwanted substance will mix into the water.


Each cow should be given 3 linear inches of water space, so several cattle can stand and drink without interruption. This requirement will help you determine the necessary trough length. 

Best Cow Troughs Review

Rubbermaid Commercial FG424288BLA

This is a stock tank that is undoubtedly suitable as a cow trough. With its 100 gallon capacity, it can meet the needs of your cows. Due to its structural foam and seamless construction, it’s durable, so it’s not easily damaged by weathering or cracking. Cleaning and maintenance are a breeze since there’s a drain plug.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products Stock Tank, 100-Gallons, Structural Foam, Heavy Duty Container, for Livestock/Animal/Cattle Feed & Water, Outdoor Homemade Pool/Hot Tub/Bathtub, & Pet Cleaning/Dog Wash
  • MULTI-PURPOSE: 100-gal stock tank can withstand a variety of...
  • DURABLE: Structural foam resists weathering and crackingand...
  • STRONG CONSTRUCTION: Stepped sidewalls resist bowing and provide...
  • REINFORCED: Ribbed construction adds durability and strength.
  • DIMENSIONS: 53"x31"x26"

32-inch Buhbo Modern Trough Rectangle Planter

There’s a lot of space for a few cows from its 32-inch length. It’s composed of stainless steel grade 304 with a brushed finish for a sleek and modern look. Hence, it’s just right to say that it’s sturdy and sure to last.

Buhbo Modern Trough Rectangle Planter Large 32 inch (8"x 6") Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Durable Stainless Steel Construction: Made from 1.5mm thick...
  • Versatile Planter: Great for growing succulents, grass, and small...
  • Modern Industrial Style: Simple rectangular shape and stainless...
  • Easy Installation: Includes rubber pads for increased stability...
  • Overall Dimensions: 32 inch long, 8 inch wide, and 6 inch high...

Tuff Stuff Products KMT99 HD

Worrying about a broken cow trough is a waste of time if you have a heavy-duty item like this. It has a rubber-like, oval body that showcases sturdiness. The composition of this tank is environmentally friendly because it’s from recycled material. When it comes to capacity, this tank is great as it can hold 140 gallons.

Tuff Stuff Products KMT99 HD Oval Tank, 140-Gallon
  • 140 gallon heavy duty oval tank, tub with 3/4" brass drain plug
  • 100-Percent recycled LDPE flexible plastic which gives...
  • Go Green. Buy Recycled
  • Impact Resistant
  • 140 gallon heavy duty oval tank, tub with 3/4" brass drain plug

High Country Plastics 40GAL Aqua

The dimension of this tank makes it a reliable cow trough. Also, its construction is ideal for its purpose. Its resistance against impact is impressive, so it doesn’t crack or break easily. The credit goes to its poly construction.

High Country Plastics 40 Gallon Aqua Stock Tank
  • Very durable
  • Impact resistant poly construction to absorb force with out...
  • Aqua Green color Only.

No products found.

This is an on-the-go cow trough as you can attach it to walls, posts, rails, and more. Your cows won’t go thirsty as it carries a fixed amount of water. It’s made of stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion and high temperature. Therefore, it can last long.

No products found.

Behlen Country R42 165-Gallon Galvanized Round Tank

The toughness of this tank is remarkable as it’s built to withstand even the harshest farm or ranch conditions. Thus, every part is meticulously designed for the needed strength to make it lasting. The ribs and sidewalls are rigid, while the bottom part is heavily galvanized. For more support, there’s a steel tube rolled on its top. It has a dimension that’s perfect for holding the water for your cows.

Behlen Country R42 165-Gallon Galvanized Round Tank
  • It is highly durable
  • It is a quality product
  • Manufactured in United States
  • Ideal for all you livestock watering needs

Nomal Automatic Waterer Bowl Cattle Water Trough

It’s a plastic trough that you can depend on as the material is resistant to daily wear and tear and corrosion. You won’t worry that it might fall and break. The water supply can be set into continuous flow so your cows won’t run out of water. An extra float valve and plastic nut come with every trough for adjusting the water level.

Automatic Waterer Bowl Cattle Water Trough with Float Valve and Drain Plug Livestock Waterer Water Bowl Tank for Horse Dog Cattle Pig Sheep Goat (Light Blue)
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL: This water bowl is made of high quality...
  • SPARE FLOAT VALVE: You will get a spare float valve. If you want...
  • AUTOMATIC WATER SUPPLY: Can automatically replenish and cut off...
  • EASY TO CLEAN: There is a small hole at the bottom of the water...
  • APPLICATION: This automatic water bowl can be used for cattle,...

Bon Toll 11-409 Tub Utility

This tub is ideal for a temporary water trough as you can easily move or turn it around. Still, you need to put duct tape on the lower part for protection when dragging it. Amazingly, it can withstand -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bon Tool Heavy Duty Polyethylene Utility Tub Temperature Resistant Leak Proof Sturdy High Density Mixing Tub (36"X 24" X 8")
  • High density pan is temperature resistant and is ideal for mixing...
  • Non-Sticky Surface, Hi-molecular polyethylene, unaffected by...
  • Innovative Sturdy Design, Durable Construction with Long Life
  • Specially designed to hold mortar; 3.5 cu.ft. capacity ideal for...
  • Dimensions: 36"X 24" X 8"

PortaTrough 5 – Portable Feed Water Trough

As a portable trough, you can easily turn it upside down by using the handle. This also means easy cleaning. It has a good construction too as it’s made of heavy-duty polyethylene. That’s why it can survive all weather conditions. Even though the water freezes, this trough remains intact.

Premier 1 PortaTrough 5 - Portable Feed/Water Trough - 61"L x 12.5"W x 6.25"D
  • Portable 5 ft trough withstands all weather and animal...
  • Difficult for animals to tip over. Rounded inner base prevents...
  • Side handle allows it to be inverted with a toe to tip out water...
  • Water depth allows water fowl to bathe their heads and necks.
  • Stackable for easy movement and storable. Measures approx. 61" L...

Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG424700BLA Stock Tank

Touching this tank will tell you that it’s sturdy because it’s thick and well-built. It’s also massive, with a capacity of 300 gallons, but draining is so easy. You can find its strength in withstanding the cold winter days.

Little Giant Trough-O-Matic Stock Water Tank

You don’t have to waste time checking the cow trough from time to time if you have this water tank. It can make automatic refills as it can detect the water level. It can deliver 245 gallons of water per hour. This tank is durable since it has a heavy-duty aluminum housing, which won’t easily give in to damage and elements.

Little Giant® Trough-O-Matic® Stock Water Tank | Anti-Siphon Float Valve | Livestock Tank Float | Watering Tank with Aluminum Housing
  • FLOAT CONTROLLED - This automatic cattle waterer has float...
  • STANDARD HOSE CONNECTION - This automatic watering device...
  • HIGH POWER WATER PUMP - This livestock waterer can flow up to 245...
  • HEAVY-DUTY ALUMINUM HOUSING - This water tank includes a...
  • PLASTIC HOUSING AVAILABLE - This automatic watering tank also is...

No products found.

No tipping over can happen to this tub because of its offset bottom. It’s also well-supported with deep sweeding. Carrying it is a breeze because there are two handles side by side. Since it’s made of stainless steel, it’s not easily damaged.

No products found.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Water Troughs Does a Cow Need?

How Many Water Troughs Does a Cow Need

A cow only needs one trough. University of Kentucky Agriculture, Food and Environment even suggest that 20 cows can share a single, long trough given that the water space is 3 to 5 inches.

How Do You Set Up a Cattle Water Trough?

You have to connect the water trough to a water system. Moreover, it can be connected to a float valve which is installed with the water supply pipe controls.

The ideal flow rate is 5-8 l min−1 for every drinking cattle. In a loose housing system, a single trough is enough for 50 to 60 cows. The 4-5 l min−1 is applied, and the 0.6 m depth is good. 

How Do You Maintain Feeding Troughs?

Feeding troughs should be cleaned routinely. It must be done weekly with a mixture of 5 gallons of water and a cup of bleach. Scrub the trough to ensure that algae and small particles are removed.

Rinse thoroughly to ensure that bleach doesn’t adhere to the trough. It should be free from any substance before you make water refills.

Why is the End of a Trough Covered?

The end of a trough is covered to prevent contamination and control the water level.

What Height Should a Cattle Trough Be?

What Height Should a Cattle Trough Be

Ideally, the cattle should be 2 to 3 feet tall, with a fill rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.


Water goes hand in hand with grass, hay, and feed in promoting the welfare of cows. Choose a water trough that is sturdy enough to not easily break and withstand cold weather.

It shouldn’t be prone to breakage as the sharp part can hurt an animal. See to it that it can carry enough water. so your cows have enough to drink.

List of Sources

Water Needs for the Dairy Herd

Managing Feedbunks and Water Troughs

Quality Water for Beef Cattle

Leave a Comment