Poppy George's Farm Advice: New Foals, Livestock Water and More

"Poppy George" Plitt answers homesteaders' questions about how much water livestock need, what to do for a new born horse, tips for feeding chickens and other homesteading insights.

| July/August 1974

Feeding Foal

A young foal should feed from their mare's milk as much as possible to benefit from their mother's antibodies.


"Poppy George" Plitt graduated from college with a degree in agriculture in 1932. During the years that followed he made a good many friends and a name for himself (as a gentleman, inventor and executive) in the field of bird and animal husbandry and care. At various points in his career, Plitt served as Director of Nutritional Research and Field Services for two of the East's larger grain mills. He is also the originator of Pride of the Valley Wild Bird Food and Kleen Kitty cat litter. Plitt now raises and trains standard-bred horses and keeps a wide variety of other birds and animals on a New York farm. 

"Poppy George" is now sharing his experience by giving MOTHER's readers down-to-earth advice on the care and feeding of homestead livestock.  

Question: Can you tell me how much water livestock and poultry require?

In my opinion, water is the lifeblood of your home and farm. It's most important, therefore, not to overstock a homestead beyond its ability to slake your livestock's thirst.

Here's a good rule of thumb for estimating water needs:
Chickens, grown (flock of 100): 5 gallons per day 
Sheep or goat, each: 2 gallons per day 
Hog, each: 4 gallons per day 
Beef animal or non-milking cow, each: 12 gallons per day 
Milk-producing cow, each: 35 gallons per day 

You may, however, have an individual that will consume a bit more or less, so forgive me if my figures aren't 100 percent accurate.

I'm expecting ... that is, my mare is due to foal in July. What should I do when she gives birth? 

[1] When a foal is born I promptly apply a 2 percent tincture of iodine to the navel. This can be done by putting the disinfectant in a small paper cup and pouring the contents over the umbilical stump and against the body wall where the cord was attached. Repeat this procedure for two or three days to help prevent infection.

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