Ingestion of snow by cattle.

B. A. Young, A. A. Degen

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1 Scopus citations


Tritiated water was evaluated and used for determining snow and water intake by cattle. This method yielded results comparable to those obtained via simultaneous gravimetric measurement of snow and liquid water intake after adjustments were made for preformed and metabolic water from feed; the correlation coefficient was .96 and the standard error of the estimate was +/- 1.28 kg/day, or +/- 5.8% of the mean intake. Two steers were maintained in a covered, open-ended stable and were offered a maintenance diet and ad libitum liquid water. Distressed behavior was observed in these steers when they were abruptly denied liquid water and given snow in its place. They started ingesting snow after approximately 35 hr and subsequent switching from water to snow or vice versa was without apparent distress. In another study, eight pregnant beef cows were used in a 4 X 4 Latin square design consisting of four 15-day periods. The cows were either penned and given once-a-day access to water (pen water) or ad libitum access to snow only (pen snow), or they were kept in a snow-covered field and given once-a-day access to water (field water) or access only to the snow in the field (field snow). The pen water cows cunsumed 23.6 kg/day, the pen snow cows 20.6 kg/day, the field water cows 26.1 kg/day and the field snow cows 23.6 kg/day of water and (or) snow. In a subsequent experiment, the same pregnant cows were given 0, 5, 10 kg or free access to water for 15 min once each day and kept in a snow-covered field. The total daily water-plus-snow intake was similar for each of the four groups, ranging between 50 and 55 g/kg/day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-815
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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