If one was to do a functional analysis of ten different animals within the domestic livestock category, one would find some pretty consistent crossovers on the pattern level in terms of inputs. Thus we will cover those similarities so that when we get to specific animals, the details can come through rather than repeating constantly. Ultimately caring for domesticated livestock is a very large responsibility and to meet the ethos of permaculture we really need to be sound within our animal husbandry. However when we know our inputs and outputs combined with the intrinsic characteristics of the breeds and combine that with the principles of permaculture and patterns of nature, domestic livestock can bring resilience to the system. It is on us who take that responsibility to treat them with respect and care, mimic natural systems, and encourage ecosystem restoration.
It is basic yet paramount. Thus the higher the quality of the water we deliver, just like humans, the better the health will be for our animals. It mandates us to bring fresh water to troughs or water bowls, either via piping or manually, and to keep the drinking troughs clean. This is one of the hardest parts/ decisions of keeping animals because setting up infrastructure to deliver water to the drinking locations can be costly especially with rotational grazing systems. That is why you often see ponds built and rotational grazing not happening and the animals having free access to the water. However this diminishes the water quality and increases the chances of the animals getting parasites, a detrimental health threat to the animals and if chemicals are used to treat it then also to the ecosystem. So water must be planned well, because you will want to keep the water topped up, unfrozen, and also to wash the water bowls out from time to time. This can be lessened by correct placement to keep fecal matter out of the troughs as much as possible, which is a challenge honestly. For example, I switched to a water bowl that attached to the walls of my semi movable goat pens at Treasure Lake in the summer of 2018. Before that they were on the ground and always a mess to clean because of the animals defecating in them. It still happened from time to time because I had to keep some of the water bowls low because of the baby goats. However this small change represented a lot less cleaning and cleaner water. At a farm I worked on in California, where water is precious, we would clean the water bowls outside the chickenyard underneath a mulberry tree effectively watering and fertilizing it each day (energy cycling). Furthermore, you can add a probiotic, organicapplecider vinegar being any easy one, to help keep gut flora good. If chlorinated water is given to animals, the consequence of this anti-microbial agent will also trickle to your animals. Animals need good gut flora to maintain their vitality just as humans do.