Feed and Water

Well fed and properly hydrated animals are best placed to avoid disease.  Advice is contained within the Government Welfare Codes for all farmed species within the UK.

Feed supplies may bring and spread disease around your farm.  This risk is increased due to the people, vehicles and equipment needed for transport of the feed.  Water supplies may also be a source of disease.


Precautions for sources, supply and management

  • Source feed from certified suppliers you know and trust.
  • It remains illegal to feed swill, catering waste, kitchen scraps, meat or meat products to farmed animals in the UK owing to risk of spread of notifiable diseases (for example, Foot and Mouth Disease, Swine Fever).
  • Keep vehicles and equipment used to transport feed carefully cleaned and disinfected.
  • To minimise movement of vehicles and equipment, you could consider investing in feed blower systems extending to the farm perimeter.
  • Where possible use mains water.
  • Prevent stock accessing water that is not intended for consumption by fencing off ground water supplies (for example, streams, rivers and stagnant ponds) as these may be contaminated and carry disease from neighbouring farms.

The faeces and bodily fluids from farmed animals may contaminate feed and water troughs. Other animals can also contaminate troughs and feed stores, for example:

  • wild birds and wildlife
  • farm cats and dogs
  • vermin


Minimising risks

Feed storage

  • Keep feed stores clean and spillage-free.
  • Ensure feed bins are sealed.
  • Ensure bagged feed is kept dry, off the ground and protected from vermin.

Feed troughs

  • Keep clean and high enough off the ground to prevent faecal contamination.
  • Use troughs that are appropriate for the height of the animals being fed.
  • Use troughs that can be rolled over for easy cleaning.

Uneaten food

  • Remove uneaten feed promptly.
  • Take care when disposing of uneaten food.


  • Keep water supplies clean.
  • Locate water troughs and drinkers carefully to avoid contamination.
  • Clean out water troughs regularly.


Further information