Remember the old water trough from all those western movies where animals were expected to drink this water that is possible stagnant, full of debris, algae and who knows what else. Did you that style is still available to buy except they not made out of wood and with all the improvements that have been made you will probably not find any algae, stagnant water or the what else (debris has always been hard to control). There are many different sizes and shapes available today as well as a wide choice of material, this makes for a lot more choices over wood that was used years ago.
In today's farms and ranches that have livestock, the animal needs and concerns have not really changed that much. The animals need a place to graze and be able to find water. With todays technology however, how some of these problems are being solved a little different. Since the material water troughs are being made of now, include fiberglass, polyethylene, aluminum, galvanized metal, the ability to place watering troughs where you need it is now easier. The size and style of water trough needed is the biggest question, is it for pen at your farm or ranch or is going out on a range somewhere. Is there a concern for the type of animal are you watering and do they have any special needs, and then how much travel is involved when transporting the troughs. Once these questions have been addressed then you will be able to determine what type or style will work best for you.
The size of water troughs available whether you need a small 15 gallon trough or one that will hold over 900 gallons, be more of what you need. Most of the polyethylene water troughs are movable and can be place in one place and then later move it else where. Most of the troughs today are fitted with a connection for water pipes and the design will keep the water moving so it should not become stagnant. There are several attachments that are available to keep the water from freezing in the winter time, if that is a concern.
If you are looking for a more fancier model, they have some that are set up so when the animal wants a drink, they need to push on a lever and fresh water that is hook up to an underground pipe, come out cool in the summer and will not freeze in the winter. You also have some that will regulate how much water is given to each animal.
The one thing all the models seem to have in common is how durable they are and how well they stand up to the bumps, kicks and gnawing that come with livestock.