Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drinking water

The tough part of cold weather isn't feed or shelter -- it's water. 
I'm a big fan of automatic waterers, but they don't work very well in the cold weather.  So my fallback is the old-fashioned trough.  there's enough water in them that they don't freeze solid overnight, but I do have to go break the ice and toss the chunks out every day. 

If the cold snap is long enough ice builds up from the sides, which is much harder to chip out.   A little bit of salt overnight melts it; I'll toss a couple of cups into it at dark, and then at dawn dump the trough and refill it.   I use these low troughs for the pigs, and find that they turkeys utilize them, too. 

This is the chore I hate the most. 


Enjay said...

I hated clearing the stock tank too. I don't know if you've seen this page ( ) but it has some interesting ideas for solar powered ice prevention.
I used to dream about building a concrete stock tank with radiant heating when I was out with my maul, ice tongs and rubber apron clearing the tanks. Dunno if it'd work but it sure was nice to think about.

Anonymous said...

It's worst chore because its always so cold when it needs to be done ;)

Robin J. said...

Ugg, I hate the ice water chore. It is definitely one of the most annoying things about livestock in the winter.

Unknown said...

Just a thought..... My wife and I are running into this for the first time as "hobby" farmers.
Something I plan to try as the freezing weather sets in here (in Virginia) is an old boating trick I heard of. People who leave a boat in the water sometimes put a bubbler in the water below it. This keeps the water from freezeing next to the boat.
I plan to switch the hose from water to a small oil-less compressor. It will blow the water out of my hoses after filling, then allow some air to bubble up in the trough. May be a balancing act to get multiple hoses bubbling AND blow out all the lines.... Not sure what the chickens will think of the bubbles.....

Great Blog! Thanks!!!

Bruce King said...

That's an interesting idea; let me know how it works. Pigs love tubes or hoses; they love to play with them, chew on them, generally mess with them. I have to watch my garden hoses or I'll find them being drug around the pasture by a group of happy porkers.