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Stock water freezing?

Birdman McCoy


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
What methods do you use to keep the stock water from freezing, or at least holes open in it?
this is in various water tanks from 40 cattle, 10 goats, to one cow in a pen, (different tanks)
pulse a dozen cats,  we also have the chickens in another area,
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
Well there are electric warmers for just this purpose, and even solar powered ones.  The links were posted in an old thread here at permies, but you might want to do a new search for updated links.

I would also suggest you do what you can - such as insulating around the trough/tub, maybe using hay and soil or putting it into the ground, and paint it black to absorb heat from the sun, etc.  I knew of an interesting design for watering during the winter, I'll see if I can find it.

I hope this helps
Birdman McCoy


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
thank you for your reply,

I currently am using two tire tanks, so there black and much more insulated than the steel tanks, one is a tractor tire turned inside out with one side wall cut off, (I made my self and the second is a industrial earth mover tire I bought)

one both tire tanks, one the first I took a culvert and put it in the earth about 9 feet, (this one was not above the rim of the tank and in the course of time got filled with water,
water is at its dense about 40f degrees (why a lake does not freeze from the bottom up)

need less to say not to good of results,

the second tank the large tire tank the culvert is above the rim of the tire tanks edge, and only has air in it, (it is covered, with a tire cut in to and plywood center),  it helps to keep the tank thawed but at sub zero the cold over takes the earth heat, 
this year I am trying aquarium blubbers and it has some success, at least keeping the ice thin where it is bubbling,

one of the problems is moisture condensation is freezing in the air tubes and blocking the air flow,  one set of lines is about 75 feet, when it is working it nearly keeps the float free,

in two of the tanks I am using electric heaters, the ones that sink to the bottom of the tank, (in years past I tried the floating ones and they did little),  (trying to conserve on power here, the small tank has a 500 watt, and the medium tank has a 750 watt) they make the meter spin fast enough,

the other thing I tried this year is to put a pipe with a elbow in the one tank that has the water filled culvert in it, and dropped a aerator in the pipe to pull the warmer water up off the bottom of the culvert and move it into the drinking area of the tank, (note this tank only has one cow drinking and goats have access to it),  but the goat also have the small steel tank (sheep tank) that has the 500 watt heater and a set of aerators in it, it keep the places where the aerators ice down to about 1/4 inch thick,

the large tire tank has the cattle and when they come and drink it get refilled with warmer water from the pipes in the earth,
but still will freeze up in 0F weather, (no power in that tank, not feasible to get power to it), but do have the air bubbler's and the dry culvert in the earth,  but still need to go break ice daily  and fork it out ever few days, before it over whelms the tank,

my goals are to go electricity free or nearly,

two tanks are in full sun light, one is only in the sun during the morning hrs,

I have considered this Idea,  http://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/grazing/features/builtank.htm

which is similar to this commercial unit, http://www.cobett.com/HTML/products_SBNoFloat_Main.html

I have never considered this type, but I do not have any hills either, http://agwater.okstate.edu/research-and-extension/Research/presentations/Freeze-Proof%20Stock%20Tanks.pdf

may be a solar panel with a submersible pump to put it up on the panel when the temp in the panel is at a give temperature and then it would drain dry when the temp dropped,

sure would like to get the power use in a minimal use than just dumping a heating element in the tank,


Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 889
    
  16
Micro-climate shelters for the waterers
Earth heat
Water motion
Constantly flowing water
Warm springs
Aeration
Ducks (another form of water motion)
Small waters
Covering flap
Floating ball
Thermal mass
Waterers in a line so the flow is from one to another (we're on a mountain)

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
I'm with you on less electric solutions 

Ducks will do the job, but they will also fowl the water (pun intended).

Since you are already using electricity why not set up a system using a water pump to life the water out and splash it back into tire tanks.  I know this isn't a more natural, less work solution, but it might give you the results you are looking for - replacing the bubblers and heaters with one good pump.... and there are solar water pumps although I do have any experience with them.

I've also seen the use of magnifiers, old sidelight dishes and tinfoil panels used to capture and increase the sun's heat into water. 
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 889
    
  16
Jami McBride wrote:Since you are already using electricity why not set up a system using a water pump to life the water out and splash it back into tire tanks.


Pumps work in some climates but not in the frozen north. One of those situational solution issues. Ice destroys pumps very quickly. I listen to other farmers curse their pumps all winter. Such language. :}
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1237
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  14
http://www.builditsolar.com/ Has some ideas including some tries by the site owner.
Pam Hatfield


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
For years I used to see ads for something called a frost free nose pump for cattle but  I've never actually seen one in action. I think the way they work is that they have a sort of float of thick foam that the cattle push with their nose and it pushes down into the water but as soon as the pressure  from the nose is lifted the foam floats back up to seal the water bowl again. The outside must also be heavilly insulated in order for the water not to freeze.  They always advertised that they used no electricity. The water must have had some sort of arrangement for the water to refill the bowl as the cattle drank.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 889
    
  16
Pam wrote:
For years I used to see ads for something called a frost free nose pump for cattle but  I've never actually seen one in action. I think the way they work is that they have a sort of float of thick foam that the cattle push with their nose and it pushes down into the water but as soon as the pressure  from the nose is lifted the foam floats back up to seal the water bowl again.


This is similar to something we setup in some of our watering spots. We used one gallon plastic milk jugs with the screw on tops. I found I needed to put some water into the jugs so they floated about half way out of the water. With a bunch of the jugs in the waterer it insulated the surface of the water quite nicely.

The only problem we had with these is when pigs decided to play with the jugs and would pick them up and toss them about. I had to then toss the jugs back into the waterer. Not a big deal.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
An air pump for an aquarium and a stone for creating bubbles can be used to provide a degree of frost protection. The uplift from the air stream creates a current of water, and it can prevent ice from completely covering the tank (to a degree - if it gets very cold for a long period, this won't work).

That solution is enhanced when the tank is deeper or the above ground parts are insulated.

Suzn AZ


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 1
Once we hooked up an energy meter to the submerged trough heater and found out how expensive it was, we looked into alternatives. Some research led us to http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/SolarHorseTank/SolarHorseTank.htm  The similar one my husband built exceeds expectations. Except for coldest days, there's open water. When there's ice, it's easily removed within  "trash can" opening, if the horses haven't already broken it up.  Bonus; the trough stays clean since most of it is covered. In a second, metal stock tank without heater, a lower tech approach - a half deflated basketball keeps an open water spot much of the time.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 889
    
  16
I like those designs and have considered something similar but we get so much snow depth that those would be completely buried. Additionally we're feeding pigs, weaners to 1,600 lbs, who are a lot rougher on things and don't have the advantage of the long necks the horses and cattle have. Wooden things get beat up pretty fast. Each species and location has its ways and challenges.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
This may be strange, but could some type of gravity fed water bowl (size to fit the animal) be set up inside a barn - that is the water tank inside and the bowl outside.  And could it be made leaver activated so that water wasn't just sitting and cooling in the dish 24/7 ?

I ask, because I taught my lab-rat in college to get a drink by doing a lot more than just pressing a lever.  We would start with pressing the lever and then add on more and more complication in my operant conditioning class.  If the tank was inside and insulated, and the bowl outside the wall protected from wind, only dispensing one bowl full with each press of the lever - could it work?
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 889
    
  16
The "push button water" as well as "push button whey" (something we feed) is something I've wanted to implement but there is a problem. In our extreme cold (below 0°F a lot and sometimes -45°F) kills systems. If the little bit in the bowl freezes it renders the bowl useless. The pipe leading to the bowl freezes and the freezing progresses back from there.

The freezing in a pipe can reach back 130' (longest distance I've seen it go) which is a royal pain to open up again in the middle of the winter. One of the things we've learned is to keep our systems accessible so we can feed up a 1/2" pipe to drill ice out of larger diameter pipes. I put in clean-outs at hard corners. Make things disconnect-able. Stuff like that.

Winter is challenging.

I still like the idea of a solar heated watering trough and want to figure out how to do this. One other issue is we get extended periods of darkness in December when it can be cold and dark, not much in the way of solar heating. Come January and February though when the cold gets to its worst it is generally clearer so more sun. That helps.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
Well my idea did run against the KISS principal - to bad
Naomi Richardson


Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Posts: 1
Hello, as I am caring for the animals and place of friends while they visit in Missouri and Texas I have been happy to find this site. They've not had time to run power out to where they have two goats. I have been worried about keeping water for them to drink. I cannot as easily get water up to the goats as can their people. I have racked my brain for an 'additive,' and after touring this site kept thinking there had to be something I could do. I thought of cooking oil, or fish oil as a coating on the sides of the plastic half barrel water trough. I called my cat's vet and was told that yes the fish oil was safe, and would cause no health problems (what I asked about as I had thought the goats would deal with it easier), but that cooking, or vegetable oil would be much cheaper.
Yes, the fish oil was $15. for about four ounces so I went the cooking oil route. Today they decided they just weren't as thirsty as they thought when they got a smell of the oil. I had not gotten all of the ice out of their barrel yet, and I had left them a bucket in which I had spilled too much oil. Now the trough is thoroughly cleaned with hot water, and all ready to take out to them tomorrow after church. I will put enough on a paper towel to thoroughly coat the sides and bottom of the trough. I am, though, really hoping to find that during the night and morning they drank as the air is so dry. I will post the results for you. I really felt there had to be something with which to safely coat the inside of the trough to keep the ice from building up.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 1815
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  19
Bubblers work for missouri most of the year (maybe not the next few days) http://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_10051_12065_-1__?N=870187861&affcode=42&kwid=ps_cse&cid=PLA_0013983143&gclid=CKPf86OAxLsCFe3m7AodjBkAEw

They work down to about 20 in a sheltered location. At the very least they will keep the water open long enough the goats have a second chance for a drink.

You can also sweeten the water--add a little sugar and salt, gatorade, tang, or juice so they gulp it down as soon as you bring it out.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
 
 
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