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[RC] Horse water thawed w/out electric - Kimberley Woolley

Hey Chrystal,

Although not cheap, there are lots of non-electric waterers on the market,
the problem with them is you have to have enough horses drinking water to
keep it viable.  Our cattle farm has water and electric fence without hydro
- we have solar panels, a deep cell battery bank, and a back-up generator
for those shorter, grey days.  We have 20 head of cattle and they drink a
lot of water to process their food - way more than horses.  When we started,
we only had 8 head of cattle which was considered barely enough to keep the
waterer functioning (calculating what a horse drinks, our 7 horses are not
enough to keep one functioning - there may be new ones on the market now
that will work for that small a herd of horses).  The box is about
12"x24"x24" tall and we dug an 8" tube 6 feet down directly below the
waterer (around here, the ground freezes to about 4 feet, so below that
brings you a little heat) - we ran the pipe to the well through this tube to
help keep it warm, and insulated the heck out of it where it came out of the
ground.  The water box is insulated and has a plastic door flap on the top
with a full bowl of water underneath.  If the cattle don't come to drink for
a day, then the bowl of water freezes and no fresh water comes out - the
mechanism relies on the drinking of water to keep fresh, warmer water
flowing which heats the bowl which allows water to flow, etc, etc.  In order
to make this work, we also had to have a water pump and pressure tank that
we keep in an old freezer with a light bulb to keep it from freezing.  We
have used this set up for several years and have only had a problem when ice
built up around the door flap so it froze open and then the bowl of water
also froze.

Hydrant style would work OK too, except that for cattle, when they are
thirsty, they drink as a herd and they will butt a waterer off its cement
footing if the water isn't coming fast enough.  For horses, you have to
teach them how to push something to get water to flow - not all of them are
smart enough ;)  Whatever you look at, check the number of animals it says
it will support carefully, place the waterer in as sheltered an area as
possible, and know that you will have to monitor your animals for a while to
make sure they have figured out how to use it.

We thought about building our own version of the waterer, but the price of
all the pieces and putting it together was about the same as a ready-made
one (plus, we could take it back if it didn't work).  Oh, yes, and we keep
our hose in the basement when it gets down to -20C (we were at -28 this
morning when I got up).

Kimberley Woolley

-----Original Message-----
From: "Dyane Smith" <sunibey@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [RC] Horse water thawed w/out electric

Chrystal, I live in N. California--much warmer than -30, although we =
have had days and days with highs of 12 degree F.

Anyway, when I installed my heated waterers in my barn (read, run-in =
shed), I had to dig down 9' to access the ground heat.  So....I doubt =
that 5' will work for you.

 ----- Original Message ----- 
 From: Chrystal Woodhouse 
 To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
 Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:36 PM
 Subject: [RC] Horse water thawed w/out electric

 A couple of years ago this was a topic of conversation on RC, someone =
mentioned digging a 5 ft hole underneath the water trough in order to =
keep it from freezing over. Before I go digging an enormous hole can =
anyone tell me if they have tried this and if it works in temp's that go =
down to -30??? 
 Any other ideas of how to keep horse water  .......well water not ice, =
without electricity in the winter?????? 

 Chrystal :-) 
 P.,S if you are from the south do not bother telling me what works for =
you,it won't  work up here,  I know you THINK you know what winter is =
'cause hey! your water buckets had a layer of ice on =
them..............................once . :-) ;-) :-)if you can leave =
your hoses outside after October or have access to water taps in the =
winter that work without heating tape or do not know what a water =
hydrant is .....................you are too far south to help!!!!  :-) =
From: Cindy Collins <c_collins@xxxxxxx>
Subject: re:[RC] Horse water thawed w/out electric - Chrystal Woodhouse

"if you can leave your hoses outside after October"

I had to really laugh at this one...I'm in Wyoming and my horses are  
outside all winter, even when it's 18 below 0 like it was last week :)

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