insulated bucket holder - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-25-2012, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Rural central Pennsylvania
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insulated bucket holder

I have read a wide variety of opinions on what is best for providing water for horses in cold weather.

I am not a horse person, but I am in charge of building a barn for my daughter.

After visiting several horse facilities, I have decided against "automatic water" things. One upscale place didn't like them because of lack of being able to monitor amount of water taken by the horse, the other professional stable that was irritated by expense, reliability and repair expense issues (they had them, and regretted having them), and a similar facility to what I plan, just provided heated water in the 5 gal bucket from a garden hose!

Furthermore, the plugged in buckets give me the willies. I don't like water and electric so close together!

I am in south central Pa. ,between Harrisburg & State College, and freezing can be expected at night November through March.

So...... I am looking at the "insulated" 5 gal bucket holders. Any experience with certain brands, good or bad.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 12:01 PM
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If your temperatures don't drop too low, you can build an insulated box to put your buckets / small water trough in. I don't know of any that are already built that way.

Where I live, we get well below freezing temperatures day and night for nearly 6 months a year and so we rely on water troughs with electric heaters or buckets with heaters. They are made for this purpose and so they are safe. The heaters are usually on a thermostat and will cut out as soon as the water level drops below the heater. The elements don't usually get too hot, or they are surrounded by a protective cover so there is little risk of burns, etc. A heated pail that plugs in at night is probably your best option. If you hang it from a proper bucket clip you shouldn't have any problems.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 12:28 PM
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I have always found it odd that people can't observe a horse and know if it's properly hydrated. You cannot force a horse to drink.

We've had auto water systems for close to 20 years. A heater replacement here and there. Heck of a lot more comforting to know the horses have free access to a constant water supply than to worry about a tank going dry on these odd 70 degree March days when the horses still have full winter coats.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 06:26 PM
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I also prefer to use buckets for water in my horses stalls, I like to keep track of how much they are drinking. I bought some water bucket cozies this winter to try. They worked out well. I would recommend trying them. I suppose how well they work out for you would depend on just how cold the temperature gets where you live and if they are going to be exposed to wind or strong drafts in the cold.

I bought mine at one of the local feed stores in my area. You can also get them from Smartpak.

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post #5 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 08:49 PM
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At the barn I ride at, they have a big barrel where they store their water, and during the winter put a wooden box stuffed with old hay around it. Then you just take the horse's bucket and dunk it in the barrel, normally the horses can break through the little layer of ice.

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 09:35 PM
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Insulated anything won't cut it around here unless the barn is heated or extremely well insulated.

I prefer buckets to auto-waterers. We fill the buckets with the aforementioned garden hose. I have auto-waterers for my cows, HUGE pain to clean whereas the buckets are easy and if I am having a crappy day, I can switch out buckets (we have a set of extras) and not have to wash out buckets that day.

Heated buckets are great. Just make sure the cords are securely out of reach (zip ties!).
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-01-2012, 09:50 PM
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I do use them out side and they work great

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post #8 of 11 Old 04-02-2012, 08:56 AM
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Location: Ontario
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I am an old pro that has to deal with very cold winters. The most reliable system I've found is the frost-free hydrant, whereby the small amount of water in the pipe empties out amongst some rocks deep in the trench below the supply line. Horses really drink after sun up and before dark. Anything in between is just the odd sip. Stalled horses often play in water pails, and enjoy dumping them.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-03-2012, 12:35 AM
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Frost free hydrants are great. I don't know anyone around here who doesn't have multiple, however unless you've managed to teach your horse to turn them on (and off!), a hydrant doesn't solve the problem of a horse needing unfrozen water in the middle of winter.

In Winter it's dark when the horses go in and dark when they head out to turnout but yet.... the "odd sip" of water they all seem to take empties at least 1 bucket per horse. I clean stalls and water buckets where I board and in Winter it's 8 horses and 7 heated buckets to fill daily (two mini-ponies share a stall) and in the Summer it's 8 horses and 14-15 buckets daily. They aren't lacking water in turnout either... I scrub and fill the tanks (we use drop in heaters for those) as well. They aren't dumping buckets either, nobody has wet shavings under their water buckets.

A horse should NEVER be without water for any extended period of time. No livestock should, all of my animals (pets and future food) have heated water buckets, heated auto-waterers or other varied heated water sources.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-05-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Delfina View Post
I have auto-waterers for my cows, HUGE pain to clean


We hold up the float, drain the water, scrub, let some water run through and replace the plug. Done.
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