Dead birds in water trough? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Chessie
  • 2 Post By Clayton Taffy
  • 1 Post By PaintingPintos
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Dead birds in water trough?

I am "cow-sitting" 5 calves, 4 cows and 1 bull in addition to my own steer and heifer. The cow pasture (about 30 acres) has no water, so I have two 100gal water troughs at their gate and a bazillion linked hoses running down the length of the smaller pasture to fill them. I generally fill them 1-2x per day depending on how hot it is.

Yesterday about mid-day both were about half-full and I found 2 dead birds in one. Dumped, cleaned and filled that one, topped off the other. Went out this morning and one tank was empty except for a tiny amount and the other was 1/3 full and had FIVE dead birds in it!

I have various water troughs for our goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys and in the isolation cow pen, I've never had a dead bird before. A dead mouse once and handfuls of grasshoppers but that's it. This is really ridiculous..... why on earth is the entire bird population committing suicide in my troughs!? They're clean... well at least they start out clean each morning but these are cow tanks, so somewhat gross after the first one dunks it's head in.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 07:43 PM
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I experienced this whilst looking after a friends horse stud whilst she went away on holidays. I spoke with her about it, she thinks that they "challenge" the bird in the reflections, and when they are in the water, cant get out.... the trough i found three black birds in was about their body length in height, above the water and that may have been why they couldnt get out, seeing as they are not made to swim. I have no idea why tehy do it, or even if what she said is the reason, but i agree its gross... especially when we have to clean them out... blegh...soggy dead birds.... gross xD
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 08:50 PM
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With the dry weather they are looking for water, since their normal sources of water are gone. With a trough, if they misjudge the depth, they can quickly become waterlogged, and drown in a trough that has vertical sides. They may have just gone down to test it or try to drink, but then they don't have enough strength or space to make it back out.

I'm not sure how you can prevent this, other than putting out a shallow birdbath or water pan for birds nearby.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 09:33 PM
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I always have a 2x4 in the trough put diagonally in the trough. At the bottom on one end and the top on the other end so whatever gets in has at least a chance to get out.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 10:59 PM
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iv found a live bird in one when i was watching the farm i keep my horse at. luckily he was alive and well, just water logged so i just hid him in the grass and hoped the cat wouldnt find him before he dried up.

i like the 2x4 idea tho!!! or setting out a bird bath

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post #6 of 10 Old 08-21-2012, 06:41 AM
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I use a poplar log. Anything can grab the bark. Found a frog in mine. The tank is 30" high. He was just swimming around. Fished him out with an old collander that stays at the tank.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-24-2012, 09:16 PM
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I put a broken shovel handle in my dog's water trough. I rescued the same little toad 3 days in a row before I thought of it. The poor little guy was so water logged that he felt squishy.

Carpe Diem!
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-24-2012, 09:33 PM
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Celest I think all toads are Squishy
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-24-2012, 11:49 PM
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I'd say the 2x4 is the best bet for now.
Crazy what gets into water...
Speaking of things in water, last week my mom went downstairs to play with the cat Pumpkin (we keep our kitties separated since they fight. We swap cats so one gets free rein and the other is locked up for a day. We swap every day or so. Each has its own room) and she was meowing incessantly.
She looked over to the VERY tall windowsill where the cat's food is kept. Full dish.
She happened to glance at the water dish.
What did she see?
A frog.
In the water dish.
Nobody has ANY clue on how it got in....
All we know is that the cat was NOT outside, there were NO frogs in the garage (adjoining room. Too much furniture stored so the frog couldn't possibly have hopped in) soooooo how in God's name did it get in?
It's a real mystery.
I am still confused as to how it also jumped 5 feet to get to the windowsill.
AND how it found water is what I'd like to know....
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-25-2012, 06:05 PM
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I always put heavy screening hanging from the edge of the tank to down into the water. If it is a very large tank, I put more than one. That solved all drownings on my place.
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