importance of water in winter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-26-2011, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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importance of water in winter

I've been concerned this winter about the water available for 4 horses (1 belongs to me). I currently care for all four horses in return for having free pasture board next door. The tank heater is, at times, unplugged (this is out of my control) because it trips the breaker to their house which I realize could be very inconvenient. So I'm hoping for tips on keeping water available with temps that are around 0 degrees or below without electricity.

This might sound dumb, but, I read about someone filling water in a hard rubber stock tank and then being able to kick out the ice daily and refilling. So that lead me to think that maybe I could rub vegetable oil/vaseline in the stock tank, then fill with water which would make it easier to kick the ice out an refill daily? Works for snowballs on Just a thought
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-27-2011, 12:20 AM
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I have heard of some people putting a medium size ball in the water bucket because apparently it makes the water freeze slower, i have never tried it tho because i have heated buckets
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-27-2011, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rachel. I've heard of the ball thing too. Might have to try that although with these guys, I wonder if it will still be there the next day
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-27-2011, 11:39 PM
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I don't know about coating the tank with veg oil, so can't really comment on that.

We keep the water running into our tanks all the time during winter. Just barely running, more than a drip, but far from gushing. That keeps them from freezing, or from completely freezing at least. It also keeps the hoses/lines from freezing up as well. It can tend to make a bit of a mucky mess around the tanks, though. So we have a PVC pipe coming off the drain that drains the water away from the tanks, so the water doesn't just overflow right there where the horses have to stand to drink.

This is a different system than we used last year, which was to bring one of those 5 gallon insulated drink containers (like you take to a picnic, or see on construction sites) full of almost boiling water to pour into the tank to thaw it. Ugh. What a pain, since I had to haul it from my house, in my truck to our horse property. Several times it tipped over and I had a mini flood in the back of my SUV.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 02:04 AM
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At my old barn, they would keep a log in the water buckets as the idea is that the log moves and the water does not freeze.

I can tell you this is not the case in PA where it gets quite cold. It might stop it a few degrees below freezing, but it does not help past that. I would go out to the barn every morning and have to take a shovel to the water and a lot of effort to empty and refill it.

For outside waterers nothing is going to help much without electricity in really cold weather.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 11:56 AM
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Feeding Beat Pulp can help - over the winter months. I do this with Nelson, and usually he wont eat sloppy feed, but he seems to like his beat pulp! I make it sloppy, so when he eats the beat pulp, he gets a lot of water intake as well.

What about Battery Operated Tank Heaters? Or Solar Powered?

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post #7 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 11:59 AM
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I just keep a hammer down at the barn and beat it day and night...

I also carry warm water down from the house for my older guy....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 06:29 PM
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Horses will drink more when the temperature of the water is above 45^. This is warmer than a bucket heater will keep the water. It's a pain in the shoulder, but I take 1/2 buckets of hot water from the house, and finish filling them at the barn from the hydrant. The result is about 70 to 80^ water. The gelding comes over to drink this warm water. The mare waits for it to cool off.

I have also seen insulated bucket holders. If you take hot water out in 5-gallon buckets, they will keep the water from freezing until it gets down to about 0^.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies! I like the battery powered heater idea...I'll have to go look and see what I find on that. I like the "log" idea too. Problem with that is that there's no room for one right now with all the ice build up. Last year we had to haul water over there when the water pump froze up in the spring (go figure?) and was that ever a pain in the a**. Would have been okay for 1...but for 4? ugh! I should have noted that our horse will be moving in the spring so this situation is temporary. I was hoping for some magic solution without having to spend a whole lot of money, silly me. Still, I so appreciate the many ideas...some of which I didn't think of, nor find while searching. Should have asked for help in the fall when all of the problems with the electricity started.

So, currently I'm pounding a hole in the tank daily. With the temps rising a little bit (today was 29 degrees and sunny, yahoo) I didn't have to pound out the hole. I'm just so greatful that I've made it this far...or should I say that somehow I've been able to provide enough water for the horses and that they're okay. The whole thing has been upsetting for me knowing that possible colic could occur if they don't have enough. So again, I thank you all!
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-01-2011, 08:46 AM
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Not that it helps for this winter, but before next winter look into the electrical issues so you can have the tank heater working.
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