I'm not sure how many turnouts you are talking about or where they are in relation to electricity but I use a deicer in my tank. They are not expensive tho they do use electricity of course. Another way to keep them from freezing as quickly is to build an insulated box to fit around the tank. You can cover the top of the tank also, leaving enough room for the horses to get a drink.
Solar ones are about $100 a piece. We'll have them at our new barn but one of my friends is at another barn that refuses to allow power to the turnouts. So was just trying to come up with a way to help keep them well.. not frozen lol.
Movement or heat are the two ways to keep the water from freezing. Movement can be accomplished by adding a bubbler or other device (such as the filter idea above). Heat would be accomplished by adding a de-icing device or purchasing a contained heated water container. We use the electric tub system and love it.
I'm in Northern Indiana - I have a tank heater (like this one: Allied Sinking De-icer - 2170712 | Tractor Supply Company) in my tank, I have a heavy duty, outdoor use rated extension cord running it from my garage. Will they let you run an extension cord from the barn out to the paddocks? Make sure you get an outdoor-rated extension cord that can withstand the weather. (I prefer the sinking ones to the floating de-icers, personally, my horses play with the floating ones and pull them out of the tanks)
Using a black tarp to cover part of the opening of the water trough can maximize the sunlight energy and help keep it from freezing, or speed up thawing. Leave just enough space so the horses can dip their noses in comfortably, and wrap it around the tank (black absorbs energy, keeping the water warmer longer), and use rocks, bricks, etc to weigh it down around the tank.
The football works by movement. It floats around (wind and horse power may push it around) and it keeps the surface from freezing as fast. A block of untreated wood can do the same thing.
Live in Indiana too. You believe this weather? UGH!! We just purchased a tank heater at Orscheln's Farm and Home. It regulates the temp of water, similar to a fish tank heater, it will only come on when needed. Good Luck!!
I have had horses all my life, but it is unseasonably cold here this year. Water freezing in troughs usually is a day or two event not something that occurs for weeks upon weeks as I know is the case with some of you. Someone has bound to think of adding something to the water to lower its freezing temperature and not hurting the horses in the process. I put apple cider vinegar in the hot, humid summer to raise the pH of the water to deter algae growth which got me to thinking maybe a salt and/or sugar and/or vinegar additive to the water might work. Maybe a combination of a floating piece of untreated lumber and an additive. I am not a big fan of heating elements in troughs or water buckets and thought maybe there was a simpler, less dangerous answer to the problem. I know if you break the ice and remove it as opposed to leaving it in the trough;that helps. I called the horse council and they said some people add the powdered gatorade to the water. Have any of you tried that? Ideas? thanks
From other boards, I have saw alot of people using the powdered Gatorade or electrolytes with success. But They always say, keep a bucket of regular water near, just encase a horse doesn't like it.
I live in Florida so usually its not that cold. But recently its been in the low 20's and I'm having to break the ice every few hours at night (I run on 3 hours of sleep from insomnia). Normally I just leave the hose running on low but it froze last night lol. I add loose salt and minerals into their feed which keeps them drinking. Also, if your concerned about colic, I add warm water and make their grain into mash. Haven't had any colic issues since July (that was hell).So I try to keep as much water in their systems as possible during the winter.
The amount of salt you need to add would make it very undrinkable for a horse. I've tried it in a bucket, it didnt help at all.
Our water tank is black, I really dont think that it helps much. I try to keep it out of the elements, and inside the barn overhang/shelter. I keep buckets in the shelter/stalls as well. Those usually take longer to freeze since they're in the barn. You can tell they dont freeze as quickly, because when the trough freezes, the water in the hanging buckets dissapear. Lucky for us we had a stream at the edge of the pasture, its never frozen yet.
The block of wood is a great idea. I might try that.