Thursday, December 02, 2010

Winter :: Livestock :: Water

Today wasn't so bad weather wise (it would have been great if I would have had the day off of the farm). The temps got up near 40ºF and there wasn't much wind to speak of. It appears that the 10 rogue sheep decided to enjoy the fine day as well ... I can tell by the nice white hair they leave behind on the wires as the make their way back and forth! Oh well, I'll have to figure out something with them ... but right now it is not one of my top priorities.

This evenings chores were pretty uneventful, although the cattle were a little pushy around the water tanks as I was filling them. The pigs were as well and it brought into clear focus that I need to figure out something for winter watering now that I have a greater number of livestock on the farm. I had grand dreams of installing an energy free water system for the cattle and the sheep as well as a permanent heated waterer for the pigs. But, it is December 2nd and I don't see that happening this year even though I want it very badly!

So, now I'm onto plan B ... or C ... or D ... or whatever I'm at! I have an idea for the pigs ... I could get a galvanized tank waterer with a hog drink on each side and put a heater (or two because the only two drink ones at work are 6 or 8 feet long) in it. Then I could put it on the dividing fence between my sows/boar and the growers. I would still have to stretch a hose out a long ways to fill it, but I wouldn't have to do that as often. The downsides of course are the expense of buying the tank and heaters and the electricity needed to run it! But, the upside is the time savings ... I'm seriously considering this option.

The cattle and sheep ... I guess that option is similar as well. Like I said, going this route wasn't my first option, but for the time available to get things set-up and considering the time savings throughout the winter I think it is my best option.


Anonymous said...

We have used metal or poly stock tanks with heaters in the past. The heaters that screw in to the drain plug are the only kind we would use after a floating heater caused a barn fire here.

Last year we invested in an automatic waterer with a concealed heater. Best money we ever spent. We'll never go back!

David N said...


I know this is not really related to your post specifically. My question is, since you are a few years into farming, If you could go back to those days when you were still in town and before you moved to the farm what would you do differently? Specifically in light of your post, what things would you buy ahead of time before bringing livestock onto the farm?

I am not there yet, but working hard towards it. Every bit of experience you can give to me helps me to make less mistakes or naive decisions :).

Thanks for any response you give. Glad to see you are back blogging!

Anonymous said...

Invest in automatic waterers. It is the best money you'll ever spend and won't regret. Buy a good one too, not a cheapie. You get what you pay for.

Walter Jeffries said...

I like buried waters that are accessible in a shelter of sorts, a cave, which produces a micro-climate to keep them warm.

Walter Jeffries said...

By the way, automatic waterers don't work in our climate outdoors. I don't want electricity or anything mechanical that is going to break or freeze. Winter's just too harsh.

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