10 Tips For Keeping Your Livestock Water Buckets From Freezing

Floyd Fain

January 03, 2017

horse-drinking-bucket.jpgWinter weather is here. Be proactive in the days and weeks leading up to the coldest portion of the year by preparing your livestock's water buckets.

This advice will help you prevent buckets from freezing. Preventing a freeze will stop cracks from forming within the water buckets and, consequently, save you money.

1. Use An Enclosure

Place the water buckets in an insulated space like a shed. An insulated space will slow the water's cooling rate, warding off a freeze for as long as possible. You can also add a small lamp or heater in the shed to prevent the water from turning to ice on those especially cold days.  

2. Mind The Spacing

One of the best ways to prevent livestock water buckets from freezing is by placing them near one another. By placing the buckets within close proximity to one another, you will increase the area's temperature. Livestock will group together to drink from their buckets, increasing the temperature of the entire space.

3. De-icers And Electric Heaters

Your livestock's water tanks can be fitted with electric heaters and/or de-icers. As long as the electricity flows in an uninterrupted manner, these technologies will function as designed. There are even heaters that can be submerged in the water.

Your animals won't bother toying with these submerged heaters like they will with other heaters. Find a heater with an internal thermostat and it will automatically turn itself off when the temperature increases.

4. Bank The Tank

Though this idea sounds a bit odd, it works. Use wet manure to “bank the tank.” Then cover it with plastic. The heat from the manure prevents the water from freezing for a surprisingly long time. Make sure to leave a hole so livestock can drink one at a time.

5. The Power Of Propane

Make use of a propane stock tank heater if you have electrical issues. Some of these heaters are quite large and mobile so they can be positioned at a distance and still function.

6. Consider Consumption Levels

Gauge exactly how much your animals drink. Fill their buckets with this amount so excess water does not have the chance to create a buildup of ice. The animals will consume all of the water in a reasonable amount of time before it can freeze.

The only caveat is that you must check the buckets every now and then to ensure that your livestock are receiving enough water. If the buckets are completely empty every time, add some more water than usual.

7. Automatic Watering

If you have a good number of animals, make use of automatic watering units. A steady flow of animals looking for a drink will ensure that the water flows without freezing. Many automatic watering units are designed with an internal heating mechanism to boot.

8. Tires

Place rocks within the interior portion of tires. Leave the tires in the sun so they can absorb warmth. Then put them around the buckets. As long as the tires are a snug fit, they'll keep the water warm enough to drink all night long.

9. Heated Buckets

Solo animals can make use of heated buckets without an issue. As long as you secure the heating buckets to something stable, they won't be jostled off their source of electricity. Heated buckets are perfect for barns that lack heat and would otherwise cause livestock water to freeze.

10. Circulators

Rely on a water circulator to keep the water moving and it won't freeze for quite a while. Though circulators require batteries, they can tap into solar power for easy recharging.

Winterizing your barn and protecting your livestock in cold weather is critical.

For more expert tips on how to properly care for your livestock and maintain your barn, contact Red Master Harrow. We manufacture some of the best arena drags in the industry.

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