Watering your animals in the winter can present a problem, especially if you don’t have electricity in your coops or pens. In the past, we have used those galvanized metal poultry waterers in our chicken coop, so we just added the heated base for the winter. We, however, seemed to be going through quite a few of those waterers (and they’re not cheap). So, this past summer, I decided to make my own waterer. It worked beautifully when the weather was warm, but I did not feel that using a heated base for this type of waterer was a good idea. So, that left us back at square one in trying to figure out how to keep water from freezing for our chickens. After some research, I found that the easiest thing to do was just use these black feed pans (which you can find at your local feed or farm store). Our chickens free range during the day and they don’t eat or drink at night, so there is no need for their water to be in the coop. I just leave a pan outside and if it freezes overnight, it’s easy to bust out the ice and refill the pan. Then, I make sure it is sitting in the sun and the black pan warms nicely during the day, keeping the water melted.
While I was able to find a simple solution for the chickens, the pig pen presented a different problem. This fall, we finished our pen before winter so our pigs would have a warm, dry shelter. However, we weren’t able to run any electricity out to it. We have a stock tank filled, which we can scoop water out of when the weather isn’t too bad. When it freezes, however, we fill a couple of 5 gallon buckets and take them out. We can bring the stock tank back and put a tank heater in it, which works to thaw the water temporarily. I’ve done some research and have found a couple of ideas (i.e. building a solar panel box to hold the tank, painting the tank black to absorb more heat, etc.), and we are going to give them a try, but for now, we are breaking ice (if we can) and hauling buckets of water. Ahh…the trials of being a small farmer.
Have you found solutions to your freezing water issue? I’d love to hear your ideas!
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