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  #1  
Old 01/26/14, 05:07 PM
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automatic waterer freezing

I have a 2 hole automatic waterer that has been freezing with the cold temps we've been having here in NKY. I think its either the float or where the water comes out the water in the tub doesnt frezze it just doesnt fill back up. Any suggestions on how to prevent this?



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  #2  
Old 01/26/14, 06:02 PM
Jennifer L.'s Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: New York bordering Ontario
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Unfreeze it twice a day with hot water and wait for warmer weather.

It's possible that if it's just the float freezing down you might be able to adjust it so the arm on the float keeps the float itself away from the waterer wall. A float will freeze when it can touch the wall of the waterer because that's coldest when the water level drops. Also, you can set the float and the arm so that as much of the float as possible is under water when the waterer is full. This keeps more of the float at 32ºF, which is going to be warmer than the air and the sides of the waterer. This will help with it freezing, too, as it may hang up and then let go with just that bit of heat held in the float from the water itself. But it's hard to keep things from freezing in really cold weather and sometimes it's just keeping after it with hot water everytime you feed.

Or buy more cows so the waterer is used more often. You get a small number of animals drinking and those frost proof waterers don't work quite as well.

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  #3  
Old 01/26/14, 08:40 PM
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More cows. Or 5-gallon buckets of hot water dumped in to defrost.

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  #4  
Old 01/27/14, 07:44 AM
 
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If it's freezing where the water pipe is coming up out of the ground then either put a ground tube over it (basically just a pvc pipe over it to help the ground heat keep that area from dropping below freezing OR do like I did and pile dirt over the water line/valve.

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  #5  
Old 01/27/14, 08:08 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I was able to get the lid off last night. I think the float is freezing stuck and not dropping when they drink. I'm going to try to adjust the float a little and hope for warmer weather.

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  #6  
Old 01/27/14, 09:31 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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I have some 2 hole waterers that will freeze if the temps drop below 10 to 11 F if I do not install the large plastic balls in the holes where the animals drink. Normally I leave the hole enclosures (plastic balls) out to allow the animals to drink faster as the drinkers are on the verge of being to small for the number of animals using the device.

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  #7  
Old 01/27/14, 09:54 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: IN
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My Ritchie one hole-er with the floating plastic disc froze over with the south wind and sub zero temp. I did not sleep well worrying about it. I covered with the two layers of leftover geotextile fabric and put a hair dryer under it to thaw it out. It was OK when it returned to just normal freezing weather.

I bought a 250 watt infrared bulb and fixture for my peace of mind if the temp dips again this week if needed. I checked on it twice yesterday and it was OK at 12 degrees outside temp. Good luck team mates. We're in the game, not on the bench.

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  #8  
Old 01/27/14, 10:21 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Kentucky
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Haveing problems with the balls freezeing fast with my two hole waterer.Hopeing for warmer weather !

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  #9  
Old 01/27/14, 01:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Highland View Post
Haveing problems with the balls freezeing fast with my two hole waterer.Hopeing for warmer weather !
Testing. Testing. One, two, three.

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  #10  
Old 01/27/14, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Highland View Post
Haveing problems with the balls freezeing fast with my two hole waterer.Hopeing for warmer weather !
Lube the rim
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Old 01/27/14, 01:57 PM
 
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I tried putting vaseline around the rim (Ritchie waterers) and it made no difference. The vaseline froze also. Is there some other lubricating stuff that you can use? It's worse when there is slush, snow, or ice.

The plastic balls develop an inch-thick rim of ice around the widest part. When this happens, I use my heel to kick the ball loose (if I can) or I pour some warm water over the ball and wait a bit, then kick it; then I try to turn the ball so that I can smack the ice with a rock to break it up the ice and remove it.

The bad part is we have heating elements for the waterers but they were never installed. That figures. Haven't had temps here like this in more than 20 years they say.

Spring's going to look good this year and I won't even complain when I see the first fly!

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  #12  
Old 01/27/14, 08:40 PM
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Sorry G. I don't have any hands-on experience with them. I was interested in that style and was asking a guy at the farm store how they held up in winter, and he said 'lube the rim'. Mine non-ball type are doing fine, so I didn't put much more thought into what he said until this thread.

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  #13  
Old 01/28/14, 08:32 AM
 
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That's okay, maybe someone else will know. Thanks anyway!!!

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  #14  
Old 01/28/14, 08:47 AM
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We use this for our 2 hole auto waterer (2 cows and 4 goats using it):

http://www.orschelnfarmhome.com/hots...si6370854/cl1/

It attaches onto the underneath of the trough. On incredibly cold mornings like today we still have to remove some ice, but for the most part it keeps the water moving. We also usually keep one side closed off unless we have animals in both fields.

ETA: If you have the plastic inside fittings instead of the brass, consider swapping out for the brass, ours freezes a lot less that way.

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Old 01/28/14, 01:06 PM
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Re: brass vs. plastic.

Do you mean the actual valve and plumbing parts? Interesting. Do those ball style waterers have a supply line that comes in contact with the tank water? The "freeze-proof" kind I have is plumbed similarly to a toilet float, with the verticle stem of the valve fed on the interior of a large PVC that is resting inside of a deep hole to take advantage of geothermal heat. The water supply line and valve never comes into contact with the water reservoir. The waterer has a hood that creates an airspace for the float and valve and keeps the geothermal airspace air from mixing with outside air--as long as it has water. But eventually the whole thing will become a block of ice with no drinking--but the valve takes a *very* long time to freeze.

Re: Ritchie waterers. I have two small goat ones. They work great. I ran electric to them when I plumbed them, because they hold so little water that I didn't think there would ever be a chance that a bunch of goats could keep it from freezing, and I was right. I use submersible heaters in the tank and a cord style heater on the supply.

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  #16  
Old 01/29/14, 07:42 AM
 
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I learned this from HT and had success today with it. Thanks Jennifer L. and Awnry Abe.

The one-holer was starting to freeze over at chore time. I took a large drink cooler full of hot tap water to the farm and poured it in. The hot water freed the floating disk on the Ritchie Waterer right away and I went on with the other chores. Made it a short job which is good in the cold. The heater was trying to keep up. Thanks.

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  #17  
Old 01/29/14, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bret View Post
My Ritchie one hole-er with the floating plastic disc froze over with the south wind and sub zero temp. I did not sleep well worrying about it. I covered with the two layers of leftover geotextile fabric and put a hair dryer under it to thaw it out. It was OK when it returned to just normal freezing weather.

I bought a 250 watt infrared bulb and fixture for my peace of mind if the temp dips again this week if needed. I checked on it twice yesterday and it was OK at 12 degrees outside temp. Good luck team mates. We're in the game, not on the bench.
Hi Bret, this is Ritchie Industries. We wanted to offer some extra tips for your Thrifty King CT1. Be sure that your white closures is sitting at least 1/2" to 1" below the rim to allow water to wash off the side. Also, we strongly recommend not turning on the bulb under the unit. We have heaters specifically designed for our waterers that can easily plug in underneath if needed. The light bulbs are not designed to heat the units and could damage them. Please let us know if you have questions about your Thrifty King, we are happy to help.
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  #18  
Old 01/29/14, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Seddon View Post
I tried putting vaseline around the rim (Ritchie waterers) and it made no difference. The vaseline froze also. Is there some other lubricating stuff that you can use? It's worse when there is slush, snow, or ice.

The plastic balls develop an inch-thick rim of ice around the widest part. When this happens, I use my heel to kick the ball loose (if I can) or I pour some warm water over the ball and wait a bit, then kick it; then I try to turn the ball so that I can smack the ice with a rock to break it up the ice and remove it.

The bad part is we have heating elements for the waterers but they were never installed. That figures. Haven't had temps here like this in more than 20 years they say.

Spring's going to look good this year and I won't even complain when I see the first fly!
Hi this is Ritchie Industries. Your white closures should be sitting at least 1/2" - 1" below the rim. This will allow water to wash of the side and not pool around the edges causing them to freeze. Please let us know if you have any other questions about the waterers. We are happy to help.
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  #19  
Old 01/29/14, 08:17 AM
 
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Location: South Carolina
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Nice to see an industry rep on HT answering questions!

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  #20  
Old 01/29/14, 11:28 AM
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I love having the Ritchie Industries guy chime in. I'll remember that the next time I'm buying.

I have a Behlen two holer now, and while it has never frozen, I may still take Ritchie's advice and lower the level to keep the closures from touching the rim.

That may make the goats more willing to drink from them. They prefer to drink now from other sources. Probably because of the effort of pushing down the ball.

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