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Discussion Starter #1
How do you deal with frozen water in tubs?

So far we have only had a few days where this has been an issue (and only over night). I have simply been breaking the ice but I wonder if I can keep up with it when it freezes 24/7. We are home pretty much all the time so I can go out every couple of hours to do it but I have no idea how quickly it will freeze back up.

What is your preferred method? Do you have a heated water bowl system you like?
 

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Right now we don't have a good system but have the benefit of being home most days. We just go out several times a day and chip it away. That's what we did last year at least, this year has just begun!
 

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Heating water with electricity, propane, etc is very expensive.

We use continuously flowing water from springs to buried waterers (65 gallon plastic drums sunk in the ground). The spring water is relatively warm (45°F or so) and the motion keeps the water from freezing. Shrouding the waterers in the winter creates a microclimate that helps. This solution requires springs higher up the mountain so it won't work everywhere. The ground heat is free energy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, Walter. I don't like the idea of using electric with water so that would be a last resort. And, of course, cost is a factor as well. Unfortunately our creek is on the other side of the road so we cannot easily divert water from it. But I like the idea of the waterer sunk in the ground.
 

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Not sure how cold y'all get down there, but what about insulating the tank(s)? That silver "bubble wrap" insulation is easy to work with, thin and not too pricey. Depending on the size of the tank you might even be able to fashion a partial lid lined with the silver stuff to help hold in the heat generated during sunny hours.

Read an article where a fella made a three sided box of sorts to set his tank in and filled the extra space with foam insulation. The one open side was faced south, and covered with a panel of that clear plastic roofing material and acted as a solar heater. He added an insulated cover that had an opening large enough to drink through and solved his icing problems. IIRC he was in a colder climate, so that might be a bit overkill for you but it's an idea anyway.

This is one of my concerns as well as i move forward, and since i can't count on finding land that has a free running spring no matter how cold it gets, finding cheap operating alternatives is a must. Walter has a very nice setup, and although not everyone has water brimming from the ground 12 months a year in sub zero temps, some of his techniques may be of some use.
 

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Next year I intend to try putting a barrel in a spring but for this year I bought a submersible tank heater a few days ago and it seems to be working fine, even the nipple waterer in the side of the barrel stays thawed.
 

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Up in Alaska I have to use the heated bucket. I used to haul water to the animals and I got concerned it was freezing before they had a chance to drink it. I was basing this opinion on how much ice I was having to remove from the tub at watering times. Now that I have the heated bucket, I figured out that we were giving them way too much water. Didn't seem possible, but there you have it. Always had heard how much more water they drink in they winter due to more dry feed etc, but anymore than 2 gallons a day just gets left in the buckets. That's my experience in any case.
EDIT_ that's 2 gallons per animal btw on average, not 2 gallons for the whole farm
 

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I water mine in rubber tubs....I give them fresh a couple times a day. Maybe someday I'll have some better way.

I'll never complain again about watering all my animals with buckets carried from a somewhat close hydrant after going through my water lines outside all freezing last winter and having to water everything I own by carrying water from my bathtub in the house....:D....most of jan and feb...it took forever to chore...I never really ever got done doing chores...it was a riot...:D. It will probably happen again this year because I didn't get dirt put over where I needed to....time is just flying!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We're having the worst November snow in decades; I have 8 weeks of 2-a-day hauling water left before butcher day. I hate ice.
Our November has been colder than usual as well. We moved to this area in October last year and all we hear from long time residents "we have never seen anything like this before". I guess we moved in just in time for a cycle of colder winters :)
 

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I water mine in rubber tubs....I give them fresh a couple times a day. Maybe someday I'll have some better way.

I'll never complain again about watering all my animals with buckets carried from a somewhat close hydrant after going through my water lines outside all freezing last winter and having to water everything I own by carrying water from my bathtub in the house....:D....most of jan and feb...it took forever to chore...I never really ever got done doing chores...it was a riot...:D. It will probably happen again this year because I didn't get dirt put over where I needed to....time is just flying!
Got all my water lines covered. I did put a new hose in for some feeders a couple days ago. Put insulation around the hose. It is 9 degrees here this morning. Hope that line didn't freeze last night. Will cover that line with dirt as soon as the ground is soft enough. :)
 

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we used a blue barrel up on a stand with the nipples. That said Oklahoma in not the great north. the blue barrels would warm up in sunlight and the nipples would thaw so on most days the water would flow. for days it was never above freezing we had to hand water. If we had pigs allthe time I would have the pig version of our cattle waterer. They work great and never freeze. the water comes up in the middle and is insulated enough so it will not freeze ans no electric is required
 

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Up in Alaska I have to use the heated bucket. I used to haul water to the animals and I got concerned it was freezing before they had a chance to drink it. I was basing this opinion on how much ice I was having to remove from the tub at watering times. Now that I have the heated bucket, I figured out that we were giving them way too much water. Didn't seem possible, but there you have it. Always had heard how much more water they drink in they winter due to more dry feed etc, but anymore than 2 gallons a day just gets left in the buckets. That's my experience in any case.
EDIT_ that's 2 gallons per animal btw on average, not 2 gallons for the whole farm
I don' t have an exact number but since its been freezing temperatures out, our young stock have been drinking less. I think they are more comfortable, they still play and root between eating (free feed), they just don't hang out at the drinking barrel for so long. Lol! :buds:

Our older pigs have free run of 2+ acres and 24/7 access to a stream for drinking water.

I gotta say we love this 1500 watt submersible tank heater... Its WAY better than hauling buckets and chipping ice! We just unroll the hose and fill it up as needed. I don't know how much my electric bill will go up yet... :bdh:
 

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I don' t have an exact number but since its been freezing temperatures out, our young stock have been drinking less. I think they are more comfortable, they still play and root between eating (free feed), they just don't hang out at the drinking barrel for so long. Lol! :buds:

Our older pigs have free run of 2+ acres and 24/7 access to a stream for drinking water.

I gotta say we love this 1500 watt submersible tank heater... Its WAY better than hauling buckets and chipping ice! We just unroll the hose and fill it up as needed. I don't know how much my electric bill will go up yet... :bdh:
the wife unplugs ours every chance she gets. It really only stays plugged in at night. We fear the power bill, too. Hogs are remarkably tolerant of cold I find. Even these market breed types we have up here. It's a convenience thing for us mostly to have the heated buckets.
 

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My pigs seem to have stopped drinking. I am going to start butchering in a couple weeks before weather got really bad. So much for that. Anyway I was using a 5 gal bucket with a nipple in it, which seems to work ok. However now that it is freezing I have switched to an open bucket and water 3 times a day. They were drinking about 15 gals a day before freezing weather. Now they are only drinking 4 gals a day and do not even seem interested in it. They seem fine and content, when I water them they barely take notice. If I watch them for awhile one or two take a small drink. Usually they go back and forth between feed and water as they are eating. I feed a dry feed 16% hog feed and have added cracked corn as the weather got colder.
 

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Last year, I would give them a couple buckets of water a couple or few times a day. Most often I would find them flipped over and I wonder how much they actually drank.

This year, for the winter, we have a couple of 4 inch wide pvc pipes that are about 4 feet or so in length, with nipples on the bottom. They hold 2.6 gallons of water. I just wrapped each with a 6' heat cable today. The cables are 42 watts each. We'll see how that works. Ill probably fill them a couple times a day or so. The heat cables have a built in thermostat but I may get a timer for them to only run at certain times. I may also wrap the pipes in something to help direct the heat inward, instead of radiating outward.
 

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we used a blue barrel up on a stand with the nipples. That said Oklahoma in not the great north. the blue barrels would warm up in sunlight and the nipples would thaw so on most days the water would flow. for days it was never above freezing we had to hand water. If we had pigs allthe time I would have the pig version of our cattle waterer. They work great and never freeze. the water comes up in the middle and is insulated enough so it will not freeze ans no electric is required

Where do you get one of these? The only ones I've found online are too tall for young feeder pigs to reach.
 
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