Keeping water from freezing w/o electricity

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by thegriffiths, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. thegriffiths

    thegriffiths Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    186
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Charleston, WV
    Hello all,

    My barn is far from electricity, although I use 12 volt batteries to run lights when I do need to have it. I dont think the batteries would last long enough to run some kind of heating element so I need options for keeping water in the barn animals water dishes from freezing. Or if you know of a very very low watt way to keep it warm enough that would work also.

    Thanks in advance.

    The Griffiths
     
  2. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    try searching.. I am sure something non-electric is still available.
     

  3. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,787
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Location:
    IL, right smack dab in the middle
    They make waterers for this any good farmstore should sell them.
    If its just a small dish I think your out of luck but most animals learn to drink when the water is liquid.
     
  4. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    261
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado to Nevada
    they make a propane water tank heater. other than that, I would not know except to pack it to them everyday.
     
  5. sheepish

    sheepish Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,714
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario
    How many animals do you have?

    There are insulated stock tanks available that will keep water from freezing as long as there is sufficient water taken from the tank. We have used them sucessfully with over 50 sheep to a waterer, but when there were only 5-10 sheep allocated to that waterer, it would freeze up in exceptionally cold weather. (-15C in the daytime)

    These were located in the barn with all pipes well underground.
     
  6. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

    Messages:
    826
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Upper East Tennessee
    There is a battery operated air pump that keeps air bubbling through your water.... moving water is harder to freeze. I forget which catelog I saw it in. And I know I am going to spell this wrong, sisterns - water tanks buried in the ground..... ground heat will keep water from freezing up to a point. The way Nelson automatic waterers are put into concrete culberts that are many feet below your freeze line uses ground heat to keep the lines unfrozen..... there are ways but none that are easy to do.
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    NW OR
    Seriously? Animals don't need constant access to water. If they did, then most of them would die every winter when water freezes up, which it does for everyone, including animals in the wild. Twice a day I chop holes in the ice, it's a pain, but nobody's died yet. Most of my livestock depend on water that is outside. For small animals like rabbits, I simply keep another set of water bottles, load the frozen ones in a bucket, keep it behind the woodstove, and change them out in the evening (when rabbits are most likely to drink). I have a water bladder that I use in my horse trailer in the summer, I keep it in a garden cart, fill it with a hose at the house, and use it to fill buckets for goats in the barn. Trying to keep everyone "unfrozen" is more trouble than just hauling the water and not worrying about it so much.
     
  8. lsulenes

    lsulenes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    SE Kansas
    Neighbor man was visiting with me earlier this winter and shared an interesting old trick when he told me he had been out to get the waterers ready for cold weather. I asked what he was talking about and this is what he shared.

    Using those large plastic tubs that feed/mineral comes in (or could possibly use 5 gal buckets?) he uses a stack of old tires on the outside of it that is packed with sawdust or dirt. He begins by putting the tub in the first tire and then filling in around it with either sawdust or earth. Then he puts the next tire over the tub and fills in again. He continues this until he has the tires up to the top of the tub/bucket. Depending on the type of tub/bucket that you use, you could use truck or tractor tires, or whatever you have available. He says that he has been doing this for years and has never had one freeze solid. He has the temp drop enough to create a thin layer of ice, but it can be broken with water underneath it.

    I haven't tried it yet, but after this last winter storm, I think I may have to look up some old tires. Who knows.
     
  9. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I don't know your set-up, but I use a oil lamp to keep my brooder for my baby/young chicks warm. I feel with a little thought on design and safety you could use a oil lamp to keep your water from freezing. I built a metal box the size of the brooder with a door on the side--the brooder sits on top of this box---the lamp is inside the metal box with the top of the lamp a few inches from the top---the box has some vent holes close to the top on the sides so smoke can get out. I have used it several times with good luck. Randy
     
  10. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    261
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado to Nevada
    when it's 23 below at nights what is your suggestions???
     
  11. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    Haul water daily, Swollen Tongue. :) No other options unless you have electricity - take it from an Albertan!

    I did see a battery operated birdbath deicer, it wouldn't last long, but might do for those who are in warmer climates than here and have say, small animals in need of liquids for a day or two. It's made by Solar Sipper - google it, I expect they have info on their site.

    I do try to delay the freezing by putting the buckets inside larger buckets (actually the big buckets trees are delivered in) filled with straw as insulation, and try to keep the water away from the wind, etc. We use heavy rubber buckets, so when there's ice inside you can throw/beat on/bash against the ground until the ice breaks up and comes out. We have huge chunks of ice everywhere that we have to try to remember to toss in the ditch.

    Our trick for hauling water is a blue water jug, like you put on a water cooler. We fill it at the sink (outside taps freeze) and put the lid on so it doesn't splash, then haul it out to the animals. If The Boy is doing it (he's only 11) he tows it in a sled since it's kinda heavy to haul. To be honest, I do that too sometimes. Works great, holds enough to fill the bucket for the sheep and a splash left over for the chickens.
     
  12. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    I dont even have a barn here. I have 20 rabbits, and have had upwards of 60, plus outside dogs. I haul water 2wice a day for them. Slightly warm, but not too warm, as hot water freezes faster. I keep 2 sets of water crocks per rabbit in a bucket I carry out. rotate crocks, bring the bucket o frozen inside to thaw. Very low maintenance compared to bottles, I think. They drink when I bring the water.
    For livestock, I would suggest using the black rubber buckets that are easy to bash on the ground, to avoid rotation. haul twice a day. the animals will get it real fast.
     
  13. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    467
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    NW AR
    consider a solar water heater? check out the MEN archive or countryside archive for info and ideas, maybe even post the question on how to make one on the alt energy board here?
     
  14. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,180
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    WI
    I haul water morning and night, and mid-day if I am home and have time to spare. I fill my buckets when I empty them, so they are sitting at room temp for half a day, or overnight, so the water is warmer than faucet temp. My chickens lay all winter, although of course not as much as summer, and that depends a lot on their ages and when they molted. This winter I had a lot of young chickens in the fall, as my hens hatched some later than I prefer, and a neighbor had too many chickens for his needs and gave me some in the fall.
     
  15. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina

    OK--How about a metal bucket/box about the size of a 5 gal bucket with a door, with a few 1" holes close to the bottom, with a 2 to 3" hole a few inches from the top, with a small flue pipe to carry the smoke outside, with one of those little metal kerosene burner thing's(forgot the name--call it a burner) has a wick that you light in the top center, burns hours and hours. set this thing inside, put a metal container of water on top, maybe some kind of well insulated side and top, with a place in one side where the animals can get to the water, might have to play with the height above the "Burner" etc so it don't get the water to warm-------Hey Its A Idea. Randy
     
  16. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
  17. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,047
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    NY - Finger Lakes Region
    Every one of the above suggestions that involve open flames sound like recipes for barn fires, to me. :shrug:
     
  18. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I Guess with your design---you see it sitting with hay all over it, cob webs etc-----My Original post mentioned---To Design it where it will be safe. I picture it----kept well cleaned around it, fixed where it can't be disturbed/turned over or nothing flamable can get to it or in it. Should be safe if some thought is put into it---also it doesn't have to be "IN" the barn. A wood heater in a house is not going to be safe---unless "WE" instal it correctly/safely and keep it that way. Thanks Randy
     
  19. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    You don't say how far away your barn is, but extension cords reach a mightly long ways.

    Clear plastic tubing strung up where the sun hits it thaws very well in even frigid cold. It's a good way to run water to an outside waterer (so the sun hits everything).

    And sometimes a bucket to carry water in is simply the best way.
     
  20. kasilofhome

    kasilofhome Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,482
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska- Kenai Pen- Kasilof
    This is what we are doing this year. Since I do Not have (do not know yet how to ad my location to my name thing) I state yet again we live in ALASKA. minus 23 is not a big deal to us ---I only jump for joy at that temp after a week of minus 35.

    1. we dug a deep pit and framed it with wood we deep compost started early in the fall.
    2. Now the buckets sit on top of a wire frame (allows for drainage-spills)
    3. No freezing even when the temps were minus 36
    Our coop is warm and dry.
    No flame I am to afraid of a fire to risk it. but we have talked about an out door wood stove with a handmade tank and the running water thru it. That is what we would have done this year if Ed Mcmann had turned up with the winning ticket.

    We kind made the pit like the like the people who heated their home with compost.