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Katie
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have ideas to keep the water from freezing? I seen electric water bottles but they were 29.00 each & DH said he's not getting them. Right now I am getting them warm water at least 4 times a day, what do all of you do? This is our 1st year/winter for rabbits & winter has just barely started here & already I'm thinking this is going to be a pain in the you know what.
 

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STILL not Alice
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How many rabbits are you watering?

Depending on how cold it gets, I do one of two things.

If the temps are in the 20's or above, I bring out the water bottles with the "ball spigots" on them, filled with warm water, twice a day. The rabbits figure out pretty quickly that this is the time to drink, and they guzzle it right down.

If it's so cold that the rabbits' tongues will stick to metal, I put out crockery bowls twice a day, and fill them with warm water.

The rabbits do just fine, and they haven't dehydrated yet.
 

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Obviously your in a place where water freezes. In Alaska, the easiest way we had to do that, was switch water containers when we watered, we simply took the frozen ones in and put them on the woodstove and put fresh unfrozen ones in their cages. If we wanted to be real nice, we just chipped the ice. It would take less than 2 hours for it to freeze tight, so I'd make me night rounds with an ice pick or such and chip them out a little ice. Its not a bigger deal than you make of it.

I learned from having sled dogs that they'd get hydration however they needed it, up there, mostly from snow.



DG


Does anyone have ideas to keep the water from freezing? I seen electric water bottles but they were 29.00 each & DH said he's not getting them. Right now I am getting them warm water at least 4 times a day, what do all of you do? This is our 1st year/winter for rabbits & winter has just barely started here & already I'm thinking this is going to be a pain in the you know what.
 

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Pook's Hollow
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Last night, I went to the thrift store and picked up some small plastic bowls to give to the outside bunnies. That gives me extra bottles, so I can bring frozen ones in and fresh ones back out. I need to get some kind of clamps to stop them tipping the bowls out, but at least they get a drink.

It's a pain, but you do get into a routine -eventually. I wasn't prepared for it to get this cold, this early!
 

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Premium Member
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I don't bring the cold in/warm out - hate having to trek back and forth.

What we do is use plastic bowls that have a bit of 'flex' to them (when grabbing each side you can twist the bowl just a wee bit). I tap a 5 gallon bucket of water from the water hydrant and then start watering the rabbits. My strategy is to first try and pop the frozen water out of the plastic bowl by 'twisting' the bowls - 90% of the time the ice just pops right out. Back up strategy is to just dump the entire bowl + ice into my 5 gallon bucket - only takes a few seconds for the bowl to separate from the ice. I toss the ice, using either strategy, into a spare bucket, fill the empty bowl, and move to the next cage.

When it's bitter cold out, like -30, the plastic bowls will snap in half when twisted, on occasion. I keep a spare supply on hand. I buy the bowls at yard sales for virtually nothing.

Still, I hate the winter watering!
 

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Last night, I went to the thrift store and picked up some small plastic bowls to give to the outside bunnies. That gives me extra bottles, so I can bring frozen ones in and fresh ones back out. I need to get some kind of clamps to stop them tipping the bowls out, but at least they get a drink.

It's a pain, but you do get into a routine -eventually. I wasn't prepared for it to get this cold, this early!
That's the whole problem, isn't it? Staying ahead of the seasons.

Dollarama has some cool metal aligator chip bag clips, I think they are 2/$1. They are 3-4 inches long, strong, narrow and don't rust. I use them to hold things in place for the rabbits.

Yesterday in desperation I rounded up all the disposible freezer containers I could find - the cube-shaped ones that hold about 2 cups of water. I just found enough, then realized that one had a split. I was so annoyed because it meant I was one short. Then the lightbulb went on, and I realized that by wiring a damaged one in place, I could set a good one inside it. Means it will be pretty easy to lift out the "liner" for refilling. I hope - unless it bulges as it freezes and gets stuck. I think this general idea may work well for lightweight plastic containers, to keep them from being so easily tipped. I desperately need to go to the dollar store myself (instead of sending Brian with a list) to see what is available.

It's minus 8 C. (18 F) this morning but the sunshine is brilliant this morning, pouring in the window. Means I have to have a shade for my computer monitor so I can see the screen, but oh my! what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. :sing:
 

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STILL not Alice
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I hijacked a bunch of Nick's spring clamps from the garage to hold the bowls in place. They're small, about 3 1/2 inches long, but they're perfect for clipping the bowls to the cage, and they are STRONG!

I highly recommend those clamps. You can get the clamps at Harbor Freight in a big package. I'm thinking of going there today to get some for the interim, because the rest of ours are packed and moved to the farm...

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92874

 

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I used the plastic bowls I got from Wal Mart (They're made by Van Ness, hard chew proof plastic that doesn't shatter when you whack the ice out of it!)

They seem to work okay in the hutches, in the wire cages they just tossed them around, I tried to wire them in, I suppose I could drill a hole and screw them on, if I was a handy sort of girl...

Seems I have two smart bunnies and two stupid ones out there, the smart ones kept a hole in their water and still had water this am, the other two had dumped their bowls. The rest all still have bottles, yay, what a royal pain that is! I'm hoping for some decent weather this weekend so I can get about 6 of them culled and move the rest of the cages!
 

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STILL not Alice
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Yeah, I have to get out there and send 9 juniors to camp. I do NOT want to move them as well as the adults and Wanda's latest litter. (6 hale and hearty popples; smallish litter, but OTOH, no runts and no losses.)

ARGH!

Hope we get it all packed and OUT of here this weekend.
 

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Tractor supply has heated stock tanks. Get one of those and fill it with water and plug it in. The water will stay around 40 degrees.
If you are using water bottles throw the frozen bottles in the stock tank and they will thaw pretty quick. You can also use the warm water for crocks. The investment in a stock tank is well worth it so you are not lugging water.
 

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An Ozark Engineer
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Tractor supply has heated stock tanks. Get one of those and fill it with water and plug it in. The water will stay around 40 degrees.
If you are using water bottles throw the frozen bottles in the stock tank and they will thaw pretty quick. You can also use the warm water for crocks. The investment in a stock tank is well worth it so you are not lugging water.
This is what I have done for years. Small number of rabbits = small water tank about 1/3 full of water and some type of improvised lid & birdbath de-icer. Have two sets of water bottles. Toss frozen ones in the tank after fishing out thawed bottles. I also set a few plastic juice jugs of water in the tank for refills. Check and change out bottles twice a day or as needed.

NeHi
 

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Katie
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I've been doing about the ssame as all of you, I bought some plastic dishes at the pet store for 1.99 & there the thick one's so they don't crack but that gave me extra & I just keep switching them out at least 3 times a day.

Pony, we only have 6 rabbits but 1 doe has new kits so I have been doing the water change about 4 times a day.

I have just figured out through experimenting that I took fairly heavy old blankets & covered the cages(so the front's are all covered) that the water is not completely frozen in the a.m. when I go down to take care of critters. There has been some ice on the top but all the bun's have broke through it & still have water in the bowls.

Lead's to another question.....? the water bottles won't get damaged by freezing will they? Then drip too much next year, etc.?

I think someone should invent like a cozy for the water dishes, that would help too, I'm just not smart enough to figure out what to use yet. I'm keeping with the blankets for now too.
 

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STILL not Alice
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Katie, you may not have to go out there quite so often. The rabbits will learn to drink when the water is available, and do well. If you think about it, wild rabbits don't have water in their burrows.

Nick and I tried to come up with a heated set up for the rabbits, using those little desk top coffee mug warmers. Couldn't figure out a way to keep the rabbits from chewing the cords (so darned inquisitive, they are!) and the more we worked on it, the more convoluted it became.

I like the tank waterer idea. May set up something like that once we're at the farm. Anyone have an idea of about how much those cost?

As for the bottles, I've had good luck so far. Don't know how the nalgene bottles will hold up over the winter, but the regular old plastic ones have been around since we started, and they're intact.
 

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Joy
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We just switch out the water bottles twice a day, morning & evening. Take the frozen ones up to the house, let them thaw, & take them back out at switch time.

-Joy
 

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OlivYew Farm
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I live in Georgia so it doesn't get quite so cold. My rabbits drink from bowls or veggie cans you get at the store. A few years ago I had water bottles and always switched to bowls for winter. A breeder friend who lives in the NC mountains has knitted covers for her water bottles. If I were a handy knitter it would be something I'd consider doing.
 

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STILL not Alice
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The bottle sleeves is an interesting idea, but often the nozzles on the bottles here freeze before the water inside does -- and the water inside the bottle defrosts before the nozzle!
 

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On another forum, a lady said that she puts 1 tsp. of glycerin per gallon of water for her rabbits and it keeps the water from freezing and does not affect the rabbits.

I'm thinking of trying it.

Any opinions?
 

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Incubator Addict
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On another forum, a lady said that she puts 1 tsp. of glycerin per gallon of water for her rabbits and it keeps the water from freezing and does not affect the rabbits.

I'm thinking of trying it.

Any opinions?
If I was going to add anything to the water I'd rather do something like electrolytes. Anything that ionizes will give you freezing point depression, which means it will stay unfrozen at colder temperatures. I'm not sure if you would be able to add in an amount to impact freezing without it being too strong through.

Kayleigh
 

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I use heating cables inside the water line that runs to each cage. I'm down to 20 cages now but I wouldn't do it any other way. I really like knowing the rabbits have water 24 hours a day in a cold barn.
 

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Pook's Hollow
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I use heating cables inside the water line that runs to each cage. I'm down to 20 cages now but I wouldn't do it any other way. I really like knowing the rabbits have water 24 hours a day in a cold barn.

What diameter is your water line? That sounds like an interesting set-up. When I get my barn sorted out ( some day!), I want to run a water line to all the cages and it would be good to do it right the first time. At the mink farm where I work, they have quite the set-up - there's a tankless water heater and a very large reservoir to keep the water above 5C at all times. Little bit pricey for a few buns though!
 
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