what do you use for water dishes in freezing temps?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Wildfire_Jewel, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our rabbits all got moved to an unheated shed this year and I am not sure what to use for water dishes now. We use bottles the rest of the year but they will be ruined if they freeze. I used the ceramic crocks as a kid but those had a tendency to break. I was worried about using the metal dishes as I don't want them to get their mouths or tongues stuck to the cold metal.
    Thanks for your help!!
    Melissa
     
  2. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    my experience has been that ceramic crocks with straight sides break. those with slanted sides dont. one year we went to goodwill and bought glass bowls like for a side of fruit. all had slanted sides, and none broke. we just got 2 per hutch and traded them out as the water froze. then the extra is put in the sink or a bucket in the house to thaw.
     

  3. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    If you don't have too many cages to tend, a second set of bottles may work for you. I am carrying seven through the winter, and have two sets of bottles. One set is in the utility room overnight, and goes out first thing in the morning to switch out with the frozen ones. The frozen ones are brought in to thaw, and the scenario is repeated as often as necessary.

    Hope this helps.

    NeHi
     
  4. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like to use those plastic dog/cat food bowls that when you flip them over, there is an air space around the food compartment...that way I can flip the frozen bowls over, run hot water over them , and the ice pops right out...kinda like a big ice cube.
     
  5. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    well, we are carrying 25+ with more litters due. Hopefully we will sell off the unecessary show rabbits this weekend.....but we will still be over 20 even then. We have done the bottles before in the cold and if the kids bang them together at all when they are frozen they crack.....and at 5-7 bucks a bottle I do not want to be replacing them all. I will have to look for the sloped sided crocks. Thanks!!
     
  6. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    I live where it freezes up, and I have tried every suggestion over the years. A second set of bottles is the only one that works. Not the most convenient, but it gets water to the rabbits. I've done this with upwards of 40 cages. We carry them in 5 gallon buckets and put them behind the woodstove. One reason I no longer raise that many rabbits!
     
  7. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    I use the 20 oz plastic Lock-Crocks year round. (around 33 holes) In the winter, I fill a couple gallon milk jugs with hot tap water, and pour it over the ice to melt it in the AM and the evening. If you keep the crocks about 2/3 filled, there will be room to thaw the ice this way. The rabbits quickly learn to break through the ice and chew it, and usually keep a clear area in the center of the crock. When they get too full to melt with hot water, I take them outside. One good whack against the side of the barn pops the ice free. I've yet to break one of these crocks doing this.
    I'm in eastern Ohio - not sure how well this would work in Maine or Minnesota.

    Personally, I am not a fan of water bottles in the winter. Even when the water is not frozen in the bottles, the tube can freeze. Rabbits need plenty of water to eat well. JMHO. :)

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  8. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    tytytyty!!! I wondered if those would hold up to freezing!! We are headed to 3 shows htis weekend and will have to pick up more at the cage dealers booth!
    Thanks again!!
    Melissa
    Fun, Fur and Feathers
     
  9. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    To clarify, Melissa: I smack them sharply so the entire outside edge hits flat against the barn. Don't hit the side of the crock against it, I'd think you'd be more likely to crack them.
    Best,
    Lisa
     
  10. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

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    This is pretty much what we do...we have 14 cages...and have 2 bottles for each cage. (we use the plastic bottles and dont fill them up all the way, we have had no problems with them breaking when freezing and had them several years. We just keep one set inside and then take them out in the a.m., bringing in the frozen ones to thaw and/or refill...let them sit and do the same over and over. It works for us.

    Belinda
     
  11. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    I was very happy with the rubber pet bowls that are a small version of horse feeding buckets. (Jeffers) I will flip them over and step on them to get the ice out then refill with warm water. When it is really cold, I will do it twice a day. They don't break and the rabbits don't really chew on them.

    I agree with the metal tube of water bottles being frozen before the water in the bottles. Always wondered why their little tongues didn't stick to the metal balls.
     
  12. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    When I lived in Michigan, and faced horrible freezing temps in the winter time, this is another solution I came up with:

    I placed a stock tank in a corner of the rabbit barn, filled it halfway with water, and put a stock tank de-icer in it. In the mornings, I fished the water bottles out of the tank, and put the frozen ones into the tank. By mid-day, I could repeat the process, and again in the evening. It worked very well, except my hands got really, really, REALLY cold from fishing the bottles out of the water, then working in the cold air with wet hands. Didn't quite figure out how to solve that problem! I did this all winter long with about 30 cages.

    Now that I live in Southern Missouri, the winter temps aren't such a problem. Thank goodness!

    NeHi
     
  13. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    I use plastic dog dishes from the dollar store, you can twist them a little or tap the bottom and ice pops out, I got a great deal on some 32 oz ones at an all for a dollar store, 2 for one, otherwise they cost me 1.50. I use them in the summer for feed or water dishes in xtra pens if needed.
     
  14. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    I know someone in MN who uses and swears by those black rubber dishes.

    Hey, the stock tank idea is a good one. How about getting one of those heated buckets for horses? When we have sub zero weather, my hubby has plugged in the bucket heater for me to thaw out and fill dishes (I had forgotten about that, since I don't do it that often)
    For the cold hands problem, if you get those heavy black coated rubber gloves, you can work in water for a while before your hands start to get cold. Their kinda bulky and stiff to work in, but just to protect you when you put your hands in the water might work.

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  15. PygmyLover

    PygmyLover nigerian & pygmy breeder

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    yah that is what we did, and it works great!

    All you have to do is bring some water out with you and then pour it on the bottom then fill up the dish.
     
  16. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I did not know they sold those black rubber bowls in rabbit size. that would be the best choice, I think, if the rabbits don't chew them. the reason? I once read a thread from someone in Alaska. they said it sometimes got to 70 below zero, and the black rubber buckets is what they used for their goats. she said she just bashed them on a tree, and the ones she had were several years old.
     
  17. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    The black rubber dishes are dog dishes so guess that's the department you'd look in. Fleet Farm carried them, probably still does. We used to have some until the dogs decided they made great chew toys (same with the black rubber buckets). I use the black rubber horse feeding pans for duck waterers (we get in the -30 range). They sure don't break regardless of how thick the ice is. I wonder if rabbits would chew them though?
     
  18. LizinNH

    LizinNH Well-Known Member

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    I use the black rubber bowls for all my animals. I have a 15 gallon size all the way down to 2 quart. When they freeze I flipp them over and stomp on them with both feet if needed. I love them and hate using anything else in the winter. My second option in winter is metal pans.

    As for keeping your hands warm and dry in the winter when working with the water dishes and bottles, I wear Deep Sea diving gloves. Any water that does get in warms up to your body temp so you don't get cold. They are flexible and easy to work in. The velcro closures at the top allow you to get your hands right down into buckets to fish out ice chuncks or scrub them out.

    Liz In NH
     
  19. tbishop

    tbishop Well-Known Member

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    Try neoprene gloves. You can get them at any good hunting/sporting goods store. Keep your hands warm even when soaked. Same material wetsuits are made from.

    Tim B.
     
  20. LadyofTheBarn

    LadyofTheBarn I Love My Dairy Goats <3

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    I use water bottles and metal dishes that hang on the sides of cages during the summer. But over winter i do no use water bottles and stick to just those metal dishes.


    Allison