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Pure mischief
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I hope you're weathering winter where you are without too much difficulty.

I have a decent sized pasture for my little flock (Icelandics) and roaming area that would provide them a bit of forage under the snow but I have no power and no running water in it at this time of year.

We do get hard freezes so buckets would be at least a couple of times a day (and too much of a pain) and it's too far for power. So, any thoughts on keeping water clear for the flock during freezing times?

Many thanks in advance.
 

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I'm in Montana and about 1 week before our hard freeze hit we discovered a water leak. Turns out it is from the first hydrant on our line and our barn runs off of it. So when the hard freeze hit, it froze and we can't get water to the barn. I am hauling 8 6 gal buckets of water 2x's daily. I fill them in the house with warm water and load them in the pick up and haul them down. Not the most ideal situation, but you do what you have to.

As for deicing the trough, I use a tank heater and it works great for the horses. The goats and sheep just get buckets. They don't leave it there long enough to freeze.
 

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This post makes me thankful that we had electricity and water hydrants run to different parts of our pasture! I remember hauling many buckets for many years. We had converted the kid's jogging stroller into our water transport wagon! I'm also thankful that we don't live in an area that has extremly cold weather for very long.

I really like the fire under the water tank idea. Seems like one could build a fire pit and put the tank over it once the fire has burned down to hot coals. It would need an area that was open enough so that one could add more wood.

This site has another interesting idea, solar power! http://www.builditsolar.com/Experimental/StockTank/SolarStockTankProto.htm
 

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I feel your pain, I had a hydrant freeze this winter too. I decided to be stubborn about it and ended up breaking the handle off. So I've been the water bearer. I noticed that my sheep would rather eat snow than drink water, I wish I would have noticed that about fifty buckets earlier.
For your stock tank issues, I think they make a solar powered tank heater as well as a wind powered one. We are going to go with one of those earth insulated self watering gizmos this spring.
 

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Pure mischief
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A fire is a great idea for people who get to work from home <g>. I need something that is getting water to them all day while I'm off working to pay for their hay and I don't have to be messing with when I get home 'cause it's in the dark these days, as you know Empty :) .

Catahoula - that sounds like something I'd do! There's nothing like hauling buckets. I actually don't mind it when it's a small flock and it's not all of the time. I agree, mine are hardly drinking any water as they definitely prefer the snow. Our trouble is that we'll have about a month where there's not enough snow for them get hydrated but we're getting hard freezes.

The runs near the house have floating de-icers that work really really well so we've looked at panels that would charge a battery to run them. Our other problem -which would have been useful to include the the OP, I suppose, would be that we're in a heavily forested area so wind and solar aren't great, especially at this time of year. Although, I can see a spot that might work for that solar tank plan. I'm going to send dh the link and get his input.

The other thing I realized is that we could pay (ugh) for an electrician to put a plug on the pole that runs through the grazing area and I could plug in there. It would mean installing a metre there as well, I suspect but it might be worth looking into.

Thanks everyone.
 

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AppleJackCreek
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Flannelberry, good to see you!

We actually moved the winter pasture close enough that we could run a heavy duty extension cord to the tank, so we can use the electric tank deicer.

Canadian Tire has these big battery things on wheels (DH calls it the 'juice box') which you plug in (in the house) to charge, then can roll outside to use for power. In the nasty cold they won't hold juice all that long, esp for a tank deicer which draws a fair bit, but they aren't horridly expensive (they do go on sale periodically) and if you built a little insulated house for it to keep it up off the ground and out of the wind, it might work okay. Get 2 and you can have a constant supply.

Probably though if you brought it in at night to charge (when the sheep generally lie down and sleep anyway, so if there's no water, no biggie) and took it out in the morning to plug in, that'd work.

Email me if you need more info, I can look up the one we have (sorry, had, it finally bit the dust) online.
 

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A friend of mine has a propane deicer for her trough. It works great. She says it is a lot cheaper to operate than the electric ones. I've thought about it, but I have an electric outlet a foot away from my trough, so it works out great for me. Easy enough to unplug when not needed (on the few warmer days) and plug in when the temps drop below freezing.
 

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get another bucket about twice the size of the water bucket and fill it with manure leaving enough room to put your water bucket in. put your bucket in the middle so that the manure comes up close to the top. cover the top of the poo with some mulch or similar such thing. the manure creates heat as it decomposes. when it stops heating, throw it in your compost pile and add fresh. horse and cow manure seem to work best but i dont see why sheep wouldn't if you're short of those animals.
 

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thats the purpose of the mulch pretty much, it also helps keep in the warming action. i imagine you could cover it with anything insulating that the animals wont eat. it works tho.
 

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How many head are you carrying water for? I water with buckets before work and after work. They are just fine all day without water and will learn to drink when it is there and it freezes hard here within a 1/2 hour some days the buckets are froze! Also, sheep will nibble at the snow if they really need to. We once had a watering bowl that had an electrical short and was snapping the sheep when they drank out of it. How I figured it out was they just stopped drinking out of it and were eating snow. So, I would say between a bucket and some snow you are fine to got to work all day...
 

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In memoriam
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A friend of mine has a propane deicer for her trough. It works great. She says it is a lot cheaper to operate than the electric ones. I've thought about it, but I have an electric outlet a foot away from my trough, so it works out great for me. Easy enough to unplug when not needed (on the few warmer days) and plug in when the temps drop below freezing.
For $10 you can get a "Thermocube" which will do that for you

http://www.horse.com/Thermo-Cube-for-De-Icers-BEW19.html
 

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Pure mischief
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I water with buckets before work and after work. They are just fine all day without water and will learn to drink when it is there and it freezes hard here within a 1/2 hour some days the buckets are froze! Also, sheep will nibble at the snow if they really need to.
I'm talking about the time between real snow that they can eat and the start of the hard freeze season. This year we had a full month of needing to water during hard freeze. Right now I'm having to change their water because they're only interested in eating snow, of course! Carrying buckets in the morning is what I'm trying to avoid.
 
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