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Another livestock waterer that delays freezing.

Countryside: I liked Jeff Gerken's article regarding the use of straw insulated tires to reduce livestock water freezing in the 91/2 issue. I plan to try Jeff's method.

I have an alternative that also works successfully. I buy used heavy plastic tubs that originally contained molasses/sweet feed for cattle at local spring community sales for roughly $2 or less. I bury the tubs in manure up to within one to two inches of the tub's heavy top lip. When the manure sinks down due to horse/cattle stepping around it, I simply add more manure along the sides. It appears the manure "heats," thus keeping the water in the tub from freezing. Only a relatively thin ice cover forms on top and about three or four inches along the top sides of tub. Usually, the horses tap the surface ice with their mouth/hooves to clear the ice. One tub holds about 20-25 gallons, which appears adequate for two horses per day. If the outside temperature gets below zero and ice forms, I pick the tub out of the "manure hole" and tap the sides of the plastic tub with a cane or stick, easily releasing the ice from the sides. I use an old kitchen French fry strainer to remove the ice from the remaining water, thus conserving the remaining water. If a gap appears between the manure and the tub, I force straw in the gap for insulation.

An alternative for the heavy plastic tubs are the muck tubs sold at the local farm stores; however, the recyclable molasses tubs are twice as thick and a quarter or less of the new bucket cost. The "manure method" was used by my 94-year-old father when he farmed in the cold climes of South Dakota in the 1930s. He placed manure around stock tanks to limit freezing.
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:Triebwasser, Lyle
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 2007
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