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How to prevent small animals from drowning in water trough

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  • How to prevent small animals from drowning in water trough

    I'm trying to think ahead here, we usually use shorter water troughs during the spring, summer & fall so animals drowning in them is usually not a problem. The problem usually happens when we use our large tall rubbermaid troughs with the water heaters. We've found a few squirrels thru out the years in them, that had apparently drowned. It really pains me to know the poor animal died this way but I really don't know how to prevent it. I had thought about trying to make a small ladder type thing out of wire and hanging that on the edge just to give the animal something to grab hold of to pull themselves out. But I have two very curious & destructive geldings that more than likely will pull it off anyway. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We just adopted 6 feral kitties this summer & the thought of them drowning gives me nightmares.

  • #2
    When we were out west some years ago we found most garbage cans in the parks equipped with a piece of mason lathe (1.5 in by less than .5 in by 3 ft piece of wood). In the distant reaches of the parks little critters would get in the cans and couldn't get out so this was the solution, complete with a sign on the lathe asking people to leave it be

    Now, I know your horses would pay about as much attention to this sign as mine would, but lathe is cheap so it is worth a try.


    • #3
      I can't figure out what you're talking about. You mean like a piece of wood fitted across from rim to rim? If the water is low, they won't reach it...

      I like the idea of something extending down the side to the bottom they can climb up on. Probably just a piece of PVC drainage pipe with the holes in it would work. Or, a piece of galvanized cage wire secured at the top running down the side? Where is Misty Blue when we need her, hmmm?
      Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


      • #4
        I have a corner of my big tubs off limits via hotwire - that's where I stick in a rough-cut (for traction) untreated 2X4, knobby limb, or thick piece of rope for the critters to grab and climb up...


        • #5
          Squirrel rope. Take a length of thick rope and loop it around the fence with the ends in the trough. Just use enough rope that it can make the loop and reach almost to the bottom of the trough.

          I was having a problem with dead squirrels and chipmunks until I started using squirrel ropes. Haven't had one since. And, my mare who will get into anything completely leaves them alone.
          "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


          • #6
            I've seen rope or cord used. Just drill a hole at the top of the trough and knot rope or cord through that. Tie a rock to other end and drop in the trough. Not as interesting for a horse to pull out like a piece of wood.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              The wood was just put in the barrels, one end at the bottom... thought it might work for water trough as well, but I'd go with the rope solutions. Much better and less interesting for horses. Though I do think the picture of one of the horses chasing the other around the field with a piece of wood funny.


              • #8
                I leave a rubber garden hose draped into the trough at all times. The few times my husband has talked me into removing the garden hose I've had to remove drowned squirrels. Every now and again my donkey removes the garden hose but since I check on the water level 3 times a day I can usually replace it before any small animals drown.
                "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                • #9
                  That's why someone keeps putting a hunk of wood in all our troughs! I have been systematically removing them only to find them back the next day! I thought it was someones strange attempt to keep slime down rather than cleaning them and kept forgetting to ask who was doing it!

                  I guess I will leave them in now since the horses don't seem to touch them. Glad I read this thread!
                  "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                  • #10
                    I have this problem with the pool. No water around this time of year and once or twice a week I have to fish something out from the night before. I think they try and drink from the pool, fall in, and drown trying to get out. If they can find the ladders, they'll be okay. But often they don't.

                    If it's a rat, I'm fine with it. I just make sure it's good and dead before I take it out. I won't make that mistake again!


                    • #11
                      We always just floated a board with rounded edges in case the horses felt like playing with it so they wouldn't poke an eye out.


                      • #12
                        I finally gave up on water tanks all together. I got so sick of filling a 180 tank and 3 days later I found 3 dead birds in it. Then I have to bail all the water, scrub and refill. Or dead cats, or the tank heats up in the sun and is full of algae. Everybody gets 5 gallon buckets in the run-ins now. Much simpler.


                        • #13
                          I used to have trouble with squirrels and frogs. I floated a small piece of a 2x4 and never had to fish anything out again. It seems like it would bee too smooth, but apparently it worked.


                          • #14
                            So are you saying just putting a small board in the water, and letting it float loose, would work? Once in a while I have to fish out a dead bird or a squirrel. There was one very lucky little squirrel who I saw just as its nose was going under and it was paddling in circles for all it was worth. I rescued that one; it was stunned (and very water-logged) but it finally started blinking and breathing, and then it ran away. The doves (not the rocket scientists of the birdy world) like to go in our swimming pool and sit on the round chlorine floater, and tilt it forward so they can reach down to get a drink. It must work OK; I haven't found a dove in the pol yet. But I wonder if I gave the critters an actual platform in the horses' water if *more* would hang out there and try to stnad/land on it like the doves do with the chlorine thing, and *more* would fall in?
                            Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
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                            • #15
                              Squirrel Rope ~ GREAT IDEA ~ THANKS ~

                              Originally posted by alabama View Post
                              Squirrel rope. Take a length of thick rope and loop it around the fence with the ends in the trough. Just use enough rope that it can make the loop and reach almost to the bottom of the trough.

                              I was having a problem with dead squirrels and chipmunks until I started using squirrel ropes. Haven't had one since. And, my mare who will get into anything completely leaves them alone.
                              Great idea ~ thanks ~~~
                              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                              • #16
                                This but in a different way

                                Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                                I finally gave up on water tanks all together. I got so sick of filling a 180 tank and 3 days later I found 3 dead birds in it. Then I have to bail all the water, scrub and refill. Or dead cats, or the tank heats up in the sun and is full of algae. Everybody gets 5 gallon buckets in the run-ins now. Much simpler.
                                Sometimes if the water tanks are getting nasty FAST then I empty them and set buckets of water inside the huge tank - usually three bucket fit and then the buckets are easier to re-fresh & refill... especailly good with winter turn-out
                                Last edited by Zu Zu; Aug. 5, 2010, 09:04 PM. Reason: addition
                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                • #17
                                  I've had good results with a 2 x 4 too...


                                  • #18
                                    We used concrete blocks to make stairs in the middle of the trough. The critters could climb up and then jump out. It worked fine. You have to use something heavy, or the horses will move it around. Thank you for thinking of the little guys!
                                    It's 2018. Do you know where your old horse is?

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