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Talk to me about winter watering

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  • Talk to me about winter watering

    Horses are coming "home" by mid November, usually not too cold here then but last year was the first time we had snow in Nov in many years!

    I have a spigot just outside the gate (which means making sure things don't freeze up in the hose after each use, etc); Right now my plan is to run an extension cord for a water tank heater for a rubbermaid 100gal, but interested in hearing what other folks do for water in the winter when you can't run electric or put in a frost-free waterer.

    Thanks!
    RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

  • #2
    just a thought about that extension cord.... why not bury a proper power cable like a UF grade direct burial conductor now before everything freezes ?

    Extension cords and heaters are not a good mix


    Not responsible for typographical errors.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think most people on this forum are going to toe the line and give you the "you shouldn't use extension cords with tank heaters" response. There's good reason not to.

      With that said,(flame suit zipped) if you visit any number of farms in the wintertime, you're going to find the vast majority of them running extension cords to their water troughs.

      I watch the weather like a hawk and try to stay ahead of it. I make sure troughs are full before any big freezes. If we're going to have an extended deep freeze, I fill up extra buckets/troughs in advance, then turn off the water to my spigot. Usually if I do that, it won't freeze up and I can still use it periodically throughout the deep freeze.

      Disconnect the horse after use, or use a 2-way "Y" splitter on your hose so you can open one side. Drain your hose.

      Last winter I bought bucket coozies for the stalls. While water will still freeze, they do cut down on icing quite a bit.

      I also bought a pocket hose last winter, since my main 100' hose is on a hose reel, which makes it cumbersome to drain. That pocket hose is the bees knees! It saved my butt all winter long.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

      Comment


      • #4
        Clanter gives you good advice.

        Is your spigot a "frost free" type? If not, consider replacing it.

        If worst comes to worst, don't fill your tub full if it's going to get cold. Start with maybe 1/3 full. If you get a freeze you can get some hot water from your house and pour it onto the ice (plan on 10 gal. or so). Along with fresh water from your spigot you can get sufficient water for a small group.* If you get a thaw during the day then you're set until the next morning, when you'll have to "heat it up" again. If it stays cold all day you'll have to redo this one or more times. You can do this for a very few days before you'll find the that ice mass will be too heavy to thaw sufficiently. Then you either have to run a heater or put out a new tank and start over.

        How long are your normal "freeze periods" during the winter? The above won't work in Northern MN but works quite well in the TN Valley where our "hours below freezing" almost never exceed 72 hrs. and temps below 20F are rare (the lowest it has been at my house was -12F but that was only one night and it was above freezing within two days). If you are in the mountains of Central VA then you're a bit colder than we are. If you are on the coast you're a bit warmer. If you are somewhere in between you might be just like us!

        I'd have a couple of 5 gal. "jerry cans" for water that you can use to "refresh" your tub, along with the frost-free spigot and you'll likely be just fine.

        Good luck getting set up!

        G.

        *You didn't indicate how many horses would be coming home. That can make a big difference.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

        Comment


        • #5
          No extension cord is the right advice.

          But.... If you are going to use an extension cord make sure it is properly rated for what it is doing. Do not just go buy the cheapest thing you can find and expect things to go well.

          We have a short extension cord (I consulted with an electrical engineer about what extension cord to buy) from the outlet on the outside of the barn to where the trough is located, where we have a standard sinking de-icer all winter (have to have something in NY).

          We fill the trough with a hose from a non-freeze yard hydrant that is about 50' away. After filling we take the hose back inside (our heated garage).
          The stalls have heated buckets that are plugged into outlets at each stall. Those are filled by carrying water in buckets from another non-freeze hydrant inside the barn.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
            No extension cord is the right advice.

            But.... If you are going to use an extension cord make sure it is properly rated for what it is doing. Do not just go buy the cheapest thing you can find and expect things to go well.
            Right.

            And the shorter the better. The longer the cord you use, the greater the resistance.

            I know a lot of people are going to argue that you should never use an extension cord with a tank deicer. And they're right. But in the real world, sometimes it's unavoidable.
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Yes - I'll clarify, outdoor rated heavy duty cord, will be buried where where we can (crosses a sidewalk so can't there).
              2 horses, so a 100 gallon tank might be overkill.
              I'm pretty sure what was installed is a frost free - so I foresee the hose problem not a spigot problem per say .
              We are in the Shenandoah Valley of Central VA... we have cold spells, usually not more than a week... and I always have the back up of filling up buckets in the house to dump in (just takes longer)

              Pocket hose! I thought about those, and also saw these: https://www.chewy.com/kh-pet-product...e-40/dp/148396

              RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

              Comment


              • #8
                I would recommend that you have a spare water trough. No doubt yours will spring a leak or crack on a Sunday night or holiday during a snow storm. It's nice to have a spare on hand.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I run an extension cord from the outlet outside the barn about 15 feet to the 100 gallon Rubbermaid trough. I have a heater in the trough. My frost free hydrant is on the outside of the fence, 2 feet from the trough on the inside of their turnout paddock. I use a quick connect fitting on a hose I've cut to about 6 feet long. After I add water I take off the hose; it drains immediately as I take it to the hay shed 10 feet away to hang until I need it again. Super easy, super quick. And I live where we get serious winters, btw.

                  Mine also have heated Nelson waterers in their stalls, where they have the choice to go in or out. Honestly, they prefer to drink from the trough, year round.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm in MN, so my needs will be a little different than somewhere it doesn't freeze for extended periods of time.

                    I have 3 horses at home with two 100 gallon tanks. The advantage of running two tanks is that I have a back-up if one of the tank heaters goes down (which does happen and it can take a while to thaw a frozen tank), it allows me to use a floating heater in one, and a sinking heater in the other, and I don't have to fill them quite as often. Doing water in the winter in MN sucks, so this last point is important.

                    I prefer the sinking tank heaters, but if we have high winds during the coldest part of winter, the tank will freeze even with a tank heater in it. The floating heater typically doesn't freeze during high winds, however my naughty mare is more apt to try and screw with a floating heater. I have also had the tank with the floating heater start to "slush" at the bottom, so I do sometimes have to move the sinking heater into the "floating tank" to melt the slush.

                    Anyway, most of this won't apply to someone in a milder climate.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The pocket hoses are my favorite for winter - I keep it in one of those flexible tubs, use the hose to fill, drain into a separate small bucket and disconnect the hose into the tub. Tub then comes back into the house to prevent freezing!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

                        Disconnect the horse after use,
                        .
                        yeah my horses get pissed if I leave them connected to the hydrant too long also


                        Not responsible for typographical errors.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by paintedtrails View Post
                          Yes - I'll clarify, outdoor rated heavy duty cord, will be buried where where we can (crosses a sidewalk so can't there).

                          you can get under a sidewalk fairly easily
                          https://www.google.com/search?q=wate...IoO4tQWNto1Y18

                          really you should use UF cable rather than an outdoor extension cord ... UF is designed for direct burial, it is commonly available at hardware or big box stores

                          Murphy's law is the buried extension cord will fail during time of greatest need
                          Not responsible for typographical errors.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Honestly, I break ice most of winter, at least for outside water. It's not COLD cold here (not like when we lived in Minnesota) and it's pretty rare that water freezes again during the day if I pull ice off the top when I turn them out.

                            I do use the heated 16 gallon tubs in the barn (but usually unplug them during the day!)

                            If it's cold enough to heat the outside water (rarely) those k&h heaters are very nice and you probably need less than 1500 w for your climate.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks for the tips so far
                              We had an unusual winter last year, and I know a friend's place struggled to keep one tank free of ice...so planning for that again just in case, since ya know, like you said...Murphy's Law means my first winter doing this and everything will go wrong!
                              RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I nest two 110 gallon Tuff Stuff tanks with a piece of blue 1" construction foam board cut to fit between them. I made a 3/4" plywood cover for the top and used "L" brackets on the edge to keep it centered, with a few pavers on top of the plywood to keep the wind from blowing it off. I cut a hole in the plywood for a cheapo 5 gallon bucket (bottom and bail removed) to be used as a drinking hole. I'm in WY; this set up does not start to freeze until it hits the mid teens (double tanks act like a thermos bottle; keeping the cold wind off the surface of the water is half the battle). A 500 watt sinking heater keeps the water unfrozen even in -30 temps. This year, I'm going to downsize to 40 gallon nested tanks, but do the same set up. My herd of 2 horses, 2 mini donks, 1 hinny and 1 llama go through about 25-30 gallons of water a day, and going down to a smaller tank will allow for more frequent water exchange. I had electric put on a post right next to a frost free hydrant so no longer have to use a 100' extension cord and walk/blow out 175' of hose like I did my first 3 winters out here--I top the tank with a 3' piece of hose which sits in my heated tack room between use.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm in Ontario and use a 20' heavy duty outdoor extension cord to my floating heater.
                                  I have done this for 27 winters with no issues. And yes, I understand the dangers of using extension cords.

                                  I don't know too many people here who have electrical outlets located at their paddocks. A couple of huge 25+ horse boarding / lesson facilities have them. The rest of us ordinary folk have extension cords.
                                  I also have a self-draining hose that I use once temps stay below freezing all the time.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Mallard View Post

                                    I don't know too many people here who have electrical outlets located at their paddocks. A couple of huge 25+ horse boarding / lesson facilities have them. The rest of us ordinary folk have extension cords.
                                    .
                                    I do not like digging so when we ran water in PVC pipe to our paddocks I also dropped a UF power cable in the trench (with marker tape to show there is an electrical conductor)... no big deal. Rarely if ever have used the outlets, but they are there if needed.

                                    I moved to Texas because of the winters in Kentucky.... winters there were sad affairs of long dark cold days that seemed to get colder (followed by Mud Season)...we moved after two winters where our water lines that were buried to 42 inches froze... first year was not really bad, second year required replacement.... there was not going to be a third year

                                    Here the frost line is measured in inches not feet.

                                    As others have said, here I just dump the water tank and refill since the water temp coming out of the hydrant is at ground temp which is in the 50F range
                                    Not responsible for typographical errors.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by DinkyDonk View Post
                                      I nest two 110 gallon Tuff Stuff tanks with a piece of blue 1" construction foam board cut to fit between them. I made a 3/4" plywood cover for the top and used "L" brackets on the edge to keep it centered, with a few pavers on top of the plywood to keep the wind from blowing it off. I cut a hole in the plywood for a cheapo 5 gallon bucket (bottom and bail removed) to be used as a drinking hole. I'm in WY; this set up does not start to freeze until it hits the mid teens (double tanks act like a thermos bottle; keeping the cold wind off the surface of the water is half the battle). A 500 watt sinking heater keeps the water unfrozen even in -30 temps. This year, I'm going to downsize to 40 gallon nested tanks, but do the same set up. My herd of 2 horses, 2 mini donks, 1 hinny and 1 llama go through about 25-30 gallons of water a day, and going down to a smaller tank will allow for more frequent water exchange. I had electric put on a post right next to a frost free hydrant so no longer have to use a 100' extension cord and walk/blow out 175' of hose like I did my first 3 winters out here--I top the tank with a 3' piece of hose which sits in my heated tack room between use.
                                      That's an awesome idea - don't know why I didn't think of that between insulating my trailer sleeping area and building an insulated cat-box! :P
                                      What is the blue in the drinking hole (I think?)

                                      Mallard - "I also have a self-draining hose that I use once temps stay below freezing all the time."
                                      Can I have details on the hose?
                                      RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Painted Trails it is a circular piece of the 1" construction foam board cut to fit the hole; I cut it with a jigsaw, and ironed the cut edge with my old GE clothes iron (last piece of clothing it ever ironed was my son's high school graduation gown back in 2003).

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