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Auto Waterers in stalls

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  • Auto Waterers in stalls

    I am trying to decide whether to put auto-waterers in our new stalls. We had originally budgeted for them, but I had changed my mind and decided to do buckets instead.
    As a way to make the buckets super convenient we have planned to put a spigot at each stall, so buckets could be filled if necessary without hauling them or a hose down the aisle.

    Now I am back to wondering if I should put in waterers.

    The reasons I wanted buckets were:
    -you can clean/replace one as needed
    -if a stall is not in use there is no problem with it sitting.
    -you can tell how much a horse is drinking
    -easy transition to show stalls
    -horses can wet their hay if they so choose
    -if by some nightmare pipes froze it would be a pain to fix auto waterer

    Why I'm thinking of going back to auto-waterers:
    -horses will always have water even if someone were for some reason unable to get to barn for
    -2 buckets take up a lot of space on stall front
    -easier for non-horsey person if they were doing chores
    -you can always add a bucket to a stall


    Any input from COTHers?

  • #2
    I always want to monitor water intake. Unless I could monitor it with the auto-waterer then I vote buckets.

    I would be worried about the spigot getting busted if the horse could reach it--how do you protect it? Just curious!
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I never liked auto waterers for the simple reason that horses don't normally sip when they drink, which is how they have to drink from them. They take a few sips, then have to wait for it to refill, then drink a bit more, then wait. Depending on the horse, they may get frustrated and not drink as much as they want. When drinking from a bucket, they can drink as long as they want without stopping.

      I agree with all your pro-bucket reasons too.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
        I always want to monitor water intake. Unless I could monitor it with the auto-waterer then I vote buckets.
        It is probably pricy, but I boarded at a place with auto-waterers that included a system showing consumption per stall.

        OP: spigots for buckets would be just as vulnerable to freezing as an uninsulated auto-watering system.
        And haydunkers can (& will) clog up your auto system. Then you have a flooded stall.
        Also there is a learning curve for some horses.
        My Vern had to have a bucket hung for a couple weeks until he figured out the scary auto-water was to drink from
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

        Comment


        • #5
          Nelson waterers can be purchased with a monitor.

          I have been at several barns with auto waterers. I LOVE them.

          If they are installed properly they do not freeze.

          The Nelsons DO hold enough water for the horse to take a long drink. And they refill quickly.

          You still have to be smart and check them every day to assure the water is clean and the waterer is functioning. But SO much easier than buckets.

          Having spigot in stall? I had to put a caribiner on one for my guy who thought it was fun to turn it on and leave it on.

          Comment


          • #6
            I love my Nelson waterers. The first winter I had them I didn't trust them and hung buckets, too. But took those out after I realized the waterers really worked. I let my horses come and go at will from their stalls and runs to the attached field, and have a stock tank out there, so they always have options.

            I haven't hung buckets for five years now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Don't know how many stalls you are planning, but for
              us the math tipped the balance.

              30 stalls - 2 buckets/stall cleaned and refilled twice/day is minimum - 6 minutesX30X365 = about 1100 hours/year in
              labor saved (at $10/hour = $11,000.00 in labor)
              - waterers - a swish (10 seconds X30X365 = 30 hours or $300)

              Water used - dumping 5 gallons in that cleaning process
              (2 buckets/cleaned and refilled, say 1/2 of each bucket needs dumping) That is close to 55,000 gallons of water saved

              So, we calculate that auto waterers in our 30 stall facility
              save us $11,000 in labor yearly and 55,000 gallons of water.

              Boarders may hang a bucket that they are responsible for, but we have never had a horse not learn how to use a waterer. We have never had a dunker cause one to flood, either.
              www.settlementfarm.us

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                I always want to monitor water intake. Unless I could monitor it with the auto-waterer then I vote buckets.

                I would be worried about the spigot getting busted if the horse could reach it--how do you protect it? Just curious!
                We have a well and wanted to make sure the horses always have water since if it breaks the fix may not be instantaneous. Our contractor made auto waterers out of 55 gallon barrels for his horses, so made some for ours as well. They aren't locked in stalls most of the time, but we fill muck buckets when they are, and with the handles we find them easier to dump/clean than smaller buckets we'd hang.

                Each bucket has an on/off level we can use when we want to clean them, etc. In this photo it's at the gap between fence and barn. Any time I'm worried someone's not drinking enough I turn it off and just let it refill daily so I can see how much they're drinking.

                http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7051/6...d8c4ba5e12.jpg
                Originally posted by Silverbridge
                If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                  It is probably pricy, but I boarded at a place with auto-waterers that included a system showing consumption per stall.

                  Nelson makes these, they are INCREDIBLY expensive.

                  OP: spigots for buckets would be just as vulnerable to freezing as an uninsulated auto-watering system.

                  Agree

                  And haydunkers can (& will) clog up your auto system. Then you have a flooded stall.

                  Not with mine, check out this link:http://www.equuspring.com/DesktopDef...dex=2&tabid=37
                  Also there is a learning curve for some horses.
                  My Vern had to have a bucket hung for a couple weeks until he figured out the scary auto-water was to drink from
                  My mare took a full 7 months to figure hers out, but all the others were fine right away

                  Originally posted by dotneko View Post
                  Don't know how many stalls you are planning, but for
                  us the math tipped the balance.

                  30 stalls - 2 buckets/stall cleaned and refilled twice/day is minimum - 6 minutesX30X365 = about 1100 hours/year in
                  labor saved (at $10/hour = $11,000.00 in labor)
                  - waterers - a swish (10 seconds X30X365 = 30 hours or $300)

                  Water used - dumping 5 gallons in that cleaning process
                  (2 buckets/cleaned and refilled, say 1/2 of each bucket needs dumping) That is close to 55,000 gallons of water saved

                  So, we calculate that auto waterers in our 30 stall facility
                  save us $11,000 in labor yearly and 55,000 gallons of water.
                  AGREE!!!! That is what made me go for them in my20 stall barn. I LOVE these waterers!! I got the heated model and so far so good. I love that they are super simple to clean, the horses cant mess with them, they are heated, the bowls are easy to clean, its just one big hunk of plastic. http://www.equuspring.com/DesktopDef...dex=2&tabid=37[URL="http://http://www.equuspring.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?Sel=Stall%20Waterer&tabIndex=2 &tabid=37"]
                  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                  http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some days I wish I had them, but a qualilty retractable hose real is a fine, fine thing--and much cheaper. (It doesn't even begin to take me 6 minutes a stall for bucket maintance--more like 6 minutes to muck out AND do buckets.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had Nelson waterers in a previous barn, and will install them again. Because my horses are out most of the time and also have a pasture tank, I didn't worry at all about consumption, but the available monitor does work well.

                      I installed mine a foot lower than recommended by Nelson, which helped with maintenance and let the horses drink with a more lowered head. The one thing I wish I had known before the first installation was that the plastic valves are prone to sticking/clogging if your water has a lot of minerals in it. I installed a filter between the well and the waterers after the fact and everything was hunky-dory... but in the meantime I became an expert at deconstruction/cleaning/reconstruction of those *&^ing valves.
                      Patience pays.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        At the barn where I work we've just put in the Nelsons with the gauges, and I loff them. They are the bowl kind, so horses don't have to learn to use them, and they are ridiculously easy to clean. I do not know how much they cost (not my department ), but am pretty sure that however much it was, it was worth it!
                        Proud member of the EDRF

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          LOVE our auto waterers. We have them in every stall and heated/auto in every paddock. You DO have to check them everyday, just to make sure there's nothing wrong-good habit to get into in case one is unplugged, stopped working etc. We never have to worry when a horse is in for an extended time if they went thru their water. If someone else is doing the feeding when horses are in, again, don't need to worry. Each water line has a cut off into each stall so if it's not in use, we can just turn it off. Super easy to clean, a sponge and a bucket and they're done in a minute. Every horse we've ever had there has learned to use them easily, never had an isssue. They might jump the first time it makes a refill noise, but they get used to that quickly. Personally, with all the work/time/worry they save ,if the money's there- I'd use it!
                          Kerri

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pony baloney View Post
                            I never liked auto waterers for the simple reason that horses don't normally sip when they drink, which is how they have to drink from them. They take a few sips, then have to wait for it to refill, then drink a bit more, then wait. Depending on the horse, they may get frustrated and not drink as much as they want. When drinking from a bucket, they can drink as long as they want without stopping.

                            I agree with all your pro-bucket reasons too.
                            This is not true with the waterers that I have.........they push the peddle and just keep swallowing till they are done....just like they would if they were drinking from a bucket.

                            My barn is 12 years old now and I still love them.....if I have a sick horse I simply put a cover over the waterer and bucket so I can monitor.



                            Dalemma

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I didn't even consider auto waterers - (only talking about a 2 stall barn, though) - my old guy has never ever seen one, so I'm not going to try to convince him to use one at nearly 32 years old. I've also never worked anyplace that had them, so my general feelings of unease towards them may well be unfounded. (What happens if the power goes out for a while? What happens if the power goes out and it's winter - can water freeze inside them and mess them up?)

                              What I like about the buckets is the flexibility they offer - I can hang them high/low or in between depending on the horse who's using them, I can add a new one if necessary, I can clear them out of the stall entirely if it comes to that, or I can swap different ones out - rubber or plastic. I can also tell at a glance how much the old man is drinking - no extra add-ons needed. The child inside me also enjoys the possibility of "decorating" the barn with lime green and bright yellow buckets - the grownup generally overrules and we always just stick with plain old black flexible rubber, which doesn't crack...

                              Actually, since I've moved him home, the old guy has access to three different water receptacles - 5g bucket hung in the stall (which he has 24/7 access to), 6g tub on the ground just outside said stall and 75g trough (inside his run-in, again, w/ 24/7 access). So far, he clearly prefers to drink from the 6g tub. Don't know why that one is so much better than the others, but whatever he wants is fine with me, as long as he keeps drinking.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                When we moved to this farm we installed auto waters, simply for less labour time and less water wasted (we're on a well). Those Nelson waterers are great - we seriously looked into them when we were looking to install ours, but the heaters weren't legal in Canada so we decided against going through the trouble of shipping them here and installing them with the raised price. We ended up going with simple ones like this: http://www.pet-dog-cat-supply-store....7f03407330.jpg

                                The piping was already installed but the previous owner didn't use the auto waterers for years, which is why we replaced them all. Therefore installation was easy - we added a shutoff at each waterer so that we could put a bucket in the stall if we decided to. I would highly recommend adding individual shutoffs - it has saved us a lot of heartache, for example if a waterer is leaking we can shut it off or if they freeze in the winter. We shut them off before it gets below -10C (they don't really freeze before that because of the constant movement and the heat taped pipes, but we bucket warm water anyways) and keep them off when it's super cold out.

                                They fill fast enough for the horses to drink continually instead of "sip" and I've never seen a horse run out of water before they were finished drinking anyways.

                                As for monitoring their water intake - I'm in the barn often enough to know if they're drinking or not. I check the waters every day to make sure they're working properly and they're scrubbed out every week, which I find a lot of people overlook when installing auto waters - they think it's just care free. The horses all have their little individual routines and behaviours, so if one of them isn't drinking I notice (confirming is easy - shut off that horse's individual waterer and see how long it takes them to empty it).

                                Good luck and enjoy :-)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Thumbs down to Nelson. Current 25 stall farm had them when I moved in. Will not freeze if thermostats are working, but I have had 3 thermostats overheat this winter. Yikes!! I turned off the water and electricity to all of them and am using buckets again. One froze began leaking underground this summer and it took us forever to actually find the leak. I do not trust the thermostats, they overfill and flood stalls, and are black widow havens (dark and wet). No worth the money, and Nelson wants an arm and leg to repair.
                                  "Gallop as if you were to die tomorrow, jump as if you were to live forever."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Dalemma View Post
                                    This is not true with the waterers that I have.........they push the peddle and just keep swallowing till they are done....just like they would if they were drinking from a bucket.

                                    My barn is 12 years old now and I still love them.....if I have a sick horse I simply put a cover over the waterer and bucket so I can monitor.



                                    Dalemma

                                    That's what is in use in the Old world. Never had a horse not use it.

                                    In the winter the pipes froze, but the farm had a well running into a huge trof. Watering took a bit of time leading them out to drink but it worked. They never had a colic.

                                    As far as installation, you put a cutoff valve in the line. This way when the stall is empty, you can shut it off, or should you need to work on the waterer.
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thank you for all of the replies!
                                      This thread has made me re-consider the waterers.
                                      I think if I put the shut off on each waterer like recommended I could shut off the ones in the stalls that are not in use. There will be a foaling stall and a smaller emergency stall that will likely be empty a lot of the year so I was concerned what would happen to those.
                                      The math on filling/cleaning buckets was interesting....
                                      The barn is 8 stalls but I will likely only have 4-5 horses in there.
                                      I still have some time to think about it but I am going to start researching different products.
                                      Cheers!!

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