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Freeze Proof waterer recommendations  RSS feed

 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 120
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I am setting up my rotational grazing for sheep and cattle, but also want to be able to expand to hogs eventually. Can someone recommend a good 2-hole passive waterer that accommodates all these animals, and that is freeze proof to zone 6 year round? I'm not sure if there are any out there that handle hogs also, but I thought I'd ask.

My budget is $800-$1000 per waterer. I'd love to spend less, but I would also spend more if it's a better product that does more or will last longer.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 3161
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Cattle require a water trough, I've never seen them use a water nipple to get a drink.

Sheep, goats, hogs will all use a water nipple for drinking once they are taught how to use it (really easy to do).

For ice free water year round you are going to need either a submersible heating element or a heat tape. this will be for the frozen time of year, insulation alone will not do the trick.

 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 120
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I'm planning on something like the Ritchie CT2-2000 (https://ritchiefount.com/product/thrifty-king-ct2-2000/). I think I may still need supplemental heat on the one nearest the barn, where the livestock will hang out mostly in the winter, but my understanding is that if it's installed correctly it should be totally passive.

I don't know, maybe I should just set up a trough in the winter with a cheap submersible heater... ?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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That unit will work very well I think.

We don't usually get any long freezes where we are so I just use a heat tape, it keeps the water flowing and only turns on when necessary via the thermostat that is part of the heat tape.

I have a 55 gallon barrel fitted with a hog nipple for our hogs, it is filled by rain collection from the hog house roof and I may have to fit it with a small heating element next winter.

I've tried just insulation but the weather pattern changes are giving us two week periods of really cold occasionally, this past winter I had to break ice five days in a row, not something I'm used to having to do.

 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 720
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Dean Moriarty wrote:I'm planning on something like the Ritchie CT2-2000 (https://ritchiefount.com/product/thrifty-king-ct2-2000/). I think I may still need supplemental heat on the one nearest the barn, where the livestock will hang out mostly in the winter, but my understanding is that if it's installed correctly it should be totally passive.

I don't know, maybe I should just set up a trough in the winter with a cheap submersible heater... ?


i was going to suggest something similar - but i dont know of a waterer that will water all the species.
We are planning a similar fount - i am really interested in using one that requires no power (we get to ~-19*f).
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 120
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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Kelly - I don't know of any that also handle hogs. But once I add pigs to the rotation, I'm planning on just setting up barrels with nipples for them, which is what I've done in the past. I'm setting up a hydrant at each station so I can fill those up with a hose from the same water that supplies the fountains. I can also use this to fill up my guard dog's water.

You don't stand a chance of keeping the nipples unfrozen at -19 though... I was only dealing with 10F last winter, and it was still a hell of a challenge. Luckily, most pigs don't make it to the deepest part of winter here since I like to have them slaughtered well before then.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 720
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Dean Moriarty wrote:Kelly - I don't know of any that also handle hogs. But once I add pigs to the rotation, I'm planning on just setting up barrels with nipples for them, which is what I've done in the past. I'm setting up a hydrant at each station so I can fill those up with a hose from the same water that supplies the fountains. I can also use this to fill up my guard dog's water.


for our pigs, i plan to use a 55g barrel with a gravity flow cup waterer ( http://www.trojanlivestock.com/Waterers-Gravity%20Flow.html ) and then drop a 250w heater in it. I will likely build a small box around the waterer to keep the weather/wind off of it during winter - maybe even throw a small heat lamp in there when needed. our pigs are much smaller than most and a neighbor hasnt had much luck with his gravity fed nipple waterers so we tried the gravity cup - but i guess we will see. our doesnt have to be very portable - we may only move it around to 3-4 spots on the property.

Dean Moriarty wrote:

You don't stand a chance of keeping the nipples unfrozen at -19 though... I was only dealing with 10F last winter, and it was still a hell of a challenge. Luckily, most pigs don't make it to the deepest part of winter here since I like to have them slaughtered well before then.

we are planning to farrow in sep/oct as the pigs we raise take ~12-15 months to be ready for harvest. I am hoping my gravity waterer will be enough but only time will tell.

they also make galvanized stock tanks that have pig opening in them:


i prefer the rubbermaid troughs personally. we use a 90g tank for the cows and a 50g short trough for the sheep/pigs/poultry - but these arent mobile.

please keep this thread updated - seems there are some 'gotchas' when you start multi species grazing that are rarely mentioned when people talk about it
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 120
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I just met with my NRCS rep, and he mentioned that the ball waterers like the Ritchie one I was planning to use may not be ideal because of lambs, who will struggle to drink from them. He mentioned that Miraco had some that had removable tops, making it easier for lambs. I still don't like these because they seem like they'll just attract debris, and also heat/freeze with the weather a lot more. But I don't want to ignore his advice either, since I'm not an expert.

I've already talked to my plumber about plumbing a spigot into each waterer, so that I can connect a hose. I'm thinking I will just connect an automatic bowl waterer of some sort to this, and that can be used by the lambs and my Great Pyrenees. (Something like this: http://www.circlecsupply.com/pet-lodge-5-quart-plastic-ever-full-bowl.html). I'll probably need metal though, because that dog will chew through anything else.

My priority is to have water for sheep and cattle, which I think the automatic tank from Ritchie with ball covers will accomplish. By having the hose connection, I can connect/disconnect/move an automatic bowl for lambs and dogs. I can connect a bell waterer for chickens, and I can connect nipples for pigs (although I know they'll just use the bowl if its there).

If anyone has feedback, advice, or warnings, please let me know. We're kicking off the project next week, and shortly after that there will be no turning back. I really want to get this right.

 
John Weiland
Posts: 971
Location: RRV of da Nort
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I didn't see a prior thread on this so if one exists, please move it to that more appropriate location.  We have a "problematic" water hydrant, the kind that goes about 6 - 7 ft. below the frost line.  It's a tricky adjustment because the pipe got bent pretty bad once when one of the 500 lb+ pigs ran into it.      So if the adjustments in the fall season hold-out through the winter, the water in the pipe will drain back down as it is supposed to and we are pretty freeze-free with no worries.  This year the adjustment must have gone out and the pipe was not draining, so as predicted one of the colder nights caused the pipe to freeze up at some point a few feet below ground level.  This year I tried a new trick to unthaw it based on some reading on the internet:  A LARGE pot of boiling water is prepared.  While that heats up, use a heat gun to thaw out and excavate any rock and debris from around the pipe so that a depression is formed.  When the boiling water is ready, pour it into the depression and hope it percolates down the hole and only needs one pot.  Multiples rounds can be prepared, but one was all I needed this time.  Seemed to work pretty good.
 
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