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Winter water sites - off the grid

Gomez

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I need to put in 5 winter watering sites and would like some advise as to the the type of tanks/troughs/bowls you like. The line feeding the trough is a pressurized pipeline, but there is not power. I like simple, dependable, cheap and reliable.
I currently have two thermosink bowls and have had decent luck with them. They have to be pumped out when not in use.

Looking for other experiences and types.
 

John SD

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For a situation like that where there is no power at the tank site, a covered earth mover tire is hard to beat. I have tire tanks with the water line coming in the the concrete in the bottom, with Watson valves on them.

I have a couple 8' tires in fenceline applications with a single drinker hole on each side. Usually I'm only using one side or the other and have the original piece that was cut out to make the drinker to block off the side not being used.

I do check daily and chop a hole in the drinker hole if necessary when being used. The cows can usually do it themselves if low temps are not below 0F.
 

Silver

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The best one I have seen is at my neighbours and I don't know the brand name, sorry. But a person could build one easily enough. It's basically a culvert in the ground about 10 or 12 feet deep. They keep about 3 feet of water in the bottom of it and the level is controlled by a float valve. On top is the watering bowl about 3 feet in diameter. Water is pumped by into the bowl by a simple sump pump down at the bottom of the culvert and it pumps straight up into the bottom of the bowl. The pump is activated by a proximity sensor ( like the ones that open doors at grocery stores) so when the cattle back away the pump shuts off and the water drains out the way it came, back through the pump. If the bowl gets too full the water escapes through holes in the side of the bowl and falls back into the culvert.
The beauty is the bowl never freezes up even in the most severe weather and requires no heat. The pump can easily be run on solar power. When I get time and a burst of energy I'd like to try to build one myself.
 

RSL

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The thermo sinks look really good, but the one with the sensors might be a Kelln or a Solar west. You can build one easily enough. They sell the sensors on ebay for about $12. We use snow, and big tires closer to home.
SK ag or the PAMI group have a publication on these I think.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I have 3 Mortech Fabication of Williston fiber glass frost free tanks. Work pretty good when installed properly . the do need to be used to stay open or shut off and drained when not in use in cold weather.
 

mrj

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We have lots of the used construction equipment tire tanks. Installed as stated in the post by John. We have lids on them, concrete, for the most part, some may have rubber partial cover on drink holes. Not certain what the low temp they have stayed un-frozen. We routinely get well beow zero here, and have little trouble with those tanks. We are on rural water pipeline, however. It seems reasonable that if a gravity flow, or solar pump were used, it would be equal to, or better than, our supply system for staying open.

Water for animals seems always a problem of some degree or other in severe climates, doesn't it?

Good luck with finding a successful and affordable method.

mrj
 

John SD

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Another idea if the water supply is not an issue and you have a drain installed in the tank. You can let enough water overflow to keep the tank from freezing over. Float valves are available or can be threaded later with bleeders on them. The bleeder line is directed at the water surface where the cattle drink.

If you have the drain in your tank with a removable pipe, you can set the float to overflow a bit when full by drilling a 1/4"-3/8" hole at the desired level on the drain pipe. My winter tanks all have 4" drain pipes in them and will drain quite quickly if I pull the pipe out.
 

mrj

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I forgot about drains when posting previously. Apparently, we have the same drain system John has. The 4" overflow pipe runs quite a distance, and considerably lower than te bottom of the tank to prevent freezing.

We have used the minimal overflow to water game where there is a tank quite a distance from another water source, esp. in drought years. First started doing that after a small fawn was found in a tank.

I still have hopes of making a little turtle pond at the end of one if some of the grandgirls have an interest. Just a simple plop of ready mix in a hollowed out area for the overflow to go into at a particular site where the kids could easily see it, as it's relatively near part of our two mile driveway.

There also is a one of those grouse dancing grounds nearby, tho they can get most water they need from dew, I've heard. We don't have an awful lot of them and do like to see them.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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A outfit in Assinaboia has a supply of tires and cement bottom plugs. They are on the corner of the road that runs east of the auction mart.
 

littlejoe

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Gomez said:
I need to put in 5 winter watering sites and would like some advise as to the the type of tanks/troughs/bowls you like. The line feeding the trough is a pressurized pipeline, but there is not power. I like simple, dependable, cheap and reliable.
I currently have two thermosink bowls and have had decent luck with them. They have to be pumped out when not in use.

Looking for other experiences and types.

I use hudson valves, they say they'll work from 8# to 200#---but I got one spring that i doubt it puts out over 4# and it works fine.

If you got enuf cattle drinking, they work great---you turn the washer that comes with over and it dribbles after it's full. Seems like if it dribbles a couple hundred gallons a day, it don't freeze. And with big tank, you can set it to shut off and 'dribble'
a few inches from top and hardly waste any.

My overflow is taken away from the site. I use a 90 elbow, this keeps the hay slobber, etc, from plugging. You gotta drill a few holes in the elbow, so it don't air lock.

I bury the overflow line and dump it in a coullee. Cattle will walk this ditch and drive the frost down. I tie a kinda mat of old tires together and cover the ditch with them. They don't like that and won't walk on it.

I used to let this spring run continously---1,000 gal glass tank, maybe 250 cows watering outa it max. they could drink it about dry, water couldn't keep up.

I overhauled the collection box, dumped a couple loads of clean rock around it---had that perforated, flexible drain tile under rock---50' of it, both ends in box. Put that fuzzy erosion mat over the clean rock, to keep dirt from filtering thru over the yrs. Then covered the whole clatter with dirt.

The spring don't put out any more water than it ever did---but the voids in the rock act like a reservoir, once tank is full and it's only dribbling, water builds up---cows hit the tank and the flow is better and they never suck air.

Since pressure is so low and the run is about 600' I used 2" black heavy wall pipe. I'd rather pay a little more up front and not have to do it over----it was 1" before, a mouse could plug it.
 

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