Prepper, Survival, Homesteading Forum > Homesteading > Livestock > Best non-electric trough heater?


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Old 12-18-2008, 04:51 AM   #1
endurance
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Default Best non-electric trough heater?

Suz is looking for a trough heater, but doesn't have power to the horses water. Any suggestions to keep her from having to swing a splitting maul every morning? I was thinking propane or kerosene, but it has to be horse-proof. Her google searches have been pretty fruitless.



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Old 12-18-2008, 07:27 PM   #2
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We use a half deflated basketball, it keeps a spot from freezing, our horses will move it and drink,lol, I have smart horses,But it,s no where near as cold here as where you live.Ours usually freezes maybe a inch thick.We also built a wooden box around ours and left a spout to drain, and insulated it.Works pretty good.



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Old 12-19-2008, 01:38 AM   #3
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Yep, usually it's not that bad, but Sunday's overnight low was -18F and it didn't get over 5F all day. Tomorrow is forcast to be the only day over 32F the entire week, then it cools off again into the single digits. Definitely need to figure out something. Right now she's resorted to using 5gallon buckets she can switch everytime she goes out there, but it's not a real solution.

thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think it'll work with the way things have been lately. There needs to be some serious heat input.

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Old 12-19-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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I have not tried this ,but have heard of a wind mill powered pump to blow air into the tank. This will keep an open area.

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Old 12-19-2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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Pretty hard to do without some form of electricity...

-windmill + solar pv to charge a battery to keep a heating element going
-solar heating to heat the water up... but will require a pump to circulate the water around, powered by solar electricity?

Can she do any sort of insulating around the trough? Keep the heat in? If she can insulate under/around the trough with stray bales (encased in plywood so the horses don't eat it all)... then the trough will hold a lot more heat in.

Painting the trough a flat black will help it to absorb some heat energy, to keep the water warm.


The use of a windmill or pump to circulate the water or pump air in (a bubbler) will prevent ice buildup as long as the entire volume of water doesn't freeze. This works well in a lake around boats/docks because of the large volume of water that remains above freezing. It doesn't work well in a trough like this, because the small volume of water would be circulated around until the whole thing hit 0C and freeze solid.

Is there any way to get electricity to the trough? Alternate forms of hot water sources? (outdoor wood/oil/pellet heater)

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Old 12-19-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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All these would be good suggestions if she owned the property she has the horse on, but unfortunately, she's taking advantage of a good situation and has almost free board right now, she just has to supply his feed. It's not a long-term problem, as eventually she's planning on moving him to either horse property that we buy together or to a proper barn. Right now he's 1.5 years old and she's just waiting for him to grow up. Once he's grown, she'll want facilities.

Anyway, there's no power within 100 yards and even so, it would mean asking the land owner to run a cord from his house, which just isn't going to happen (he wants the horse to make his trophy ranch look like a real ranch, but not too real). I was hoping there was an easy solution, but the best I've seen is a combination of several of the suggestions here and elsewhere, burying the trough partway to capture the heat of the earth, then circulating with a bubbler. Even that sounds dubious in these extreme colds. Tomorrow is supposed to get down to -1F with a high of 11F.

Ah, well, such is life. It's only one winter and right now it's a heck of a bargain.

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Old 12-20-2008, 04:02 AM   #7
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Try one of these:
Solar Water Heating Projects and Plans

There are tons of Ideas at the link. I'm in the process of building one of the solar heated boxes for my stock tanks.

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Old 01-03-2009, 03:09 PM   #8
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Check your local farm store. When we had a functioning Dairy we used Natural gas heaters which was fed with natural gas from our oil wells.

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Old 01-12-2009, 03:52 AM   #9
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Last summer we discussed this with the farmer that supply's our horse feed. When he was a kid in Minn. his grandparents dug a hole about 8' deep, and 20" in diameter and lined it with stone. At ground level they mounted a steel grate and placed the tub on top of it. The heat from the ground kept the water from freezing. He said it only froze a couple times that he could remember and that was only minor. What he suggested to us was to use a steel culvert in the hole. We never got around to digging so I can't attest to it first hand, but if the landowner is planning to keep large animals regularly, it may be something he would consider to make his ranch more appealing to the next boarder.


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Old 01-24-2009, 05:19 AM   #10
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Ritche makes a commercial waterer that has a propane heater to control ice.

Depending on how cold it gets where you are there are various insulated designs out there that rely on heat from the ground, that might work. (They don't where I live)




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