Best non-electric trough heater?

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by endurance, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. pmabma

    pmabma Well-Known Member

    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.

  3. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. dano23

    dano23 Member

    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.
  5. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

    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)
  6. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

  8. TrailWalker

    TrailWalker Semper Fi

    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.
  9. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. StillStanding

    StillStanding ...despite the fall

    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)
  11. yurtlady

    yurtlady New Member

    I set a metal tank up on wheel rims and build a little fire under it when it ices up it stays warm for the day. It melted it out when it was totally frozen.
  12. katfish

    katfish Active Member

    We've put in one of the stock tanks made out of an old loader tire which had one side cut off. The float valve is in the bottom and set in concrete. They are thick black rubber and I very rarely have to bust ice.
  13. tchavez

    tchavez New Member

    Right now I have the same problem in Colorado. My horses have been looking great then in the past two weeks they have not been drinking any water and you can tell. I have had my horses for 12 years and now the sheriff office is getting involved I dont want to loose my horses:(
  14. Jimthewagontraveler

    Jimthewagontraveler Well-Known Member

    Ok I will try to post 1 more time.
    U shaped 2 3/4"exaust pipe with 1 tall and 1 short side.
    Wired to heavy object.
    Sink in trough
    Diesel fuel only!
    Wood ash in bottom of pipe becomes a storage device and wick
  15. Jimthewagontraveler

    Jimthewagontraveler Well-Known Member

    Well that seemed to work so Im willing to type in more info
    Water heater requirements
    1 cheap
    2 easy to move
    3 no electricity
    4 cheap easy fuel
    Here's my bid use 2 3/4" auto exhaust bent into a U shape with one side tall and one short.
    Wire it to a concrete block/rock whatever
    Put 3 soup cans of wood ash in bottom of U shape.
    Pour in 1 can of diesel
    Drop in a 1" wide 4" long piece of cereal box that's on fire
    Keep face away from pipe ends
    This has a very high heat transfer rate
    The longer the bottom of the U is the better the transfer rate
    It will burn all food oils/petroleum oils
    If you use gasoline hug your family goodbye before lighting!!!
    The taller the exhaust side is the cleaner it burns expect way less smoke than a wood fire
    I have set up a used oil drip tank but found the water got to hot to drink
    Although this may be needed if you want to thaw a pond
  16. Immolatus

    Immolatus Just getting started. Always.

    How about this? Could it be rigged to suit your needs?

    -15? Yikes!
  17. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    The trough needs to be insulated first.

    I would build a closed loop solar water heater (use animal safe glycol, not poisonous ethylene glycol) to heat a well insulated tank (to hold heat) and use a small 12 volt solar powered pump to circulate trough water through coils in the insulated storage tank.

    If you can dig deep, a geothermal convection circulation would work well and not need external power.
  18. ChickenChick

    ChickenChick New Member

    This is kind of a redneck fix, but I use an old fashioned hot water bottle filled with VERY hot water, since horses only need a small spot to drink from. I have chickens and 3 horses so I lay 3 hot water bottles in my 3 stock tanks while Im feeding/watering the chickens(I saved 5 milk jugs for hot water to take to the chickens). By the time I'm done, the water bottles usually have melted a big enough hole and I can pick them up and head back in. This would probably even work with milk jugs filled wiyh scalding hot water if you dont have access to hot water bottles. When it's really really cold,sometimes I have to do it twice a day, but hey I love em so it's ok! Good luck!