Sunday, August 24, 2008

Winter Wondering

The weather in Deroche was so foul today that I was forced to contemplate the logistics of keeping livestock lively through the winter months. The Fraser Valley rarely sees temperatures lower than -5 degrees C, but some of the cold snaps persisted for several days last year. The outdoor piping at Farcical Farm does not lend itself to the installation of frost-free hydrants, so I need to devise some other means to keep the water flowing. Simple insulation? Heating tape? Collect rain water in large emergency reservoir? Run a very long hose to the paddock from the house? Hauling water for the goats will be easy if it becomes necessary, but I'd prefer a more practical second line of defense for the horses. Ideas anyone?


Carole said...

For temperatures like that, I'd probably get a big trough and build an insulated box around it and a partial lid. Fill it full on warmer days and use a floating tank heater. For only two horses, you can top it up every couple of days by running the hose from the house.

We put in a Ritchie waterer. It was a huge amount of work and a significant expense, but it's been completely worry free year round (to -35 or worse in Manitoba) and so was totally worth the investment.

EvenSong said...

I forget your layout....How far is it from the closest corner of your horse paddock to the nearest frost proof hose-bib at the house? One thing we have done (before frost free hydrants--what a God-send!) was to get the biggest rubbermaid tank we could afford, install a heater, with an appropriate cage to keep the hose off of it, then STORE the hose, coiled, in the tank to keep it thawed. It means getting a bit sloggy when handling the wet hose, so one needs to dress appropriately.

This all presumes said tank is close enough to water source that there's not too much hose, nor too long of an extension cord for the heater. I suppose you could "extend" your paddock closer to the house with the corral panels that you were going to buy for your round pen ANYWAY. ;-D

Long term advise for the future: invest in a trench for both water line and electric service, it's worth EVERY penny. (Your ground can't be any rockier than ours!)

LatigoLiz said...

Good old stock tank heater...and rain water from a metal roof, not a composite shake one, feeding it.

dp said...

One of the great mysteries at Farcical Farm is water pressure. It's good at the two outdoor pipe stands and crappy as heck in the house. We know that we're going to have to dig the whole thing up one day, at which point we will install frost-free hydrants.

Until then I like the idea of storing a hose in the heated water tank. I think I can keep the pipe stand in the horse paddock warm enough (most of it is already in an insulted brick housing) and then I can just run the hose over 30 for refills. Excellent! All thats required is an extension cord from the house or garage, and that's no big deal.

You're all smart folks. Thanks!