Keeping your animals wet and happy during the winter is a daunting task. It doesn’t matter if you are a large scale or a small scale homesteader, it will always be challenging.
Animals like dairy cows need plenty of water to aid production. If they are to produce ten gallons of milk daily, they will need ten gallons of water daily. However, this water can cause harm and create a slippery environment for animals like pigs and ducks. Most farmers keep their animals wet by taking steps to prevent their water from freezing.
Below are five cheap ways of watering your animals by keeping water from freezing;
- Make Raised Water Platforms
Due to the cold during the winter, heat gets robbed of their water buckets when placed directly in the fall. This increases the chances of freezing. Putting these buckets few inches above the ground will keep it from freezing when the weather is not too cold. Suspend the water system for your chickens. Use a bucket latched to the wall of your barn for larger animals.
- Hauling Warm Water
For most animals, the best way to ensure they get fresh water is to haul water in daily. Livestock like rabbit and chickens are not big and require little water every few days. However, with larger animals, you will need to haul in little water daily to save time and energy.
- Watering Indoors
When you water your animals indoors, the water will be protected from the harsh weather and will not freeze for much longer when compared to watering outdoors. This way your animals get the water they need for a longer period. The water can last for up to three days.
- Watering in Feed
Livestock like chickens and pigs will benefit greatly from wet food. You can water their feed with warm mash to help them stay hydrated. This will also help reduce the level of feed waste. Adding one bucket of hot water to their food will help them consume more and keep dehydration at bay. This doesn’t mean you will neglect their regular water buckets; it’s just an additional way to add hydration during the winter.
- Passive Compost Heating
You can passively heat up their water with an active compost. Simply place your water trough near the structure and each time you clean up the pen, toss some manure around and behind the trough. The manure keeps the water insulated and even makes it hot.
Just like humans, animals need extra care in harsh weather. Practice these tips and eliminate casualty during the winter. However, keep in mind that watering of livestock like the waterfowl is not encouraged when the temperature is below freezing level. Also, ducks prefer to play in the water more than they love to drink it. So be careful about watering them when the temperature is below freezing. The water, no matter how little, can become ice and your ducks may get injured or even killed.