How to Prevent Freeze-Up in Livestock Water Tanks

by Amy Cocke

Any time the temperature drops below freezing, your livestock tanks will likely get a buildup of ice. Sometimes this buildup becomes so heavy the animals in your pastures are unable to break through the ice to get sufficient water intake. This results in problems like dehydration in many animals and colic in horses. This results in you having to lug out buckets of hot water or having to break the ice and pick it out of the water.

Purchase a water heater from a farm supply store if you live in an area that experiences hard freezes. These can be fairly inexpensive, depending on the features offered in the heater. Make sure that the one you purchase has a safety feature that shuts off the heater if your animals remove it from the water.

Place your water tank near an electrical outlet so the heater can be plugged in and so there is less space between the heater and outlet for your animals to chew on or pull the cord.

Slide the PVC pipe over the electrical cord. This will keep your animals from tugging and chewing on the cord.

Wrap the rest of the cord once around a fence post next to the spigot before running it out of the pasture to the outlet. This loop is another way to keep your animals from chewing and tugging on the cord.

Place a basketball or soccer ball in the water tank in areas that don't freeze as often. You can also use any other large, floating ball. As your animals move the ball around to drink, it will keep the water from building up as much ice.

Items you will need

  • Basketball or soccer ball
  • Water heater
  • Two-foot-long PVC pipe

Photo Credits

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