My wife and I are having a debate over the best way to keep the goat water from freezing this winter (in Maine). She thinks heat lamps would serve two purposes heating the water and keeping the goats 'somewhat' warm. I'm thinking a heated bucket would be more practical and economical. The goat shed has 4 sides and a solid floor but has an open grated window and open vents at top of the walls so would a heat lamp really be able to heat the water, let alone warm the air temp when it is 5 below zero? This is our first winter with our two ND wethers, does anyone have experience using these devices?
I don't use heat lamps or a heated bucket...my girls have an area large enough to hang a water bucket on an inside wall never freezes solid but does end up with a thin layer on top, my boys have outside rubber buckets that are easily bumped out when froze, I also fill buckets with hot water 3 times a day.
I agree with Logan. Goats like to get into mischief and a heat lamp close to the water could make a "toy" for them. I'd go with heated buckets or a trough de-icer if you have power. I just have a small rubber tub that gets filled morning and night and dumped as needed if it freezes.
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I agree that using a heated bucket would be safer We don't have heated buckets for the does/bucks but we do have one in the horses tank and it works great! We just dump hot water in for the goats when it is really cold. They love a nice warm drink
Winters here, -20 to -30 is common, during January and into Feb. We've used the black rubber tubs...they freeze solid. We put the tub into a tire and packed old hay around it....water froze solid. However, I will say that it's easier to get the frozen water out of the black rubber tubs vs the plastic buckets. For the past couple years, we've been using a 16 gallon heated, plastic bucket and it works great.
I use the plastic buckets. I keep two sets, and take out the frozen one in the morning and put fresh water in the second set. But it is warmer here, by the end of the day the frozen buckets are thawed enough to empty. Last year for a week or so it was colder than that and I had to bring them in the house to thaw, as well as change the water in the middle of the day. I was taking them hot water several times a day then. That is not very practical, I recommend heated buckets. But you need to be able to keep the cords where they can't get them. I have one but don't use it because of that. It's a tough problem.