best way to keep goat water from freezing

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by my2goats, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. my2goats

    my2goats New Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    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?
  2. liz

    liz New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I don't use heat lamps or a heated 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.

  3. Heat lamps can be a fire hazard. Heated buckets are safer IMO. That is what I use but my buckets are outdoors.
  4. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    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.
  5. my2goats

    my2goats New Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    thanks all for the prompt replies... does a rubber bucket prolong the water from freezing in cold temps? Right now I am using a flat back plastic one.
  6. Can't imagine that would make a huge difference. I have heard of putting the bucket into a rimless tire to help insulate it but have never tried it.
  7. RMADairyGoats

    RMADairyGoats New Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    I agree that using a heated bucket would be safer :thumb: 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 :greengrin: :D
  8. goatsnmore

    goatsnmore New Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    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.
  9. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    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.
  10. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Plus heat lamps are a scary fire hazard even if they aren't close enough to the floor to keep a water bucket thawed.
  11. Willow

    Willow Senior Member

    We have a large heated bucket that we fill 2/3 full and then we have a smaller bucket that we hand inside the larger bucket. THat way they dont mess up the large heated bucket and we can keep it pluged in and only change/refill the inner pail.
  12. Steph

    Steph Senior Member

    May 7, 2009
    We use the heated buckets from Tractor Supply. They work great as long as we keep them about butt height. Biggest problem was hay in the bucket because they would go to the water while chewing hay and drop it to drink. We would fish the hay out with a large aquarium net.
  13. Trough warmers are worth their weight in gold!!! They make life soooooo much easier!!
  14. Jessaba

    Jessaba Senior Member

    May 13, 2010
    Not sure exactly what it is called *drawing blank* but you put it in trough and it basically comes on when the water gets close to freezing and shuts off when it is above freezing temperature...we are using this for the first time this year as I don't want to be outside constantly unfreezing water like last year. Have heard good things about it so we shall see :)
  15. Breezy-Trail

    Breezy-Trail Senior Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Sprakers, New York
    I live in NY State and know how the winters are like (its similar to Maine).
    They are very cold with winds and lots of snow.
    We usually get at least 2 weeks of sub zero weather.

    Unless you have a heated bucket or something there is no way you will be able to keep it from freezing when temps get to -20.

    I don't use a heated bucket (as I think its a waste of money and electricity) but it may suit you better.
    Make sure if you go this way that you get heated buckets and not bucket heaters (barn fire).
    Tank heaters work good, as they are in a tank and can't be tipped over like buckets.

    My goat pen is insulated with no drafts. It used to be a drying room for wood and has a big 4 ft insulated door.It has a 1ft opening at the top to let air in from the barn side.
    This morning when I went in there I was surprised to find that it was the warmest room in the barn (4 does) when it was 30F outside.
    It has been down to 20F with no water freezing yet.

    I take out water 2 times a day (morning and night). If its cold I take out warmer water. It is just 2 one gallon (apple juice) jugs with handles so its is easy to do.
    On extra cold days I might have to take it out 3 times a day. Being as I am already going out there 2 times a day (for hay and grain feeding) I might as well bring water out in my otherwise empty hands.
  16. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    We have a heated 5 gallon bucket and water trough de icer.The heated water bucket is SO worth it.I have spoiled goats who like fresh warm clean water twice a day and this serves it's purpose for sure. I used the rubber buckets in the past and I still use a rubber hog dish for our chickens.It's easy to pop the ice out compared to a hard plastic bucket.
  17. wvaleries

    wvaleries New Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Keeping water from freezing

    A friend of mine says that he uses an old cooler with the lid removed to put water in for his animals. He says it never freezes. I haven't tried it yet. Has anyone else heard of this?
  18. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator

    You could certainly try it.
  19. canyontrailgoats

    canyontrailgoats New Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    western montana
    I would just bring hot water out twice a day, so they could drink their fill. My goats would usually only drink the evening bucket, and they'd drink 1-2 gallons each! You can add acv or molasses to give them an energy boost.

    This method would be easy for you, having just two goats. It might be more difficult with a whole herd!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  20. lottsagoats1

    lottsagoats1 New Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Middle Maine
    I just make sure they are watered 3 times a day. I rotate water buckets, one set in the stall, one set with ice in my kitchen by the wood stove (the dogs LOVE them) and one set with room temp water waiting to go down to the barn.

    I will not have electricity in my barn because of fear of fire. Last winter 4 farms in my immediate area burned down because of heat lamps and one because of a short in the water bucket. Heat lamps and electric water buckets make me very nervous. I would rather haul buckets back and forth 3 times a day (4 when it's very cold) than take a chance with electricity. I lost my entire herd to a fire a few years ago (neighborhood kid set it) and do not want to ever go thru that again.

    I have found that adding molasses to the water will let it stay fluid for a little longer than just plain water. Same goes for electrolytes if they are something that you need to use.

    I live in central Maine and have dealt with -40 or so temps many times. The animals learn to drink when the water is fresh and liquid.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014