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Hello! I am entering my first winter with my herd. I have boys separated from girls, and have been setting up their heated tanks this week due to some cold snaps that iced over their water. I have a 15gal tank with a submersible de-icer for the girls and a 3-5gal heated bucket for the boys. They are each on separate grounded, heavy gauge extension cords. None of the goats will drink the water when there is power to it. I’ve touched the water and I’m not getting shocked, but every time they try to drink they touch the water and jerk back like they’re getting a zap. They are clearly thirsty, and as soon as I unplug the bucket or the de-icer they guzzle the water. I can’t figure it out. Do I need to ground these items? Are they just sensitive to a vibration they may be putting off and just need to get used to it? Is there a slight shock I can’t feel? I’ve used the same de-icer for my chickens with no problem. I’m really stumped and want to figure this out so their water stops freezing at night. Thanks for your help!
 

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Is there a light on the heater that flashes or flickers that could be scaring them away? Are the buckets plastic or metal? Could be that the heaters have a small short in them. If you're not getting shocked, it could be that you are not well grounded possibly by wearing rubber boots or rubber soles. I imagine the goats would be more well grounded with their hooves in direct contact with the ground assuming there isn't a floor in your barn. You might consider plugging them into a GFI outlet. In any case, I hope you get it figured out.
 

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Goats can hear, feel, and sense things that we can’t. Mine know when the power is on to the hot fence and when it is off. Im going to assume it’s the same thing going on here. Not really sure how to fix that though other then plug it in at night, goats don’t drink a whole lot at night if anything, and unplug in the morning. Hopefully they just get used to it and realize it’s not going to hurt them and you can keep it on full time
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Goats can hear, feel, and sense things that we can’t. Mine know when the power is on to the hot fence and when it is off. Im going to assume it’s the same thing going on here. Not really sure how to fix that though other then plug it in at night, goats don’t drink a whole lot at night if anything, and unplug in the morning. Hopefully they just get used to it and realize it’s not going to hurt them and you can keep it on full time
Yes, I’ve been thinking about putting them on a timer and heating all night long and turning it off during the day.
 

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There can be what is called "stray" current- cow dairy farms struggle with it, too. The smallest current actually does shock them when they go to drink. You can't feel it, unless
you put your lips (YUK) to the water. Older buckets are more apt to do this.
Unfortunately, new buckets plugged into GFCI's are probably your best bet. GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interupters)
 

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You could take your shoes off, wet your feet, and see if the water shocks your finger then? Hold a metal wire in your mouth and touch it to the wire and hope you don’t die? Really sounds like they are getting shocked. As far as chickens go, they do have beaks so might not be as sensitive? Or as smart…Are the extension cords three pronged?
 
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