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Friday, January 21, 2011

Tank Ice

I think this winter has finally convinced Husband that we need to do something about the cattle tank freezing.

This morning I walked out to do my chores and found Courage standing in the tank, on the ice. She's at least 800lbs. I fed the rabbits and chickens, and headed out to separate Murial and Xuxi, and to see what on earth was going on with the tank. It was half full yesterday. The electric deicer was still plugged in, but buried under the ice. Courage stood there staring at me, before deciding that she had better get out of the tank.

I tried getting the deicer out, but the ice above it was just too thick. What looks like might have happened was that the cows sucked down the water that the deicer had melted, and it had slipped under a thicker chunk of ice, causing the thinner part to refreeze. It should be 40F sometime today, and I should be able to dislodge the deicer and fill the tank.

Last summer I had talked to Husband about the freezing issue. We looked into all kinds of expensive products, I really would love to have the Frost Free Nose Pump. But I settled on isolating and using solar to keep the tank from freezing. It never happened.

The rabbits have a heated water dish and the chickens have a heat lamp on their waterer, but the cows and sheep. . . well just the floating deicer. Something has to happen, they should never be without fresh water. So this will be another project.


City Sister said...

I hate having to go out with a tea kettle and deicing the chickens...I would use a light, but am too scared of fire!

Myk said...

we live in alaska here we wrapped our tanks with insulation then built a tight box around and over the tanks, then cut holes big enough for the cows to drink.(we have heaters also) it has been -40 to -50 all winter and tanks havent froze yet.

Anonymous said...

Do you have access to a backhoe and a ten foot section of 3 or 4' diameter culvert? If so, next spring dig a 10-12' hole, as small as can be managed. Put in the culvert, vertically. Backfill around it. Whackerpack with a jumping jack type packer if you can rent one for a day. Do half a dozen lifts and compactions. Backfill very slowly otherwise, so as not to disturb the culvert.

Top of culvert should be at ground level or a couple inches below. Set your tank on this culvert. Backfill around the perimeter of the tank. As Myk says, you also want to cover and insulate the tank.

This vertical culvert has made you a geothermal heater for your tank. Bye-bye current bush.

Kelle said...

trough ice is a problem we've not solved either. So in winter we use rubber water tubs, easily dumbed out and refilled. Now I understand that is NOT an option with as many cows as you have. We did install the frost free hydrants and have the well, just can't afford the pump and running the electricity from the house right now*sigh* It sure will be a blessing to have water closer than lugging buckets of water from the house. :o) When we run the electricity out to the well, we'll also run outdoor ground fault plugs by each trough area and put in the bottom tank heaters to keep them from freezing.

Have you looked into Propane tank heaters, around here they work well for the ranchers who's cows are still out on the range in winter. I have no idea of the costs, maybe it will be an option for the short term for you.

Parker said...

Brrrrr!! My first thought was - solar water heater! But you guys already thought of it.... from the plans I've seen online (like from Mother Earth), it looks like a project your husband could easily do. No risk of a power outage or short-circuit, and no cows ice skating in the trough! Heh :)

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