Farm, Garden and The Land > Live Stock, Critters and Aquaculture

Frozen Pig Water


Andy in NH:
I've got a 35 gallon plastic tank with a pig nipple in the bottom for watering my hog.
This is my third hog and he'll be going to slaughter at the beginning of December.
That means when the cold weather arrives, I'm looking at having to drain the tank and haul water out to the pen everyday for a couple of weeks just like the prior years.
I'd like to find a way to heat the tank and keep the nipple free from ice.
I have power nearby and can run an extension cord from the chicken coop.
I checked the Frozen chicken water thread, but not sure any of those solutions could help.
The items I've seen on Amazon or at the local feed store are for five gallon buckets or state "not for use with extension cords".
I've considered fish tank heaters, but I don't think they were designed for keeping that amount of water thawed in freezing temperatures.
My other concern is that the 1500w stock tank heaters might be too much for the size of the barrel causing the water to get too hot for the pig to drink.
Any thoughts of recommendations would be appreciated.

David in MN:
Game of inches. It sounds dumb but slightly burying a trough, using non-thermal compounds, and wind shields won't do you favors in sub zero but in the inbetweens can help. That's what my grandparents did in Wisconsin.

If you really want the cheat sheet I've seen farmers use a little vodka to stretch in near freezing environment. Pigs eat damn near anything and a little plastic jug vodka probably won't hurt but don't tell the PC police I said it (though the Japanese pay extra for pigs finished on beer). If booze sounds bad sugar and/or salt can change the freezing point. I would not feel bad about offering a pig sugar water rather than ice but as always we all have opinions. You could get creative and buy a disposall and put yard fruit through it for the sugar content.

But that's the game of inches. NH gets cold. Maybe not MN cold but the principles are the same. Protect from ambient conditions or chemically alter the liquid. The electrical stuff tends to fail on the worst day. And I really hate mixing water and wires.


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