Friday, January 30, 2015
We recently installed heated water buckets in the barn, one in each stall for the horses and one for the goats. I probably should have done this years ago but I think I've finally had enough of busting ice in the morning only to have it refreeze a couple hours later.
The buckets have cords, so you have to put some thought into where you are going to hang them. The cords are wrapped in a protective metal spring to deter chewing, but especially with goats, the cords need to be completely out of sight of them. I don't trust their wandering mouths.
I placed the goat bucket pretty much on the ground (still attached to the wall by a bracket) so that it is low enough for the chickens to access it also if needed. They frequently come in the goat stall for water, especially if all of their drip waterers are frozen. The cord goes through the slats in the wall so they can't reach it. I also put a bungee cord around the bucket to keep them from moving it at all (and possibly exposing the cord).
The water I filled the bucket with started at 35 degrees, and I was happy to see that within two hours it was up to 51. I'm sure the heated water temperature is relative to the outside temperature, and it was in the mid 40s when I took this reading. That night the outside temps dipped into the 20s, and the morning water temp read in the 40s.
The plan with these buckets is to only use them in the winter. For the rest of the year we will store them away. The buckets feature a handy trap door of sorts on the bottom for storing the cord when it isn't being used.