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4 Ways to Keep Livestock Watering Troughs from Freezing

a horse looking out a window at a snowy field

Winter is a beautiful season, but it does present some unique challenges for farmers and herders. There’s a lot more work to be done just to keep things operating as usual, and one of those tasks usually involves chipping ice off the surface of livestock watering troughs. There’s no way to force spring to arrive any more quickly, but there are methods you can use to help reduce the frequency of this task.

1. Choose the Right Kind of Livestock Watering Troughs

It’s true – if you’re looking to help keep water from freezing, there are certain kinds of troughs that are much better suited to the challenge. At SPI Plastics, for example, our electric, energy-free, and XL series of livestock waterers are built with an insulated base, formed through a double wall filled with an insulated foaming material.

This simple change in design means that it takes much longer for water in our livestock watering troughs to freeze. Now, compare that with a basic metal trough or even an uninsulated plastic trough. You’ll be outside every hour breaking the ice apart. If you’re looking for the ultimate hack to reduce your workload, it starts right when you buy a livestock watering trough.

However, it’s not always feasible to go out and buy a brand-new system of waterers. Sometimes, you’ve just got to work with what you already have. Fear not – there are plenty of other ways to keep your troughs from freezing.

2. Tarp and a Toy Ball

This method is best suited for an outdoor waterer that only serves one or two animals, but it can make a world of difference. In the middle of a black tarp, cut a hole large enough for the animal’s nose to safely pass through. Spread the tarp over your trough, with the hole positioned over the top of the water. Secure the tarp over the trough by either tying it around the base or weighing down the loose flaps with bricks or other heavy materials. To finish the job, throw in a rubber toy ball, like a basketball.

This works in two different ways. The black tarp will function much the same way as a black t-shirt does on a hot day, by absorbing the sun’s heat and trapping it in an air pocket just above the water’s surface, keeping it from freezing. The ball helps by bobbing, either from being pushed by your animal or by just drifting around in the water. Keeping the water circulating helps prevent that initial layer of ice from forming.

3. Fill Your Troughs Right to the Top

If you have livestock watering troughs made for a large volume of animals, this one’s for you. Larger volumes of water take much longer to freeze, giving the animals more time to drink and stir up the water again, preventing freezing. If there’s only a small amount of water in your trough, you can bet that it’ll be frozen solid the next time you go out to check on it. Even if you do nothing else to your trough, filling it right up to the brim will help the water insulate itself and stay liquid longer.

4. Get a Heater for Your Trough

You’ve tried and tried, but it’s just too cold, and you’re stuck breaking up and chucking out pieces of ice from the trough every day. When in doubt, go electric.

You don’t even have to buy a new trough – you can just purchase a removable, submersible water heater. It’s an easy way to turn any trough into a heated oasis for your animals, and when warmer weather returns, you can simply take it out and store it away until next winter.

Energy-Free & Heated Livestock Watering Troughs from SPI Plastics

SPI Plastics has a full range of livestock waterers to choose from, and we’re so confident in our products, we offer a 10-year limited warranty on each one. Discover the waterer that’s right for your animals, and cut down on your daily chore list this winter. Designed with rounded edges and easy to clean, your new waterer will keep your livestock safe, watered, and happy all year long.

To learn more about our range of livestock watering troughs, give us a call at (519) 935-2211 or send us a message online.

SPI Plastics Inc.

165 Stoneman Drive, Box 100
(Shouldice Block Road & Joynt Street)
Shallow Lake, ON
N0H 2K0

T   519-935-2211
TF 800-269-6533
F   519-935-2174

Business Hours

Monday - Thursday: 8am to 4:30pm
Friday: 8am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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