What's the biggest factor in animal nutrition? Water. You can provide a gourmet diet, but if you don't keep the water fresh and available, horses and livestock won't thrive.
Furnishing an adequate supply of fresh water is essential for horses. University of Kentucky data shows that mature horses require 8 to 12 gallons of water per animal each day. Ponies and horse foals require 6 to 8 gallons a day.
In the stall, horse waterers should be located where spilled water will drain out of the stall area without causing a muddy or damp floor. Automatic watering devices need to be electrically heated so they won't freeze. When hand-watering, provide a freeze-proof hydrant in the alley area.
"Animals need ready access to a clean water supply if they are to make maximal use of other nutrients," says Gerald Huntington, beef nutritionist at North Carolina State University. Don't skimp on the number of units. "Plenty of waterers improve the use of pasture forage because it allows you to use intensive and strip grazing," says Huntington. Fence line waterers also allow you to restrict animal access to streams and ponds.
Here are 15 waterers to consider:
Pine Ranch Products
The Bob Trough from Pine Ranch Products taps into the sun's power, requiring no electricity or fuel to operate. Either fill with a hose from the top or attach an underground water line. Comes in 25-gallon and 42-gallon sizes. Larger size has been in use nationwide since 1987 and is guaranteed to -50¡F. with windchill factor. A 25-gallon model is guaranteed to -20¡F. with windchill factor.
Brower Performance One Drinker is an energy-efficient waterer made by Hawkeye Steel in Houghton, Iowa. Uses less than $10 of electricity per heating season. Holds 17 gallons of water for 150-head capacity. Drinker wells are 14 inches deep. Made of 100% poly construction. Molded with ultraviolet inhibitor for outdoor use. Stainless steel valve cover removes easily. Sealed bottom keeps out moisture and rodents. 250-watt heater.
Cancrete concrete water bowls are made by Advanced Equipment Concepts in Alberta, Canada. Rugged design eliminates freezing and premature deterioration. Epoxy coating. Service doors, valve covers, and float ball are 16-gauge stainless steel. Six models range from a 50-head unit to 700-head unit. Model shown is the C350. U.S. distribution. 10-year warranty.
The insulated JUG waterer, manufactured by Edstrom Industries in Wisconsin, works year round. The open-bowl design has no balls, lids, or flaps for animals to move out of the way. JUG features a draw tube that works like a giant straw, allowing animals to suck up water, just as they would drink from a natural water hole. Feed-trap design prevents debris from entering the tank. Available in one-, two-, and four-bowl models.
Equuspring pasture waterer provides fresh, clean water to horses and livestock year round. Constructed of durable plastic that will not crack or deteriorate under severe climactic conditions or high impact. Withstands horse abuse. Available in white or gray granite. 53 inches in diameter at the base and 37 inches high. Ultrasmooth surface retards algae growth. Optional insulated Equuspring has electric heater.
All-purpose poly waterer is manufactured in Monticello, Iowa. Patented floating lid has been in use for more than 10 years on farms and ranches. Saves 85% in heating costs over other conventional models. Water stays cooler in summer; heat locks in during winter. Lid retards algae growth. Special stops below floating lid make sure water remains in unit; wind can't blow in and freeze valve line.
Designed by ranchers in Alberta, Canada. Requires no power or heat source to operate. Ideal for remote locations. Livestock are trained to pump their own water. Pump is mounted on a wide-diameter (24-inch minimum) insulated casing. Can be used over well or trenched from pond. Seal around casing and provide large, insulated, cement pad for livestock to stand on.
Made in Hoskins, Nebraska, Model C3626 measures 36 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 26 inches high. Frame is 16-gauge galvanized, insulated with 11Ú4-inch polystyrene. Tank is 24-gauge stainless steel with a 25-year warranty. Heated with 500-watt heater not fastened to the tank, minimizing stray voltage and electric shock. Large service doors open easily. Models are available from 17 to 120 inches long.
Super Bowl energy-free waterer features patented closure system. Set back seal and drain counteract problems associated with ice, which can freeze other closure systems. Super Bowl's low-profile design and fully hinged door allow animals to drink all of the water. Because there are no floating obstructions, animals are not restricted from consuming all of the water.
The new 2900 Space Saver 6-gallon automatic waterer has a one-piece body polyethylene construction. No sharp edges. Stands up to livestock abuse. Resistant to corrosion. Urethane foam insulation. Sealed bottoms. 19-inch drinking height. Optional 250-watt submersible heater. Five-year warranty. Use in small area or fence lines. Available in gray, black, blue, tan, or hunter green.
Nelson stainless steel waterers are made in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Models are available for stalls, pens, or pasture. The all-season automatic watering system features stainless steel design, easy-to-clean removable drinking bowl, weight-activated valves, UL listing, and optional water consumption monitors. Nelson waterers are used by livestock farms, horse farms, and more. Nelson sells direct to the consumer.
Pride of Farm
Pride of Farm waterers have been made by Hawkeye Steel in Iowa for more than 70 years. Sold through dealers and distributors. 20-gallon energy-free drinker can serve up to 100 cows with calves. Because of large water capacity, there is less chance of freezing up. Flap closure means no recess areas where waste and debris can collect. Animals can operate flaps easily.
Ritchie waterers have been made in Conrad, Iowa, since 1921. The WaterMatic 150 features rugged, durable poly unibody construction. Waters up to 40 beef cattle or horses. Patented water seal keeps cold wind out of the valve chamber. The drop-in cover requires no gaskets to crack or tear. Easy to clean. Supplemental electric heat optional. Available in small and large models.
Made in Ontario, Canada. Products are created to provide water during cold winters. Models include energy-free, electric, value series, tip tanks, troughs, and stock tanks. Made of a food-grade, recyclable plastic. Strong and corrosion-free. Easy access to components and water line. Low maintenance. Designed with rounded corners for livestock safety.
Trojan Livestock Equipment is manufactured in Dodge City, Kansas. This Livestock Bowl is one piece and made of high-impact polypropylene that won't rust or corrode and is flexible to impact. Smooth, easy to clean, and resists bacteria growth. Non-siphoning valve has a quick shutoff at variable pressures. Easy for small livestock to operate. Convenient way to water a variety of livestock.
What to look for
A good waterer will be:
easy to clean
full of water all of the time
easy to repair
able to be serviced
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