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Four Winter Watering Set-Ups

By   /  November 26, 2018  /  2 Comments

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Click to download the full factsheet.

Keeping stock watered in winter can be a challenge. With that in mind we thought we’d check with our neighbors to the north to see what kind of solutions they’ve come up with to make watering easier in even the coldest winters. We found this factsheet from folks in Manitoba with four different solutions as well as some good tips to consider when you’re setting up for winter watering. Here are four different options. For details on setting them up, download the full factsheet.

Motion Detector Water Pump-Up System

Cattle drink from a small bowl which only fills with water when a motion sensor detects movement in front of the drinking bowl.

Portable Ice-free Waterer

Cattle drink from a water trough which only has a small area situated outside of a well-insulated building. The building temperature is moderated by the latent heat of the hundreds of gallons of water stored within the building in a poly tank.

Here’s how a farmer uses this concept to water his pigs in the winter.

Mining Tire Geothermal Waterer

Cattle drink from a water trough made from a used industrial mining tire. The bottom side of the drinking water trough is kept relatively warm with geothermal heat rising from below the frost line.

Geothermal Ice-free Waterer

Cattle drink water out of the top of an insulated galvanized tube which contains about about 500 gallons (2,300 litres) of water. The water is kept warm from geothermal heat and the latent heat contained within the water itself.

If you have winter stock watering solutions that might help others, share them in the comments below!

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. Martin says:

    I use a 1100 gph 12v bilge pump in a 10′ round tank. 110 volt to 12volt transformer for line current, you can also use a deep cell battery but you have to charge them frequently. Moving water does not freeze until you get below zero.

  2. Matt Dorsett says:

    My watering system is solar and off grid so no electricity. I use the water bottle method. Use multiple 2 or 3 litre empty soft drink bottles with saltwater on the inside. The salt water will not freeze at 32 degrees so the cattle can push the bottle down into the ice and have a hole to drink from. I usually tie a weighted string to the neck of the bottle in order to keep them close to the edge of the trough. Works decently until several days of temps ion the teens, then off to bust ice.

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