Grit Blogs > Homesteading with Mrs D

Dealing With Frozen Water Troughs

By Robyn Dolan 

Tags: Cold, Snow, Ice, Robyn Dolan,

Snow and cold in Arizona

A photo of Robyn DolanThe Homestead has had some extreme weather the last few weeks.  10 and 16 below zero overnight New Years week, then up into the high 50s during the day.  Fortunately, not much damage was done.  Except to the electric bill. I finally decided it was more economical to put an extra heater in the pumphouse than to fight with frozen and broken water lines.  That made the biggest inconvenience the frozen water troughs.  The smaller ones froze solid for several days, the larger ones maintained over a foot of ice on the surface.  It was really tricky getting enough water to the animals during that period.  I almost resorted to running a hose from the water heater to the troughs just to help them thaw out faster.  There is just no easy way to chip through that much solid ice.

Snowed in chicken coop

Perhaps I'll have to consider some heating elements for the water troughs now.  At least the hose thawed out after the first day.  Carrying water to 5 horses and a dairy cow is alot of work!  Not to mention the smaller animals.  A garden cart doesn't slide too well over snow.  I considered putting skis on it, but I already gave away my downhills and didn't want to ruin my cross countrys.

Horses in the snow

And speaking of the garden cart, hauling the hay to all the critters was quite a project without it.  I tried putting a bale on the old broken Radio Flyer sled, but it was too heavy and sank into the snow.  So now I'm brainstorming ideas for hand drawn transport of hay bales and water buckets over snow.  A sheet of aluminum roofing?  Sled runners for the garden cart?  Teach the horses to (gulp!) work?! and pull a wagon?  Any ideas?