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#1 bcnewe2

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:27 AM

Anyone ever heard of a solar powered stock tank de-icer? I found some propane heaters and one solar powered heater that was just a bubbler but it was really expensive. I'm wondering if a solar powered fence charger can be modified to heat a stock tank?

Any ideas?

Kristen
 

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#2 Debbie Meier

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 10:15 AM

I've had no luck finding anything. I don't think a fence charger would be near enough power to drive a heating element though I've often wonder how much it would take to get one up and running. The propane versions are what we have seen the most of. In our case we have opted to place our two heated water tanks in the barn with a partial lid on them, seems to help a bit on the electric bill. I've often thought of building an insulated shell to place the tank in, but just never got the ambition.

Another really neat thing I saw years ago in a magazine was a geothermal deal, they dug a hole that went well below the frost line and lined it with a culvert. Then they placed a grate over the top followed by the stock tank. They claimed that the tank stayed clear all winter. Guessing it would be subject to having the right type of ground conditions in your area to pull it off. I would love to get Wayne talked into helping me try it out, hey maybe when we dig up the ruptured water line in the hog barn we could just leave the hole open and give it a try. With my luck it will cave in and our sheep will all fall in...ugh..

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#3 Bill Fosher

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:25 AM

A solar energizer is not going to do the trick for you unless you live in a place where the water barely freezes in the first place. A 2 foot by 3 foot solar panel produces about 40 watts of electricity when fully in the sun (none at night, when temps are coldest) and the smallest stock tank heater I've ever seen draws 250 watts. Most solar fence energizers have tiny panels, no more than 10 watts. The bubbler would require much less power, and would probably be very effective.

Most energy-free waterers rely on geothermal heat, frequent draw, and heavy insulation to keep water from freezing. Most of these systems do not leave any water exposed to the air at all, requiring animals to push down on a flap or a ball to get at the water. I have seen them in use on cattle operations here in New Hampshire, and the owners report that they work well. Bear in mind that cows drink a lot more than sheep, providing the frequent draw that helps keep water from freezing.

#4 Debbie Meier

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 08:57 AM

Most energy-free waterers rely on geothermal heat, frequent draw, and heavy insulation to keep water from freezing. Most of these systems do not leave any water exposed to the air at all, requiring animals to push down on a flap or a ball to get at the water. I have seen them in use on cattle operations here in New Hampshire, and the owners report that they work well. Bear in mind that cows drink a lot more than sheep, providing the frequent draw that helps keep water from freezing.


Hi Bill, the one that I saw in the article was a big open stock tank being used out on winter pasture, I think it was being used in Montana, but it was years ago when I read the article and could be wrong. The premise was that heat rising up out of the ground through the hole would keep the water warm from the bottom.
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#5 bcnewe2

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 09:34 AM

If i lived in a place that barely freezed I wouldn't need one!
I have no electric close to the stocktank so I have to figure out what I'm gonna do. Running extention cords seems pretty dangerous as I think there will be snow on the ground. I'm thinking to lay some pvc pip down and pull some cord through that.
I don't think I'll be burying the tank to see if that works. Maybe move the pen?
Thanks...I knew it was to good an idea to work.

Kristen
 

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#6 wsp

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:35 PM

Here is an interesting discussion on solar stock tank heating. Hopefully you can access it.

http://homesteadingt...ad.php?t=232090

Keep in mind, being solar you are limited to the time the sun is out for heat, shorter winter days means less heating hours. If you have several cloudy days in a row, things can get cold. Be sure you are prepared to have things freeze and find an alternative method to water animals.
I've seen people use and old tractor tire with a rubber liner as a stock tank, then leave a tire or two floating around on top. The tires floating will absorb heat during the day and help keep water melted.
Another idea, which I've had good luck with myself is to make a shelter for the tank like a small greenhouse. I use clear heavy duty plastic preferably greenhouse quality. The household stuff from the hardware store seems to start falling apart after only one year, or at least the kind I bought. The frame can be made from cattle panels, an old stock rack, or just a lean to on the side of the barn. The sheep will push through plastic, so you will need to protect it with some sort of fencing. This shelter can warm the tank up on sunny days and will protect it some from the weather. If the sheep can bed down in the shelter, they will also help warm it. The down side to that is you have to clean it.
Last year I set out some black plastic tubs from cow minerals in one section of my greenhouse lambing barn where the rest of the sheep could get to it through a smaller sheep door. They never froze solid, but we had a mild winter. Good thing about the tubs is if they do freeze you can set them upside down in the sun and the ice will pop out .
Wendy Peters
Aledo, IL.
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#7 bcnewe2

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 04:59 PM

THanks for the idea and link Wendy.
Good to hear from you. Believe it or not....I miss AR and the people down there.
If you ever make it out to CO...come on over...we've got lots of room.
THey're hosting 2011's finals about 45 minutes away from our place. If you make it to them, plan on seeing me! We always have extra room too!

Kristen
 

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#8 wsp

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 08:37 PM

It sure was a nice place you had there, spiders and all lol.
Thanks for the offer of staying at your place, I hope to make it out there and take you up on it.
Wendy Peters
Aledo, IL.
claycreekfarm.info

#9 bcnewe2

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 10:48 AM

I'd forgotten about the spiders! :rolleyes:
We have mice that have replaced our spiders out here and Mick won't allow any cats to help. I'm thinking the spiders weren't as bad as these darn mice!
This place has the million dollar view but the place down in AR had it beat by a mile, it had grass!!

Kristen
 

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Full of people waiting to be offended by something!

 

 

 

 


#10 wsp

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:50 AM

I bet hay costs are high there .

Once you get over the shock of seeing those big spiders they were kind of cool.
Wendy Peters
Aledo, IL.
claycreekfarm.info


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