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I have 10 katadhin sheep, 2 anatolian guardian dogs and 3 border collies. I have several water troughs around the fields for drinking and dunking. I'm having a terrible time with the black plastic troughs growing copious algae. I can scrub them and they are back to green the next day. The metal troughs don't do it. Any suggestions? I really want the animals to have clean, fresh water, it's so blasted hot! Thanks!

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I use clorox clean-up as I have that problem too. It doesn't get rid of it forever but it does cut down on scrubbing everyday. I make sure I rinse the troughs really well before refilling with water. The stable I used to work at used an acid rinse to keep all their troughts and water buckets clean. The acid rinse was for cleaning bulk tanks, but I don't remember the name.

 

Samantha

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You can try dropping a couple pennies from before 1982 in them. The copper is supposed to help keep algae in check. I can't imagine that the pennies would leave enough copper in the water to affect sheep, but I haven't tried this method in anything except a bird bath.

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Is it the bright green kind, or the icky brown kind? When I was a kid we always had the bright green kind, and we would just push it out of the way and drink the water anyhow. Never hurt us or the stock. I suppose I am "au Savage", but I always thought the water from the "mossy" tank tasted better. (As long as you beat the cows to it! - Uh! Slobber.)

 

We had galvanized tanks, but they were very old. Maybe that's why the algae grew in 'em.

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I have three large (4-foot diameter) groundwater-fed concrete waterers in my pasture. They fill via tile drains (PVC pipe) in the pastures; the excess flows out through a pipe that drains to the stream. (One is too tall for sheep and I'm keeping it permanently drained). I have a TERRIBLE time with algae growth in them during the summer. Most of the suggestions I've received (bleach; apple cider vinegar) won't work because the water's residence time is only an hour or so (i.e., if I drain them, they refill within an hour). Goldfish would make it hard to scrub the tanks (besides, they're such FILTHY fish!). I love them in the winter, because they never freeze, and algae grows but slowly in the winter, but in the summer - YECCCH! I've been needing to scrub and drain them three times a week because the algae grows so fast. As an environmental chemist/environmental engineer, I'm finicky about clean water, as well as a bit paranoid about algal toxins (and I'd be nervous about putting pennies in the water - might work for bird baths, but copper is toxic to sheep).

 

This year I hit upon an alternative solution. I bought one of these waterers from Premier1. I just connect it to a hose that's permanently attached to the nearest hydrant. It's got a small volume (which means it refills every time a sheep drinks from it). I just dump it out and swish it with my hand each day. Takes less than 30 seconds. The first one worked so well that I bought two more. I'll take them up and put them in the barn once we hit frost season, but they've substantially reduced my summer chores.

 

Note that I do have them set up in the shade, and I'm using green hoses, not black ones. They water they contain has felt reasonably cool every time I've tested it. Perhaps not as cool as my groundwater-fed waterers, but cool enough. And without the loathsome algae!

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Oh, and I use a stock tank next to the barn for dunking. It's in the shade most of the day, and I just dump it and refill it with a hose each day.

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