Keeping Water Warm in Winter: Readers Share Tips
Nearly 900 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, " How do you keep your horses' water in the barn from freezing during the winter?"
Results were as follows:
- Heated buckets: 42.27% (372)
- Change water in the buckets frequently: 32.50% (286)
- I don't keep horses in the barn during the winter : 25.91% (228)
- Heated automatic waterers: 17.50% (154)
- Heat the barn: 5.00% (44)
(Multiple selections were allowed)
Readers shared their tips for keeping water warm in the comments below.
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- Too many risks with heater elements
- also insulate water tanks and keep them under shelter
- Here in central Arizona water freezing is not an issue
- Horses are on 24hr turnout.
- I use warm water in the buckets in the evening.
- tank heaters and de-icers for outdoor water
- Barn only is heated to 40 F when below freezing
- Have thermal insulated buckets and fill frequently with warm water. They wait for it.
- run in shelters w/heater in stock tank
- When it's really cold I put an apple in the water. He plays apple bobbing and ice doesn't form.
- Insulated Bucket Holder
- I use water heaters/buckets in the fields
- Freezing not a problem in Phoenix, AZ deserts except 1-2 nites a year
- Water trough heaters and turnout with stall access 24/7.
- special buckets that promote keeping water unfrozen
- Thick rubber buckets (the black ones) and add hot water
- Nelson Automatic waterer...best thing we ever bought for the farm !!! Happy customer in New York.
- My barn stays above freezing most of the Winter and I add warm water on cold night.
- I've used propane water tank heaters for years and notice my horses drink more & don't colic.
- The heated buckets are great since my horses are in and out
- trough heater in barn 2 sets of buckets 4 stalls. "off" buckets in heated porch to thaw
- The horses keep the barn warm enought to keep the water from freezing.I also add hot water whencold
- The water is outside, but we change it out every other day, and the heater keeps it from freezing.
- Insulated barn and heat from the horse kepps the water from frezzing.
- live in NM
- I use a deicer in the water trough. They have access to stalls 24/7
- My barn is insulated and they don't freeze
- I don't keep horses stalled, but have a flating tank de-icer in a 40-gallon tub.
- Horses are outside most of the time. Come in at night or during inclement weather.
- 100 gal heated tank
- our horses are outside most of the time, If they have to be in, we change water frequently
- I add warm water to the buckets and also use insulated (non-electric) buckets
- Love our heated buckets & keeps the horses drinking during freezing weather.
- Stock tank heater
- just live in the south!
- water tank heater
- I have a water trough heater
- tank heaters
- They are free to go in and out during the winter on there own, and the horse tank has a water heater
- Thermal buckets -- with plastic disks in the top
- I only keep my horses in the barn at night so a heated water bucket lasts all night.
- Don't have a barn. Use shelter shed, remove ice as needed; horses drink all they need.
- I keep horses in as little as possible, but use heated buckets at those times.
- My horses range free in pasture. They go in a barn in severe weather; 25 gallon tubs are heated.
- also add warm water to each bucket
- for outside, I change buckets frequently
- Penned for feeding then turned out. Break any ice on troughs every morning while horses are eating.
- I live in Louisiana. We don't have very many days that are freezing.
- I use a tank heater in a 100 gallon water tank -it works good
- I insulate the barn automatic waterers and have a heating element for the outdoor tub
- We also add hot water to the buckets at night
- I am fortunate to have heated auto warerers inside & out.worth every penny & less problems
- Floating de-icers in the stock tanks
- Free choice ice free water is the only option for a healthy horse.
- none of the above.SELTZER water 1 liter bottle when it is really cold, works the best.
- I also haul warm water in jugs from the house to break the ice up and then remove the ice by hand
- We move from Iowa to South Texas in November and return to Iowa in May
- Have a "heater" that goes in the water from freezing in the cold weather
- Our horses have a run attached to their barn stall. We keep heaters in the 100 gal tanks
- Insulated & heated water line above stalls
- The stable where my horses are boarded outdoors has heated automatic waterers.
- tank de icer
- Heated water tanks
- I have a military immersion heater in the big tank
- I use water heaters in all water buckets and barrels
- fill buckets w/warm water AM & PM
- I add hot water at night. It helps,but water still has ice by morning.
- Horses are outside w/heated water tanks.
- My horses are outside 24/7 with shelters in each paddock and 100 gallon water tanks with heaters
- Have a hot water heater in the barn, I add hot water to icy buckets. Works great.
- In California almost never freezes that long
- I uses plug-in water heaters in the troughs.
- I moved to California
- Water 1X daily with warmer water, heated water tank outside thru day
- I use insulated bucket holders, and alway give them warm water
- I aso use heated buckets/bowls for the barn cats & dog.
- use insulated buckets, change water 2-3 times daily
- Heated buckets cause death in horses, just happened to a friend
- Horses have two buckets, one heated and one insulated
- Not a problem where I live--coastal No. California
- we add warm water to top off
- We use insulated buckets, add hot water twice a day, and the water stays warm all day/night.
- they go in thru a hole in the bottom of the trough. portect the wire by putting it thru a pvc pipe
- But was do have heated auto waterers in the pastures.
- I don't have a barn, but rather a three sided run-in shed. My water troughs are outside w/heaters.
- I use a stock tank defroster.
- LOVE IT! - Nelson Waterer!
- In Michigan you need to be able to add warm water to buckets several times a day.
- I also have a heater in their outdoor water tub.
- stock tank heaters
- Use heaters that fit in drain plug of stock tank to keep water thawed.
- WATER COMES OUT OF THE GROUND AT 72 DEGREES HERE IN FL
- I also have a hammer nearby to break the ice off the top if needed No electricity in the barn
- large heated tub outside
- 2 horses get fresh luke warm water from the house morning and night.
- Use a tank heater on outdoor tank
- Heaters in Water Tanks outside.
- Heated buckets save the day!
- When night temps hit 40 degrees I turn on the heated buckets so my horses drink lots more water.
- insulated water bucket holders
- I have a 100 gallon trough which I insulate and keep a 1200 watt heater in it. It works down to -40C
- Insulated water buckets and warmed water
- Carry hot water to the barn morning, noon and night.
- None of these. Barn temp stays above freezing - 80 yr old barn, heavy timbers PM
- Water tank heaters
- a leather basketball or volleyball works well too
- We keep heat lamps on for several hours in the evening and again early morning
- It is warm enough in my area to keep horse in the pasture with their shelters - I haul water t them
- add hot water
- I moved South so I don't have to worry about frozen buckets anymore.
- Not really heated buckets, but a heater in the water trough.
- and use a tank de-icer for the trough
- I live in Florida!!
- Don't trust deicers; manually remove ice in pasture troughs, use Wild Angel bucket cozy in shelters
- We bring hot water down to the barn when horses need to be in due to severe weather.
- Thermal Buckets
- My Nelson waterers were worth every penny. One is over 20 yrs old & require little maintenance
- Stock tank heater
- stock tank heaters
- Worth every penny in cold climates!
- Also add hot water to the buckets
- Heated outside water tub along w/ hot water "soup" for my TB's!
- Tank heater in the water tank. 24/7
- They're in stalls for breakfast and dinner, otherwise outside with geothermal waterers.
- live in the South!
- I use a heater in a large outdoor trough and a 16 gal. heated bucket.
- I have a hot water heater in the barn and I give my horse warm water in the winter. He loves it
- I live in a warm place that hardly ever freezes
- Horses outside 24/7, running creeks or smash ice on stock tanks w/ hammer : )
- heater in bottom of tank
- have heating elements in troughs, will get heated outdoor waterers
- outdoors we use a drain plug deicer. If they stay in (which is rare) we crack and refill
- Live in California!
- Horses have large tanks--some with heaters
- We have a small water heater in the feed room. Change buckets 3 -4 times daily.
- but I keep deicers in the outside water tub
- Not in the barn unless nasty weather
- heated 70 gal tub actually, accesible under overhang of both stalls
- A small pan with a bird bath feeder and $15.00 automatic watering device. Easy and cheap.
- styrofoam insulated buckets
- Deicers in buckets and tanks.
- we also have a few insulated buckets that worked out well last winter
- I don't really heat the barn just keep it closed up tight.
- heater installed to the side of my 100 gallon tank. get it at TSC, wonderful.
- I have tank heaters
- geothermal waterers
- Love the heated buckets, best invention for winter watering
- I bought Bucket cozys this year. Heard they are awesome
- Two years of dragging hoses was enough!
- pipe insulation
- Also have a heated trough in the large paddock
- Use a stock tank heater
- Horses get hot water at 9-10PM, 2nd hot coffee pot full at 1-2AM. Then out at 7AM.
- With heated tank for outside
- All outside water has automatic heaters
- Move South for the winter!!
- All water troughs have heaters, pasture and barn
- Heat tape on outdoor faucet works in addition draining hoses.
- I have a large heated bucket outside.
- Am in Canada -40C some winters htd buckets awesome: Sandi
- We use heat lights in the stalls when the weather is freezing. It seems to help keep buckets from fr
- I dont. I refresh the buckets (often) with hot water
- nelson waterers
- Heated buckets and trough heaters
- i LOVE my heated buckets
- In Australia's warm climate, most equines stay outdoors during winter.
About the Author
Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.
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