Best Buckets or Pails for Horse WaterFor winter horse watering use, rubber buckets are more expensive, but are better than plastic buckets or pails that tend to become brittle in the cold and break easily. I think they are worth the expense for year round use. If you only have two or three horses to water, buying double the amount of buckets you need, and exchanging the frozen ones for ones kept in a warm porch, tack room or workshop isn’t too much trouble. If you have a number of horses, lugging frozen water buckets back and forth might not be practical.
When Horse Water Buckets Freeze Solid
If the buckets freeze solid, you may have no alternative but to defrost them in a warm place. But if there is only a rim of ice around the bucket you may be able to tap it out. Don’t use a regular hammer, or you may shatter the plastic. Use a rubber mallet and tap gently. You can also try pouring hot water around the outside of the bucket to loosen the ice. This can shatter plastic buckets; so again, rubber buckets are less likely to break. You'll also end up with pools of water that will freeze, so do this away from the doors and walkways.
Preventing Horse Water Buckets From FreezingTo keep regular buckets from freezing quickly, you can bring out a bucket of hot tap water to warm up the water from the barn. This also might encourage your horse to drink more if the water isn’t frigid and chilling and the water will remain unfrozen a little bit longer. Another alternative to is to buy insulated buckets or insulated bucket holders . Both are plastic filled with foam and help retain the heat of the water in the bucket. You’ll probably still end up with ice in the bucket or pail, but it will take longer to form.
To avoid frozen buckets altogether, buy heated buckets that have an insulated heating element. Be sure that any heated bucket, trough heater or automatic waterer is properly wired or plugged into a GFI.
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