Bathtub Delivery

No, not a bathtub for our tiny cottage. This bathtub is going down to the winter garden space for sows to use. No… They don’t take baths in it. They’re quite a bit to big. Rather we use old cast iron bathtubs for feeders for the whey and water.

The tubs work great, have a large capacity and are pig tough. Being immensely heavy the tubs are not as likely to get tossed around by the big pigs. Once they freeze to the ground they are completely secure. Add a plug of clay for the drain hole the sows have an instant new drinking fountain. Bathtubs are also just the right depth for pigs unlike the stock tanks which are really designed fro longer necked animals like cattle and horses.

The tub shown here hanging by a chain from the bucket loader came from a nice gentleman who did a renovation over in Northfield, Vermont. Out with the old and on to better pastures. If you’re in our area and have an old bathtub you want taken away, let us know! Cast iron are great. Steel are okay. Plastic no-go.

Outdoors: 28°F/13°F Mostly cloudy
Farm House: 57°F/52°F Water to south, Bathtubs set north & atrium, north fencing
Tiny Cottage: 56°F/45°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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19 Responses to Bathtub Delivery

  1. That is great! A way to take care of the piggies AND recycle. You even get a really cool decorative touch to the yard!

  2. Jeremyx says:

    Hey Walter I have a friend in Plainfield NH who has a cast iron enamel coated tub available. Email me if you’re interested.

  3. Jeremy, I would be quite interested. We come down to WRJ to make deliveries and could arrange some time to pickup then. Please do put us in touch with your friend.

    Barefoot, I hadn’t thought of the lawn ornament aspect! I do have a big red dump truck that we joke is our lawn ornament. It’s a great way of telling people when they get to the right place on our road. :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello to the Jeffries family,
    I would like to ask a question?
    Nineteen months ago I got my first Yorkshire pig I had planned to butcher him around 220. But as you can guest he became a pet, so in turn a friend gave me a female so
    Wilber could a have a companion. Needless to say she had her first litter of elevan, four months back,it was great! We were fortunate enough to sell the whole litter at once. which was very helpful,but sad to see them go.My question is, How can I get enough strength to sell or butcher my adult pigs I just can’t bring myself to do it. any suggestion.
    thank You for your time, And may your family have a very blessed holiday and new year.Catrina Marie down in south Ms.

  5. Catrina Marie, you ask a hard question and a very personal one. It is going to be different for each person. Each person has their different limits as to what they can or want to do for physical, emotional, social, ethical, etc reasons.

    I know a woman who raises calves but never eats their meat – she can raise them and sell them live but that is her limit. As she says, it is ironic because she has no problem buying beef from her neighbor. Each to their own.

    Perhaps what you want to do is breed Wilbur and his lady and then sell piglets. That may be what is comfortable for you. Later, as you get comfortable with the idea you may raise up pigs to sell, then to take to butcher, then to eat. Find your own personal comfort level and don’t feel pressured to go beyond it.

    Merry Christmas,


  6. Someday Homesteader/Kim says:

    The bathtubs look like a great idea! What a good, open perspective you gave Catrina Marie. I like your attitude toward that issue.

  7. Update on tubs, we have one coming (thank you, Nat and Jeremy!) but are interested in more if anyone else in our local (1 hour) area has tubs they want to get rid of. If you’re farther than that, and have a tub that is looking for a home, consider contacting your local small livestock farmers – they maybe delighted to get them. Merry Christmas! -WalterJ

  8. Pirate says:

    Thanks for the note on my blog. Yes, moderation was a problem that one day; though I’d given him whey many times before (just a little) with no problems. So I’ll keep up with the little bit in his veggie-glop dinner. Thanks!

  9. Gail says:

    I use bathtubs for horse feeders. Rounded edges work great for them.

    The only thing I found out that I improved on? IF the metal tub is next to an electric fence and IF it’s been raining and the ground is saturated? I had to put the tub up on cut and turned tires to “insulate” the tub. It was shocking the horses lips!!!

    I have several tubs that are 8+ years old and show no signs of wearing out! I tilt the side opposite the drain up slightly to get them to drain (when using for a feed bunker).

  10. artqueen says:

    My son just captured a baby feral piglet on our ranch down here in Texas. Do you have any advise on how to care for a piglet? He looks to be about two or three weeks old. My eight year old son is more excited about this pig than the $2,000.00 go-cart he got for Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Mellifera says:


    How’s that piglet doin’ now? (3 weeks later… sorry, just saw your post). We know a guy here who’s got a half-grown sow that they picked up out in the scrub somewhere as a piglet. If he’s still around then you probably know what to do by now. For what it’s worth, said Piggy is an affectionate little 100-pounder at this point and likes to roll over so you can scratch her belly. My mom had a wiener dog exactly like that once…

  12. Edmund Brown says:

    I have a friend whose son got a case of lead poisoning from a salvaged bathtub. If you’re still using those tubs (this is a pretty old post) it may be worth getting a home test kit to check the enamel on those things. Obviously you’re not having big lead toxicity problems on your farm, but since you cater to customers who care about the quality of their food it might be worth looking at. I’m leery too because the acidity of whey can vary… making it more or less likely to extract some lead.

  13. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, just out of curiosity, I’m wondering if you had created any granite drinking cisterns for the pigs.

    One of the things that you mention above is that you like the weight of iron tubs. Clearly, mortared granite would provide all the weight you could possibly want. It would also be a better insulator than iron or steel, and made from materials you already have in your granite skin piles. You could overbuild them to the point of ridiculousness, with overlapping corner edges. It would also be possible to make them much larger than bathtubs, perhaps allowing for fewer watering stations and less complex gravity-fed plumbing arrangements. Finally, you could build them at whatever depth you wanted, potentially making them shallow enough that even the smallest pigs won’t drown, and any pig can hop out.

    Making them mostly waterproof over the long term wouldn’t be that hard. Mortar or clay would create a decent seal. If you design them so they can be taken apart (I’m thinking construction like log cabins, with overlapping corners), you could simply seal them with clay soil and never bother with mortar. When you start seeing significant leakage, disassemble, slap more clay in place, and reassemble.

    • I started too and it’s part way done but then other projects have gotten in the way. Sometime I’ll finish it. Freezing is the biggest issue. My plan is simply to drain it for the winter.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        I think I’m missing something here. Why is freezing an issue?

        If water isn’t fully enclosed, and the walls of the container are substantial, the water will expand upward instead of outward. Your bathtubs already prove that.

        If water gets between the layers of granite and expands, creating leaks, it shouldn’t be a big deal, because the leaking water will create it’s own seal as it freezes.

        Insulation-wise, a granite block cistern should be less likely to freeze water in it than a iron or steel bathtub.

        • Freezing water is very powerful. It can break granite. It can break cast iron. I use this to split ledge. It is a very old method and safer than dynamite.

          Once summer comes the water is not freezing to create it’s own seal. Granite also conducts heat away fairly well.

          • Farmerbob1 says:

            Hrm, well, large-topped containers with freezing water in them very seldom ever break. Water expansion damage generally occurs in small-surface-area containers (like cracks in rock, or drilled holes)

            Lots of inground swimming pools even far up north aren’t pumped fully down every winter, and they seldom experience expansion damage.

            As for the summer seal, there is one other option which should work pretty well. Gasket material between layers of granite. You can buy sheets of the stuff fairly cheaply, and it’s designed to maintain a seal through LOTS of thermal expansion (engine blocks!).

            Even cured leather might work, and I suspect you’re going to have plenty of leather soon :) (The pigs might get curious about the leather though, and make an effort to take apart the cistern to get to it.)

            I’ll stop bugging you about it now, heh. It sounds like you’re playing with the idea, I figured I’d toss a couple more thoughts at you.

          • I suspect those pools aren’t freezing. The larger the steep walled rigid container the greater the problem due to the coefficient of thermal expansion being length dependent.

            With the bathtubs their shape helps as the ice lifts upward as it freezes.

            With the square granite trough though that can’t happen. It would be fun to carve one out of a single perfect monolithic chunk however the pieces I get are flawed – that’s why they’re free. :)

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