Trough Repair

Turtle Tractor

This trough is one that had broken. Will and I repaired it. To take it out to the field for installation I stuck it on the backhoe – a handy way to carry it since I needed the forks on the front to carry something else. This saved one trip. It looks like a turtle shell.

Trough Repair

The trough cracked immediately after we started using it. I suspect that there had been a flaw in the rim. When a sow pushed it snapped. None of our other similar troughs have cracked over the years – so far, so good. To repair this one we bolted o a sheet of 1/4″ plastic to give it tensile strength. Then we used a torch to melt the plastic of the Rubbermaid trough back together to seal the crack. We did this on both the inside and the outside of the tank.

Outdoors: 28°F/12°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/61°F

Daily Spark: Chez Tao – Our Way is what we do, our path.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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12 Responses to Trough Repair

  1. ranch101 says:

    Lovely! Clever repair. I’m still using buckets we mended years ago on the farm with duct tape and hot glue. I never had to repair our comparable duck pond, thank goodness, as I haven’t ever had a torch.

  2. Teresa says:

    Very creative fix! I have found that I LOVE my nephew’s backhoe for all the labor it saves us.

  3. Jeff Marchand says:

    Walter that tank looks awefully deep, looks deeper than pigs legs are long! How do pigs get the whey at the bottom?

    • Excellent observation. I wanted troughs that was half this depth but couldn’t find any. I considered making them but so far have not. I like the 300 gallon capacity. The troughs have to be very heavy duty as the pigs are pretty rough on things – Built-Pig-Tough!

      To solve the height issue we set the troughs into the ground so they are low enough for the pigs to drink. This also keeps the pigs from moving the troughs around as they are want to do with their natural rooting behavior. There are some rocks in the bottom of the trough so that if a pig climbs in (or is pushed) it can climb back out. Some pigs actually enjoy going in and will stand in the trough drinking. Not my style but I am not going to argue too vigorously with them – pick your battles wisely. :)

  4. Nance says:

    Pigger built!

  5. George Cooper says:

    You can get plastic welder cheaply at harborfreight. It runs like a soldering iron with air pushed through it via your compressor. Having the proper plastic welding rod for the job is the key. With a little practice, you can even make your welds look pretty.

    • Bob Hill says:

      Walter, I am learning a lot from your comments. Thanks. Have you thought of tire tanks instead of commercial cattle troughs for the whey? You could get some that are not as deep and pour concrete in the bottom and cut off the top sidewall with a chainsaw. I got four log skidder tires for free from the tire shop in town, they were glad to load them up for me. I think they will hold a similar amount and similar perimeter also.

      • Fascinating idea. I will try it.

        • Bob Hill says:


          You can look at Powerflex fence on how they do the tire tank for ideas. They have a DIY article on building one to use for watering cattle with a float valve in it and a buried water line. I thought you could copy parts of the tire tank idea for your whey needs. My tanks would be hog proof if they were sunk into the ground like your tanks and I believe they would handle the freeze/thaw pretty well also. The rubber is pretty thick.

          • I like the idea of the tire a lot. Very interesting pictures on your web site. There are some changes that would have to be made for pigs and such.

            Pig’s necks are different than cow’s so the top would need to be cut back to the outer edge so they could reach in.

            The pigs need a fairly thin lip. The trough as pictured on your site for cows would kill small pigs because they couldn’t get out. Pigs like to get into the throughs, or sometimes they’re just pushed by another pig, so they need to be able to get out or they would drown – pigs are not very smart about this nor are they able to get up over an overhang. We put in rocks to give them escape routes.

            The PVC pipes would break so I think I would simply eliminate that. In the very rare situation we empty a trough we bail or siphon. Extremely rare though. The big problem for the PVC is troughs go empty, sometimes purposefully, sometimes because whey supply is intermittent, and that would let the PVC get frozen and crack it. When this happens what is left will freeze and pigs will get in and break the pipes. In a water trough that would never freeze there would still be the problem of pigs getting in the trough and then kicking the PVC and breaking it. A 600 lb pig kicking off the pipe as a foot hold will break the PVC eventually. Possibly using a stone surround or concrete surround would help. I’ve learned to be very cautious of using any PVC outdoors. The ABS does better in our cold for light duty but not around pigs.. Grey PVC electrical conduit would be better than the white as it has the UV protection but it is still susceptible to freezing and force breakage.

            What we do for pipes is supply water and whey from the top on the larger tanks, above the reach of the pigs or use the polyethylene black plastic 2″ water line which is tougher and more elastic so it can deal with the freezing. The pipes from above gravity drains the pipe eliminating the freezing issue. In fact, we try to make everything both gravity drain and be straight through so we can drill it out. Pig damage can still be an issue, they’ll chew the pipes, so a flap over it or recessing it helps.

            I wouldn’t use a float valve because they they clog up in the warm weather and freeze in the winter. Same problem with nipple waterers, another thing we tried. There are a lot of small bits of ice even when things are still flowing and there is silt from the springs as well as the occasional salamander or frog who won’t go through a valve but slips right through the open pipes. We thus reduce often at the top of the system rather than the bottom so it free flows anything that can get in.

            One thing that is very different is we’re on sloping terrain. On flat terrain and with animals that don’t get in the troughs I see your design being really great. It has given me some food for thought. The tough rubber of the tire is a really interesting solution to the Rubbermaid trough crack. Interestingly, we only had that one crack and I think it may have happened because of a flaw in the material and it not having enough support. It was done by a big sow. Combination of factors all came together.

  6. Adam DeGraff says:

    Just curious, is there a tank of certain dimensions that would discourage a pig from getting in? Like, how tall/narrow would it have to be in order for pigs to opt NOT to take a swim? I only keep a few pigs, so it wouldn’t have to be huge. They are on pasture, and it sure would be cool to keep them with my cows, (they get along really well actually!) So if I could find a tank that would provide adequate amounts of water for all AND discourage the pigs from getting in, all would be right in one small corner of the world.

    • Essentially the problem is dynamic range. I’ll give a more detailed explanation on Tuesday as this is a good question that deserves a longer answer.

      What you might do is have a drip line off our cow water tank down to a basin the pigs can get to. I would still put some rocks in the cow tank.

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