Winter Waterer Shroud

Winter Waterer Shroud

In the winter static water freezes and makes life more, er, challenging. This is close to half our year here in the mountains of northern Vermont. There are a lot of little tricks to dealing with winter. Running water helps prevent freezing. Creating a microclimate around the waterers helps too.

Ben positioned a piglet hut to cover this waterer such that where the water flows out of the spring pipe it is protected from the cold air and winds. This prevents the build up of ice right around the waterer pipe end and keeps liquid water available to the pigs, chickens, ducks and geese through the winter.

This spring fed waterer is one of many. The water feeds from the springs higher up the mountain in 1″ and 2″ black plastic pipes that lay on the surface of the ground in some places and underground in other places. Having them all buried would be ideal but we’re still working on setting things up. Surface pipes are easier to manipulate and change.

The water feeds from the springs to waterers buried in the ground and then from those to the next waterers further down the pastures in a series that might serve ten or more waterers from a single line of pipe of a spring. This lets each waterer having flowing water which is less likely to freeze since the spring water is a toasty 45°F coming out of the ground.

Many of the waterer barrels are 65 gallon plastic barrels in many cases and buried most of the way in the ground so that the water passing through them gains ground heat. This also helps to prevent the water from freezing.

This waterer is one of the ones that is a puddle, a depression that the water accumulates in and then overflows to the next waterer just downhill and to the left out of the photo where it supplies another group of animals.

Part of the system is our upper pond which stores water to get through drier times of the year. The very small pond is fed by multiple springs and in turn it feeds multiple lines of waterers through pipes.

The shrouds like the one above create a microclimate that prevents the waterer at its feeding opening from losing too much heat to the air while still letting animals drink. Without the shroud there is ice build up from hoar frost and splash if nothing else.

Even with all this the waterers need checking through the winter to make sure they don’t freeze. If they do we have to feed a hot water pipe up or down the lines to cut through ice – bother as Pooh would say.

Soon this shroud will be buried in the snow bank giving it even more insulation from the winter cold.

Also see:
Winter Whey & Water

Outdoors: 29°F/24°F Overcast
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/60°F

Daily Spark: There is only one cure all and everyone gets it in the end.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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8 Responses to Winter Waterer Shroud

  1. T.J. says:

    Do smaller pigs ever fall head first into a dug-in barrel (probably brought to my mind by the classic warning on buckets for kids)?

  2. Tony Terrafranca says:

    Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a few years and just want to tell you how much I appreciate the amount and quality of information you share. I am building my own small farm in the mountains of West Virginia and started by getting 4 Berkshire gilts. They are from a herd that is not pastured and have been selected for milk and litter size. I have them in a small lot, maybe 1/8 of an acre, and their housed in a barn, the door of which is open all day (their stall is right next to the door so they get some air flow). They have developed a cough and I hope deworming them will be the answer. The cough seems to be getting worse, so I have have to try something. Any thoughts or suggestions? I know I need to get them out of the barn ASAP, but I have to wait a week or two to do so. Also, I have 2 other barrow shoats that are about the same age and I am thinking I will combine the two groups into one and move them in to the new house at same time. Does this seem like the best strategy? Thanks for any and all thoughts.

    • The cough might be parasites in which ivermec injectable may help. It could also be pneumonia – not something I’ve had to treat but there are antibiotics for that. Dust is another possibility. Fresh air is important. If you figure it out I would love to hear about what it was and how you resolved it. We don’t deal with a lot of disease so I don’t have a lot of info on that topic. If it keeps getting worse then a local vet may be a good choice since they are breeding stock.

    • Patrick says:

      A lesson I learned the hard way: if they are coughing and you suspect anything respiratory you need to treat them immediately. Pigs die from respiratory issues really fast. I had one start coughing and called a vet the next day. It sounded like yours (except mine were all outdoor pigs) and she told me, “get to the nearest livestock store and get antibiotics into all of them, right now.

      Too late. I walked down to check on him and he was four hooves up already.

      I treated the others and no further issues. Haven’t had any pigs I’ve had to treat since, but the vet told me to never wait to see what happens when a pig is wheezing and coughing. They can handle scrapes, cuts, gashes and fights fine. But piggy pneumonia is bad.

  3. Sal says:

    Got my calendar!!! THANK YOU!!! (did you hear me? :)

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