How To Keep Your Animal’s Water From Freezing?

Winter comes with many headaches. You can overlook most of the problems but it is hard to ignore your livestock’s need for water. Ice is known to form on exposed water tanks, troughs and buckets easily and unfortunately, your fields might be far from the water pumps or power sources. Water freezing in winter should never make you panic. More so, you should not start banging the ice or hauling water.

Horses and cows will need more water in winter because they use most of their energy to combat the cold and they, therefore, eat more to remain warm. With increased food intake, you should expect them to consume more water. A mature cow will require more than 10 gallons of water per day during the cold months.

If the only available water is in the form of snow, the beef cattle and cows will consume less and show deterioration in their output and body condition.

Animals that consume snow alone will suffer from mineral deficiencies that might lead to poor vitality, impactions and spontaneous abortions. Horses will experience the same issues when the water supply is limited.

Some individuals buy automatic watering units to keep the water flowing and to prevent freezing but that is not necessary. The systems are expensive and you will need the services of a professional for the installation part.

If you are on a tight budget here are three ideas to help you keep your animal’s water from freezing during winter:

Use Ping Pong Balls

When dealing with frozen temperatures, ping pong balls may help you keep the animal’s water from freezing. You only need to place several of them in the animal’s bucket. Whenever breeze moves the balls, they will knock and break any ice that might be starting to form in the bucket.

However, for the safety of your animals, you will have to choose good balls. You do not want balls that the animals can swallow easily. They should also be small enough to allow the animals to drink.

The Kevenz Ping Pong Balls is worth your consideration. The balls come in a pack of 60 balls with a diameter of 40 mm, which means that your animals cannot swallow them and the balls will not prevent the animals from drinking.

Apart from their durability, they provide 2.75g weight, which is what you need to prevent the water from freezing. They will retain their bounce and shape for a long time.

However, they will only work if there is wind and the water stays slightly above the freezing point. They are dangerous for large animals because they might try to chew them.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Another effective method involves the addition of Organic Raw Cider Vinegar into the water several times in a week. In addition to making the water palatable for the animals, the ACV will keep the animal waterers cleaner – it controls the bacteria both in the animal’s digestive system and in the water.

And because it increases absorption of calcium and other minerals in poultry, you might not need eggshells, oyster shells or layer feed. As a strong antiseptic, it kills germs that cause respiratory problems in the chicken’s throat and promotes a healthier flow of mucous. Some experts believe that it combats coccidian.

To keep your animal’s water from freezing this winter, you can buy the Bragg Organic Raw Cider Vinegar, which comes in a 32-ounce bottle, from the local or online store. The ACV is rich in potassium and enzymes, which are important for the health of your animals.

When it comes to preventing freezing of the water, Bragg Organic Raw Cider Vinegar will lower the freezing point of water from 32 degrees F to 28 degrees F. That are four degrees from the normal freezing point.

In fact, Apple Cider Vinegar is more effective than the ping pong balls are and it is safe for all your animals. Ping pong balls will prevent freezing if there is enough breeze and the temperature has not fallen below the freezing point. ACV will keep the water in the liquid state for a long time and provide other health benefits to the animals.

Use Heated Buckets

The other option involves heating some water and hauling it to the barn. Pour the hot water in a bucket of cold or lukewarm water to bring its temperature down before the animals drink it. Unlike cold water, hot water freezes very fast.

By giving your animal’s warm water, you will encourage them to drink because they hate ice-cold water. To prevent freezing, you will have to reduce the water sooner than you do normally.  But because the process can be inconvenient and tedious, API 16 Gallon 260 Watt Heated Bucket 16HB are worth considerations.

Heated buckets are more effective when it comes to keeping the animal’s water from freezing. And because the buckets use electrical power to heat the water, you have to keep the electrical cords out of your animal’s reach.

You are likely to notice a slight increase in the energy bill, but the buckets are energy efficient and you will rest assured that your animal’s water will not freeze at any time of the day or night. To reduce your energy bill, unplug the bucket when the animals are outside.

The API 16 Gallon 260 Watt Heated Bucket 16HB is among the buckets that will prevent water from freezing effectively. The bucket is suitable for calves, horses, cattle, dogs, sheep and other home animals. It boasts a thermostat that keeps the water ice-free during the cold months.

The 16-gallon bucket will run on a 120 watts power supply. Your animals will drink water from the heated bucket easily and you will not need to heat water and transport it into your cowshed or stall. However, you will have to secure it properly on a post or the wall.


The work of ensuring that your animals have an adequate water supply during winter can be intimidating. But with the above three options, you will not worry about the water supply. If the options do not suit your situation, you can get creative and try others.

Some areas will handle livestock water freezing differently and creativity will, therefore, be important. You do not have to go for the automatic watering units or the expensive electric tank heaters or de-icers.

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I am a homesteading enthusiast, a published writer, and director at FROMSCRATCHMAG. My experience in areas such as brand management, graphic design, and photography are valuable additions to our writing team. When I am not writing or publishing anything, I am out gardening in my small farm or cooking. I am also an herbalist, an experience I use to spread the word about sustainable living.

  1. Rhys

    Thank you so much for this. I will first start with the ping-pong balls as the struggle to pour sizeable water and always go out to refill their drink is becoming too tough for me. The balls would work just fine as there’s a little wind and so they can move easily and regularly to break the ice.

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