Water Supply

The sun has melted much of the snow but with the hard freeze we have had it does not have enough warmth to thaw the frozen wetlands.

In a matter of a day we have gone from relying on snow as a supply of water for the ewes to having to haul it.

We pulled out the water bus thinking we could haul water with it and just fill troughs without using the float, which would freeze quickly since the daytime temperatures are staying right around freezing. Turns out that because we didn’t tip the tanks in the bus when we drained it (not thinking we would need it again so soon) there is just enough water in the bottom to have frozen and blocked the fill hose. Using the bus is not an option.

So we rounded up another portable water tank we have set in the back of a truck box trailer, thankfully with a hitch frame built onto it so it can be hauled. Since the wetlands are frozen at the surface we filled from the well at the yard. The shut off valve on the water tank had to be thawed out with a little heat from a propane torch but otherwise we were good to go.

We hauled the water to pasture and set up whatever we could find to use as troughs so as to allow numerous animals to get a drink while the water was still liquid. We have the usual bathtub trough, a large livestock trough, two pink, plastic barbie doll paddling pools, and an empty cattle mineral tub.

We lined the five troughs up and filled each with water. The ewes were nowhere in sight of this so to be sure they found it before the water froze, I took Jayde and Cajun out and we brought the flock to the water.  I was certain the ewes would welcome a drink.

Nope. Only a handful of ewes took a drink, and the guardian dogs. The rest hung around, expecting to be moved since we just rounded them up. We left them standing at the troughs, thinking they would drink once we left. They dispersed, and went back to grazing.

We waited an hour or two and returned to top off the troughs. It wasn’t necessary, they were as full as we left them, but now iced over. We broke and scooped off the ice then returned home to drain the remaining water from the tank before it froze, a process that had already started. 

This morning we broke the ice on the troughs again. The ewes had bedded down nearby and were just getting up for the day. Still no one showed interest in the water. 

The cows are also still out on pasture but instead of hauling water to them we walked them home to the water bowls. They welcomed the open water and each took a long drink.