Sunday, May 29, 2016

School Bus Water Station

The school bus you see on the pasture is one of our watering stations.  We purchased it from a vehicle salvage yard; it runs well. We removed the back seats, took off the back door and fitted it with two tall cylindrical water tanks.  There is a water pump inside, and the necessary hoses for filling (not shown in the photos).  



The trough is an old bathtub fitted with a simple float so it refills as the ewes drink.  The tub slides into the rear of the bus for easy moving of the entire station.  



When it is necessary to fill the bus we drive it to a wetland, toss out a long, heavy duty fill hose (not shown) fitted with a screen and a weight so it stays submerged in the water.  The screen is a filter.  Then hook up the water pump and the second hose to the tank and fill.  Once full, drive where needed and set up the tub and connect to the float hose on the trough (tub).  

The water bus also seconds as a water truck, as we can take water to another tank or location and pump water from the bus.  That’s how I fill the second watering station I set up on the lambing pasture.   This station is similar but instead of a bus it’s an old truck box. 


This water station is not as conveniently portable because you need a second vehicle to haul it.  By using the water bus to fill it you don't have to haul it until you wish to move it somewhere else.  I set this one up just for lambing, and in this particular paddock, because there is only one other source of water here.  The wetland is on one side of the paddock and this watering station on the opposite side.  This way ewes with young lambs do not have to travel as far for a drink.  

Since the water stations are portable we can set them in a new spot with each fill.  They are a congregation spot and the ground gets pretty chewed up with everyone coming and going for water.  By moving over to a new spot we minimize traffic damage on the grass and prevent a muddy soup hole from developing.  

We have an abundance of wetlands in this area which the ewes can also drink from.  We use the water bus because we prefer that the ewes drink from a trough.  Most ewes also prefer to do so, although some will go to the natural wetlands if they have to walk too far to the water station.  

By the way, if you decide to try out a bus for this purpose you have to know the weight the vehicle can carry to know how much water you can haul.  




3 comments:

  1. I never would have guessed! Since my farm is small, I use one-inch plastic pipe that runs 2,000 feet for one field and another similar setup for my hayfield. This way, I can give my cattle a new drinking location every day because I hate when they mess up a drinking area!! My sheep usually come back to the barn to drink, as they hang out there for the hot part of the day anyway. I am on a new kick of putting some apple cider vinegar in everyone's water. Thank you for your detailed explanation. Very clever!

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