Frozen Stock Tanks

The last week has been cold for this time of year. We had been in the mid-teens four days in a row and it has made for some challenges to keep the stock tanks clear of ice for the animals that do not have access to an unfrozen stream. These include half of the animals in the bull pen, and the animals in the show barn consisting of the weaned heifers and show cows.
A small electric heater is submerged into the bathtub we use as a stock tank.

An electrical appliance called a stock tank heater is submerged heating element that keeps the tanks free of ice during cold weather.

 

It sits on the bottom of the stock tank to heat the water. The goldfish don’t seem to be bothered by the bit of warmth coming off the unit.
The little heater can be easily moved from tank to tank in an effort to keep the ice melted. We cannot use the unit in any of the 55 gallon plastic tubs that catch rainwater for fear of burning through the bottom.
The heater is a single coil like a stove burner. The opportunity arises for the animals to chew on the electric cord, so we try to keep it away from easy reach. Even at that, one early morning, one of the newly weaned bulls bit the cord, pulled the unit out of the water and dropped it on the ground. Mike happened to find it and put it back into the stock tank before it burned through its own electrical cord.
Other than that one instance, the little heater has been running non-stop for the week of cold weather. Forecasts say warmer weather on the way, it will be good to store the heater unit away for a while.

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