Frozen watering hose

K&BHomestead

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Hello everybody, my girlfriend and I are currently having trouble keeping the hoses on our 5 gallon gravity waterer from freezing during the night. We have the bucket wrapped with heat tape and the water is luke warm inside the bucket, but the hoses still freeze. Have any of you dealt with this issue or have any suggestions on how to solve this problem and keep the hoses from freezing?
 

thistlebloom

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Amazon has heated water hoses. I don’t need them so have no idea if they are super fantastic or a disaster. You can try one and let us know! LOL
They are expensive and in my experience too short lived to justify. I bought the Pirit 25' one. Only lasted two winters and I took good care of it and stored it for the summer.

@K&BHomestead , how cold is it getting there where you live? Is it only freezing overnight?
I'm afraid I don't understand your setup, and what it is used for. Can you disconnect the hoses overnight and keep them in an area that won't freeze?
This winter I used a 100' fabric type hose that is very compact and fit rolled up in a 5 gallon bucket that I kept in the laundry room. I have heated animal waters so only needed the hose for filling every other day.

If you could give more details of your setup and your general location we might be able to help better.
 

K&BHomestead

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They are expensive and in my experience too short lived to justify. I bought the Pirit 25' one. Only lasted two winters and I took good care of it and stored it for the summer.

@K&BHomestead , how cold is it getting there where you live? Is it only freezing overnight?
I'm afraid I don't understand your setup, and what it is used for. Can you disconnect the hoses overnight and keep them in an area that won't freeze?
This winter I used a 100' fabric type hose that is very compact and fit rolled up in a 5 gallon bucket that I kept in the laundry room. I have heated animal waters so only needed the hose for filling every other day.

If you could give more details of your setup and your general location we might be able to help better.
It's getting down to about 15-30 degrees at night where I'm at. I have a 5 gallon bucket with a hole drilled in the bottom with a barb attachment inserted into the hole. A 5/16" hose attached to the barb and it is run to each section of the hutches through the 5/16" rubber hose with a nipple at the end of each section that stops the flow of the water unless the rabbit is drinking from the nipple. I'll get a picture up in a little bit.

My issue is keeping the water in the 5/16" hose from freezing. The water stays warm in the 5 gallon bucket due to the heat tape, but since the water in the hoses isn't being constantly circulated (just a guess) it freezes.

My girlfriend and I work during the night so I feel bad that the rabbits are probably going hours without water until we get home and can get them bowls of water.
 

thistlebloom

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It's getting down to about 15-30 degrees at night where I'm at. I have a 5 gallon bucket with a hole drilled in the bottom with a barb attachment inserted into the hole. A 5/16" hose attached to the barb and it is run to each section of the hutches through the 5/16" rubber hose with a nipple at the end of each section that stops the flow of the water unless the rabbit is drinking from the nipple. I'll get a picture up in a little bit.

My issue is keeping the water in the 5/16" hose from freezing. The water stays warm in the 5 gallon bucket due to the heat tape, but since the water in the hoses isn't being constantly circulated (just a guess) it freezes.

My girlfriend and I work during the night so I feel bad that the rabbits are probably going hours without water until we get home and can get them bowls of water.
Ah, I see now. I can see how trying to keep those skinny tubes warm enough would be a problem. Running them through larger pipe with heat tape wrapped around it.... ? IDK
Maybe other rabbit people who live in cold climates can give you an idea what they do. @promiseacres ?
 

K&BHomestead

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Some random thoughts
1. heat lamp above to keep them from freezing
2. a pump to keep the water moving
3. apple cider vinegar does decrease the temperature that water freezes by bit, so that may help. It's also healthy for the rabbits to get a bit for various reasons.
Thank you for the suggestions! I'll try adding some ACV to their water tonight and see how that goes. I have an empty hutch right now so I'm going to set up an identical watering system on that one and try it with the heat tape on the actual hose itself rather than the bucket. The manufacturer said to only put the tape on metal or plastic, but after a few nights of going out there and touching the tape with my hand I can't see it affecting the hose at all since it's at such a low temp. Worth a shot I guess. Thank you all for the help I really appreciate it!
 

Ridgetop

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Trying to keep the 5/16" tubes from freezing in those temperatures will not work with anti freeze tape. Depending on how many rabbits you have, you can try switching to crocks or 2 liter bottles. Fill them with warm or hot water. Rabbits need water when eating so when you feed at night fill the crocks or bottles with warm water so it will not freeze before they finish eating. In the morning you will have to again fill the crocks or bottles with warm water.

Where are you located? Is your rabbitry enclosed or open sided? If it is enclosed, you can use heat lamps over the cages and bucket to keep the water from freezing. However, if the water gets too cold in the crock or bottle the rabbits will not want to drink it either. Giving them warm water in crocks several times a day would be the best. They do not need to have water 24/7 as long as you make sure to give them warm water when they eat, and several other times of the day, They will drink then, and it should be enough.

If your rabbits are in a covered and protected space where wind blown rain cannot reach the heat lamps, you can use shop lights with metal reflectors as heat lamps with either heat lamp bulbs or 100 watt incandescent bulbs (if you can get any). You can also use plain incandescent spotlight bulbs instead of heat lamp bulbs. Cold bulbs like fluorescent or LED bulbs will not emit enough heat to keep the water from freezing. If you use a spot lamp or incandescent bulb, these shop lights with metal reflectors can be laid on top of the cage so the light shines over the water crocks to try to keep them warm. The metal reflectors will hold the bulb off the wire of the cage. If you use actual heat lamp bulbs, you must hang the shop light higher above the cages so you don't overheat the rabbits themselves. This can be fatal.

If you continually have winter temperatures as low as that, you will need to us an enclosed barn in the winter which can be insulated. You can also switch your watering system over to PVC pipes with glue on slip/slip connectors that have screw in for threaded drinker valves. PVC pipes can be wrapped in the insulator sleeves made for standard water pipes sold at hardware stores. This might work for you. That would be a larger and long range plan. For now, try watering the rabbits at least 3 times a day with warm water in crocks or bottles.
 
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