Waterer for sheep

Bicoastal

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What kind of waterers do you all use for your sheep and goats? I'm looking for first-hand reviews of two-ball waterers, post waterers; auto waterers that have pipe run to them. Located in VA with mild winters.

I have heard concerns that sheep can't use the two-ball waterers common for cattle.
 

farmerjan

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We are here in the Shen valley of Va. The big rams have no problem with the ball type waterers unless it is very cold and they get a little frosted around the edges. Mostly we have a small open area for them to drink... say the size of a kitchen sink, with the float under the housing where the pipes come up. We use them for the cattle also in some places.
What breed/size of sheep? That is as much a determination as anything.
We have had 15 degrees the past couple of mornings, got 6 inches of snow over the weekend, so we do get some definite freezing temps here in the winter... but we are at a high elevation and near the Blue Ridge Parkway mountains..
 

Bicoastal

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We are here in the Shen valley of Va. The big rams have no problem with the ball type waterers unless it is very cold and they get a little frosted around the edges. Mostly we have a small open area for them to drink... say the size of a kitchen sink, with the float under the housing where the pipes come up. We use them for the cattle also in some places.
What breed/size of sheep? That is as much a determination as anything.
We have had 15 degrees the past couple of mornings, got 6 inches of snow over the weekend, so we do get some definite freezing temps here in the winter... but we are at a high elevation and near the Blue Ridge Parkway mountains..
Hey @farmerjan! I am participating with NRCS/Soil & Water and they fund auto waterers. All of the herding folks I know use plain old troughs with a float since our dogs jump in the water, so I am flying blind here in selecting an auto waterer. The program kinda automatically suggests the Miraco ball waterers.

You got six inches Sunday? We got a light dusting :D =D.

I'm aiming for 20 Katahdins.
 

Alaskan

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I have never used an auto-waterer for horses or goats up here in Alaska. I didn't want to worry about freezing pipes.

We had auto-waterers for the cattle in Texas... looked just like the guts from an old toilet, and worked the same way. No idea what those are called.

:idunno
 

Legamin

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What kind of waterers do you all use for your sheep and goats? I'm looking for first-hand reviews of two-ball waterers, post waterers; auto waterers that have pipe run to them. Located in VA with mild winters.

I have heard concerns that sheep can't use the two-ball waterers common for cattle.
There are a couple of options out there. I’m kind of chea….er….’thrifty’ so I look at what is reliable and affordable. We have a well so buying anything that may fail and gush water until the pump fails is out of the question. That said I took some pictures of something that we have discovered works VERY well! These affordable ‘loose float valves’ work perfectly for shallow (4” deep) watering troughs that are 10’ long, 12” wide and 4” deep. The whole arrangement weighs about 40lbs and is easy to move. The trough being shallow ensures that the water is being cycled and refreshed constantly with 40 sheep sharing. I have a portable 375 gal. Water tank that goes out on pasture and clear hose that runs to the trough. Drill a hole in the side of the trough and mount the float-valve and attach a hose to the back. When I connect to the well lines I have to add in a ’low pressure shut off’ limiter valve that automatically shuts of the water flow through the pipe to the trough if the line water pressure drops below 30lbs (the rate our pressure tank is set at for minimum pressure). It stays off until manually reset. This ensures that if something goes wrong with the float valve…eg. a ram decides it is in his way and it happens to be the fourth Tuesday of July…or something…anything really..if he snatches it off and breaks it the pump does not run freely and flood the pasture and burn out a $30,000 well pump..(that we just had replaced)…. The float valves are cheap…I think under $5.00 each and take about 10 minutes to permanently install or replace. The low pressure flow limiter was about $150 and has to be absolutely nuclear bomb proof. It is outside the tank and pasture so it is never threatened by silly rams. After first harvest we turn the sheep out onto the alfalfa, clover, vetch, fescue, rye hay fields and use electric fencing until Fall. THAT is when we need the portable watering system. It is important to keep the fields trimmed to reduce late Summer/Fall wildfire hazard and we will already have our Winter hay baled and stowed. So that’s our system. I got the valves on eBay and mostly all the sheep disregard the valves but about once every couple of years……. So I keep a couple packs on hand.
In our smaller pasture I just use recycled rubber tubs and scrub them out and refill them every two days.
 

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Legamin

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I have never used an auto-waterer for horses or goats up here in Alaska. I didn't want to worry about freezing pipes.

We had auto-waterers for the cattle in Texas... looked just like the guts from an old toilet, and worked the same way. No idea what those are called.

:idunno
Agreed! We lived in Alaska for a couple years and loved it. The valley we currently live in can go from 117F for up to 6 weeks in the Summer (rare..mostly 105F) down to -20F in January. Twice per year we get wind storms from 65-105mph which brings it’s own challenges. It influences every structure and animal handling equipment decision when you don’t want to see your hard work and cash go sailing 6 blocks into the neighboring farm and land in a heap! We had fill and use water warmers in Winter and float valve fillers in summer. The key is to keep the water shallow so it remains cleaner longer.
 

Stephine

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I only have three babydolls so far, and I use a waterer with a float that connects to a hose and fills two shallow bowls left and right. Had to put it up on two cinder blocks so they don’t step in it. I like it, easy to clean, fresh water, but anything with a hose makes me nervous about leaks. That’s for their dry summer pasture, where they spend months innone area. For “mowing” time when grass is green and they get moved to different areas ever few days I just use a rubber tub. In their night pen they have a plastic tub that clips to the fence so they don’t knock it over. The trouble with them is that anything that is shallow enough for them to drink from is also shallow enough for them to poop in, so being able to clean the waterer easily takes priority. If I had more I would use shallow metal troughs. Not to heavy to dump out every day and give a quick brushing…
In my experience with horses, chickens and rabbits, animals drink less when they have to “work” for it, so I think anything that fills or refills automatically is better than waterers that require pushing and nudging.
 

Legamin

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I only have three babydolls so far, and I use a waterer with a float that connects to a hose and fills two shallow bowls left and right. Had to put it up on two cinder blocks so they don’t step in it. I like it, easy to clean, fresh water, but anything with a hose makes me nervous about leaks. That’s for their dry summer pasture, where they spend months innone area. For “mowing” time when grass is green and they get moved to different areas ever few days I just use a rubber tub. In their night pen they have a plastic tub that clips to the fence so they don’t knock it over. The trouble with them is that anything that is shallow enough for them to drink from is also shallow enough for them to poop in, so being able to clean the waterer easily takes priority. If I had more I would use shallow metal troughs. Not to heavy to dump out every day and give a quick brushing…
In my experience with horses, chickens and rabbits, animals drink less when they have to “work” for it, so I think anything that fills or refills automatically is better than waterers that require pushing and nudging.
Agreed. The watering valves shown are ‘float valves’ thar simply refill the shallow dish when water evaporates or is consumed by animals.
 

Show Sebright

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What kind of waterers do you all use for your sheep and goats? I'm looking for first-hand reviews of two-ball waterers, post waterers; auto waterers that have pipe run to them. Located in VA with mild winters.

I have heard concerns that sheep can't use the two-ball waterers common for cattle.
We just fill buckets here.
 

Lizzy733

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I've heard goats are 'very' picky about water quality and larger or deeper troughs pose a risk to kids. Sheep are not picky at all and will happily drink pond scum.

Freezing isn't an issue here, so can't comment on that, but we use alkathene pipe and fittings with rainwater collection (from a roofed IBC) on a gravity system with ballcocks - aka float valves.

I try to keep the troughs to a smaller surface area to limit the rate of evaporation as much as possible, or have them shaded, and keep a bunch of flexi-tubs handy for temporary placement.

When we moved in here, there was only one proper trough feeding two of the smaller paddocks and the main paddock trough wasn't properly irrigated. It's been a bit of an uphill battle moving the water around, but I now have 3 reliable water sources out there, which I'm happy with.
 
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