COLUMBUS – When preparing water for cattle, water should not be hot, nor in the form of ice, according to Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist. Drinkable water is usually between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steers that have access to cool drinking water will gain .3 to .4 pounds more per day than those drinking warm water. Therefore, occasionally check waterers with heaters so as to detect a “runaway.”
Taking temperature. Dip a thermometer into the water. Do not allow the thermometer to rest on the bottom.
Touching the heated bottom of the pan can result in higher temperatures than actual water temperature.
Check the temperature over several cold days. Water temperatures of at least 40 degree Fahrenheit should minimize mechanical problems and maintain animal performance.
Insulation. Adequate insulation can reduce problems with water freezing and reduce electric costs in cold winters. Make sure the insulation inside the waterer is still in good condition.
Conserve heat by caulking the base of the automatic waterer and seal the access door with weather proof tape.
Windbreak. Reducing the wind on the waterer by a windbreak can also reduce electric costs. Extra external insulation may be added to some automatic waterers.
Surround the external surface with 2 inches or more of Styrofoam.
Place half-inch plywood over Styrofoam. Put galvanized steel on the top part of the Styrofoam-plywood pieces and angle iron on the vertical edges.
Wrap this external insulation with some eighth-inch cable to keep it in place.
Reductions. Stray electric current in a self-heating trough can reduce water consumption and thus reduce feed intake.
Shut off the electricity to automatic waterers and check the inside for rodent nests. Make sure the connections are dry and there is a clean-tight ground.
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