Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Pig Night-Lite

The Pig Night-Lite in use
The inner workings

Keeping pigs through the winter is a drag. Primarily because they need water, and cheap automatic watering that works so swell in warm weather freezes and breaks in the winter time. Watering pigs in troughs is a nightmare because unlike cows, they like to flip them over, or fill them up with bedding. Plus they still freeze and need to have the ice knocked out of them, and the ice has to be hauled outside. I have always dreamed of having a well placed spring that we could use to keep thawed water available for the livestock, but that is one thing we don't have. I have done some research on freeze proof livestock waterers, and they do have them available for pigs, but they are pretty expensive, and require a lot of labor and some concrete to install.

This is my poor-boy alternative. I got myself a complimentary plastic 55 gallon barrel from one of our customers who owns a carwash. Then I cut a whole in the bottom and top. It has two hog nipples plumbed through the side at appropriate heights, and a light bulb porcelain for heat. I set the barrel over the top of a water hydrant and connected the hoses from the nipples to the hydrant. I ended up using blue maple sap tubing because its smaller diameter makes it easier to work with inside a small space like a barrel, and it doesn't require any tools to connect it. I put a 150 watt outdoor floodlight in the socket for heat. By and large it does a nice job keeping the water from freezing and it costs about 15 cents a day to run. Less then that most days because I usually shut it off during the day if its not going to be too cold because the constant pig use keeps it from freezing. After really cold nights sometimes the part of the nipple that sticks out of the barrel freezes up, but that is easy to thaw with a little warm water.


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