Updated: Aug 29
Sheep, like all animals have basic needs: shelter, companionship, food (and of interest to today’s blog), water. Normally our sheep have access to automatic waterers, whether inside the barns, in the outdoor pens or on pastures adjacent to the barns (and water supply). We are very fortunate to have a strong supply of good drinking water on our property from the onsite well that can easily supply the volume and pressure needed to operate water systems many hundreds of meters from the source all year round. While there are always a few incidents where the heaters do not quite match up to the extremes of Northwestern Ontario winter temperatures without some extra help from the trusty barn hair dryer, and they do require regular cleaning, the system is a good one.
As we continue to build pastures beyond the areas immediately adjacent to the barn area, access to the barn and the waterers becomes more challenging. Fortunately, we have been anticipating this and had been collecting the materials needed to make something work. Bryan had purchased a pair of IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers) last year that are designed to hold fairly large quantities of liquids. If you’ve never seen one up close, they are just the right size to move around with a forklift and can hold almost 330 gallons each. I had an older flatbed trailer kicking around for general on-farm use that would be suitable for holding the tanks (albeit somewhat underfilled…the full 660 gallons of water is more than 5000 lbs). We added step-down adapters to reduce the outputs of the tanks to garden hose diameters, added a floating stop valve to control the water levels and terminated the whole thing in a pair of water buckets. Now we have a portable way of delivering hundreds of gallons of water (almost) anywhere on the property, filled from the well and delivered via atv. Even with only half tanks, the waters can support the entire flock for multiple days at a time between fills. The water buckets are always topped up by the automatic float valves and the sheep are certain to have clean, fresh water anywhere they are pastured.
Future plans include the addition of shade sails to the sides of the trailer to make portable shaded rest areas available right next to the watering stations. Stay tuned for an update once the prototyping starts.
See you out on pasture,
Brody with our water trailer.