Monday, January 18, 2010

Feeding cows....during the winter months on our farm things are a little relaxed. Perhaps too relaxed. I feel lazy in the winter and I don't really like it. We still don't have a heated shop, so I cannot really spend much time outside dealing with machinery maintenance or repairs. That sort of stuff has to wait till March at the earliest.
So, now all we have to do is make sure that the stupid cattle waterer stays ice free and the cows and chickens are fed. I would comment more on our cattle waterer but I fear unwanted attention from the manufacturer should they see what I have to say about it. Suffice to say that at one point in time, I called in complete frustration to complain about the ongoing problems with a frost-free livestock waterer that was anything but frost-free and I was told something rude and hung up on. I certainly won't be buying another Nelson Waterer anytime soon. I've said too much now so I may as well just keep going...just make sure that if you are in the market for a freeze-proof waterer that you do your own extensive homework. A badly designed waterer will cost you a significant amount of money and much headache. Our waterer was designed with the heating element above the valve, immediately below the bowl...heat rises so needless to say the valve freezes. The bowl of water stays nice and liquid right up until the cows drink it...then, because the valve is frozen the bowl stays empty. Another problem we had was that the bowl of water easily splashes over when thirsty cows or horses are jostling around...the water then dripples or slops down the outside of the bowl and lands on the heating element assembly...blown heating element in about a month and a half even with the water level significantly reduced in the bowl. The waterer was installed as per the instructions. We haven't had any problems with lines to the waterer freezing or anything else...just the waterer itself. We should have simply purchased a livestock waterer from the local UFA store. They have been selling the same brand for decades...parts are easily available locally and they appear to be ok in our area because everyone has one...except us.

Now I have the waterer rigged up to work as long as the light bulb inside stays on. I installed a socket below the valve level. It works well now except when the bulb burns out from time to time as light bulbs do, but we'll limp along until we move when I can buy a proper livestock waterer.

Feeding the cows is pretty easy. As I mentioned before we are moving the feeder each time we bring a new bale. The field is getting manured up nicely and I am already cherishing the fact that I don't have to haul and spread manure this spring.

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