Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Caprine Hydration Station

We have three of those store bought, big, black, rubber-like buckets for watering the animals.  The goats have used them, the chickens use them, the mule & mini-horse use them.  Although I admire their durability, I don't so much care for their prices.

As we have gradually added more and more critters to our homestead, we were in need of additional water containers.  We purchased two of the blue plastic 55-gallon barrels and Paul cut them up.  The taller bottom sections became our gut buckets (wonderful for deer & chicken butchering time as it's simple to hose out) and the bung hole on the smaller top section was epoxied to make it water-tight and those became water buckets for the mule and chickens.
Gut bucket on the left, mule water bucket on the right.
The chicken water bucket is about half as high as the mule bucket.
Since our goat herd keeps increasing, I've been having to haul water out to their pen more frequently, especially with the warmer weather creeping up on us.  If I'm not in the mood to wrestle with the unholy knots that magically appear in the 100' of hose, I'll just take one of several 5-gallon pails we have laying around the homestead and haul water from the faucet to the goat pen and dump it in the blue and black buckets.

At one point I just started leaving the 5-gallon bucket in the pen instead of transferring the water from one bucket to another.  And then I noticed that the prissy goats were only drinking from the white buckets.  Not that I blame them.  The water in the white buckets doesn't get as hot as the black or blue ones, and the fact that the chickens have a nasty habit of stepping in or crapping in the more shallow buckets is probably a bit of a turn-off to the goats.
Uhm, please refill our buckets with water exactly 68 degrees.
I now just keep four of the white 5-gallon buckets filled with "goat water".  They won't even touch the other buckets now.  But this is fine with me.  The blue & black ones get some sort of funky almost-impossible-to-scrub-out algae growing on them in the warm weather, but the white ones are easier to scrub out.  And the fact that the chickens don't drink from the white ones eliminates the elimination factor.  I still keep the other blue/black ones for the chickens though.

So if you're a keeper of goats & want a cheaper alternative to store bought water containers, try looking for some free 5-gallon buckets.  Free is good!  Besides, you can use that money you saved to buy more goats!


  1. Great buckets!

    Speaking of guts... What do you do with the chicken guts you don't eat?? When I think about slaughtering chickens, I can't figure out what to do with the residual guts...

    1. Well, out here in the sticks, the guts (minus the gizzards, heart & livers) get dug deep into the compost pile. Not sure how that would work out where you are though, you'd have to have a heaping huge compost pile to cover it well. Here, it doesn't so much matter if a critter digs it up, whereas your neighbors may be a bit upset with you if the remains of your chicken butchering efforts ended up on their front lawn.

  2. Slowly and over time we put in automatic waterers on our farm. The expense was offset by the money saved in labor but still have a few pastures where we must haul water. Cider vinegar added helps keep algae growth down and animal health UP. Love your blue barrel recycling!

  3. We used a 5 gallon bucket for my daughter's horse when she had it here.

  4. Carolyn,

    That's a great idea and saves good money.
    Those 5 gallon buckets, food grade can general be obtained for free (as long as you can wash them out) from the bakery department of Sam's Club or Costco.

  5. Great idea - and the white buckets do keep water cooler longer. I use my 5 gal buckets for everything. Including as tomato plant protection from our freeze this weekend.

  6. We finally gave up on the blue plastic barrel waterers because of the yucky slime they grow. Our black ones don't get quite as bad. We now use the blue ones as back-up feeders. The white 5-gallon buckets sound like a great idea! My goats don't drink all their water before it goes yucky but they might in a smaller bucket AND stupid Daphne keeps pooping in hers, I don't think she could in the taller bucket...hopefully. ;)

  7. Yep, Apple Cider Vinegar goes a long way to help keep the buckets clean. The goats here only believe in drinking "fresh" water, none of that day old stuff will do!

  8. Goats are extremely picky, ours will die of thirst before drinking poopy water.