Insulating A Livestock Water Tank
It's important that animals have a fresh supply of drinking water available at all times during the winter. This helps prevent dehydration and makes sure the animals stay on feed.
If your watering tanks aren't insulated, keep the water open by adding insulation around them and taking advantage of the sun. Greg Lardy is the extension interim director at North Dakota State University. He says fiberglass and metal water tanks need extra protection to keep them from freezing.
"Especially with the fiberglass tanks, you can build them in with some dirt around them, and then build a wooden structure above it so that you can either put some insulating material like styrofoam or straw, or additional soil on top of there to keep the heat in," says Lardy. "With steel tanks, generally speaking they're going to rust if you get a lot of soil contact. What you're going to do is use some styrofoam insulation, and then outer covering with wood."
Paint steel tanks black to absorb heat and position the tank where it will catch the most sun.
"That generally would be a southern or a southwestern orientation in most cases," he says. "If you can build or position it so that it's out of the wind, either by building wind fence around it or positioning it so that it's protected to some degree by a building or another structure, that would be ideal. Because you do need to try to reduce the amount of heat loss that you get from wind."
Since most heat loss comes from the water surface, use an insulated cover over the tank, leaving a hole for the animals to drink.