“Hauling water from one of our three ponds to the cages of our animals was a serious pain. If our kids had gotten in trouble recently, it was easy to give them that daily chore, but when it’s on my shoulders, I’d much rather use an electric pump.”
-Ken W., Claremore, Oklahoma.
We live on a 20-acre farm about 15 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. When we built our home 22 years ago, we had the builders dig out 3 ponds on our property. With the amount of rain we get annually, the ponds stay full (or even overflowing) most years. It’s nice to have natural water to give to our farm animals rather than having to pull from our well. As our farm started growing, I quickly knew that hauling buckets of water to the various animal cages was going to become more and more tedious. The cows and horses have one of the ponds within their five-acre fence. But the pigs, pheasants, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, guineas and llamas all need to be watered every other day, at least, during the summer.
I started using a beat-up, gas-powered pump from a neighbor as I was putting together a rudimentary watering system with hoses running to each of the cages. However, it was a pain to start and sputtered out about halfway through the job usually. Not enjoying my experience with the gas-powered setup, I moved to an electric pump. All of the cages are pretty far from our house so we aren’t disturbed by the sounds (and smells) of all the animals. Running a series of extension cords isn’t an option for getting power to the pump.
I bought a power inverter last summer from Inverters R Us and rigged up a system that works easily for me. We have a couple of four-wheelers in the barn (one for the kids to play with and one for farm work). I have a box on the back that stores the power inverter and battery; this box keeps the setup dry in the rain. Then I have a small rack next to the box for when I need to strap on the water pump and go to the next pond. I keep plastic hosing going to each cage and it’s as simple as hooking the pump to the pond hose and then attaching the correct hose leading to each animal cage. The only thing I have to watch for is the animals knocking the hose from the fitting over their water troughs; the pigs are notorious for this, so I keep moving it higher and higher on the fence.
I’ve been using this setup for about 8 months now with no issues. Plus, now that I have invested in the power inverter and battery, I think I’ll work next at rigging something that lets me thaw the trough water for the animals during the frigid winter months, like now. For this, I’m still resorting to a pickaxe and hammer to break the top layer of ice each day. This method gets pretty miserable, but as long as one of our teenage boys continues to get in trouble periodically, I can punish them with this labor-intensive chore; it’s good for their character.