How to Make an Insulated Water Trough


Water is essential for all livestock even in the deep of winter. To prevent the water in your trough from freezing, the best thing to do is insulate the trough. Larger containers of water with smaller exposed surfaces retain more heat than short wide troughs do, and dark surfaces absorb heat better than light-colored surfaces. Even if you have to provide water for shorter animals, making the container as round and bulky as possible will help to retain heat.

Things You'll Need

  • 50-gallon plastic barrel or trashcan with lid
  • Used tractor tires
  • Chainsaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Insulation
  • Sheet metal
  • Tin snips
  • Measure the garbage can diameter with a measuring tape.

  • Add 2 inches to the garbage can diameter and mark that distance around the interior circumference of the tire.

  • Enlarge the tractor tire's interior opening with the chainsaw to the dimensions marked.

  • Place the tractor tires on top of each other aligning their holes. Fill the inside of the tires with insulation.

  • Place the garbage can inside the insulated tractor tires. Fill around the garbage can with more insulation.

  • Cut a 1-by-1-foot hole out of the lid with the saw.

  • Cut four 6-inch wide by 1-foot pieces of sheet metal with the tin snips. Line the edge of the lid cutout with the sheet metal pieces by folding it over and pounding it flat. This will prevent the horses, cows, sheep or other animals from chewing on the edges of the plastic or hurting their muzzles on a metal edge.

  • Fill the trough with water. Put on the lid.

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  • Photo Credit drinking trough in lenk switzerland image by ALLAN GROSSKRUEGER from
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