I wanted to house my fall-calving cows with calves on the south side of my farm this winter. I couldn’t figure out a good way to walk them back over to where the heated Ritchie waterer is, so I purchased the 110 gallon tank, pictured above.
465 is the cow in the photo. She is my oldest cow at nine years old. Coincidentally, she was the model cow in last year’s post about the Ritchie waterer.
I needed a way to keep the water thawed. So I purchased a sinking tank de-icer. The first cold night it blew a 15 amp fuse. I thought I was in for trouble, but I replaced it with a 20 amp fuse and it has worked flawlessly since.
One drawback is I fill the tank with a hose at least twice per day, draining the hose well after each fill. I figure each cow is drinking between 15 and 20 gallons per day. I don’t notice the calves drinking much because they are still nursing their mothers.
In the photo below you can see the herd eating hay out of a feeder. 13 cows, 12 calves, and 1 bull are eating a half of a round bale of hay per day. If similar quality hay is valued at $200 per ton, and a round bale is 1500 lbs, then the herd is eating $75 worth of hay per day.