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Q12)  How much maintenance do pasture water tanks need?

Water tanks in pastures need to be dumped out a minimum of once a week in the summer time to control mosquitoes and to clean and scrub out algae. In the winter, tanks should be dumped at least once per month.

Options for dumping include siphoning, pushing tank over, or use of a drain or ball valve on the bottom of the tank. The later is the most efficient and least labor intensive.

If tanks require disinfection, bleach solution is the most cost-effective method (1 part bleach to 4 parts water). The solution should be rinsed out thoroughly with clean water before refilling the pasture tank. While the bleach solution will not harm the horses, the chlorine odor might discourage horses from drinking normally and cause health issues.

Options for pasture tanks are plastic, rubber, metal, or fiberglass. There are pros and cons for each. Make sure the one you choose is safe and smooth to prevent injury. Horses will bump and knock the tanks, particularly when in a group, so make sure the tank will hold up to abuse and not become a danger to the horses using it. Make sure it is safe to use with a tank heater if needed in cold climates. Give special attention to whether the material used to make the tank will affect the taste of the water. Horses can be very put off by unusual tastes or odors, and this can limit their water intake, which can cause severe health issues.

If cats or birds have access to the large tanks, you might leave a piece of wood or board in the tank to offer an escape for a wayward critter. Make certain the wood is non-toxic and untreated to keep the water clean and safe for drinking.

Set the tank in a safe location where horses have open access. Make sure there won�t be crowding at the tank or it isn�t a trap for a weak horse. Make sure it is a good spot for dumping out that won�t create a slick muddy spot in front of the gate.

Thanks to Stable Environments Inc. ( for providing these water tank tips. Stable Environments Inc. provides equine facility design and stable management consulting services for horse owners.

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