A good well insulated barn with a few horses can usually stay warm enough to prevent frozen buckets, but not everyone has that luxury. I will say I am pretty lucky at my place. With 4 stalls in the main barn, low ceilings and good insulation the barn stays fairly warm. I didn't have a single frozen bucket last winter and am hoping for the same thing this winter. In the event I am not so lucky, I at least have a few options.
Heated buckets are just that - water buckets that are wired with a thermostat that heat the bucket when the temperature reaches below zero. Many have a hideaway cord so the bucket can be used year round. You need an outlet or an extension cord for this. My only concern is if you have a young or playful horse, they may try and chew on the cord. The bucket below shows the metal covering on the cord to help protect from such horses. Average cost is approximately $70 a bucket.
These buckets are also ideal for dogs in the barn or the backyard. You can leave them on the ground safely and can be assured to have ice free drinking water all winter. As with anything electrical in the barn you want to be assured your electrical system is professionally installed and any cords are protected from weather, horses, and potential damage.
Bucket cozies are relatively new and I honestly have not known anyone who has used them. They are basically a snow suit for your bucket and slip over top, leaving an opening for the horse to drink out of. They do not claim to keep water from freezing, but rather keep the water unfrozen longer than it may without the cozy. It could be a good option for those barns without electricity.
As I personally do not have experience with these, I thought I would share what it says right off the Bucket Cozy website;
For me, at the cost of $40, I would rather spend the extra $20 or $30 and be assured my water is not freezing at all, but if you have no option of an electric bucket, than the Bucket Cozy is better than nothing.
What do you think, have you ever seen or used a bucket cozy? I would love to hear what you think of them if so.
No excuses for frozen water this winter! Let's make sure our horses are kept happy and healthy.