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As homesteaders who are looking to get back to basics, there is a tremendous desire, for the most part, to make things out of what you have around the home. This bleeds over into almost every aspect of homesteading life, including in the livestock areas. Using old pots or pans for feed dishes and water bowls, milking buckets, etc. can be a very good way to save money and be resourceful. However, there are two times when making do is not the best way to go: fowl and pig watering systems.
These are the two most important times to go “commercial” and bow to convention. The covered watering systems created for fowl like chickens, ducks, geese, and other small farm birds keeps their water clean and fresh. They are typically shaped like a water tower, with a center holding area that flows into a small trough. For pigs, the water trough is actually a large trough, big enough to provide water for horses or cows, but there is a special cut-out area at the bottom where water flows into a small reservoir just big enough for pigs to put their heads in and drink.
The reason these two watering systems are so important is that these two types of typical homestead critters are determined to use water bowls or dishes for everything but drinking. If you simply put out a pan of water, you’re apt to find your geese floating in it (no matter how shallow), pigs wallowing in it, or chickens just plan stomping through it.
Fresh, clean water is a vital part of any animal husbandry, but in the case of animals using it as bath water, there is the potential to spread disease much faster as well. Thankfully, the commercial-style watering systems for both fowl and pigs are very sturdy and will typically last a long time, through many animal lifetimes, so they are worth their purchase price.
In the case of the fowl watering systems, the price is very nominal and easy to handle. Pig watering troughs can be a lot more expensive, and if you have to have them delivered it will cost a lot of money for shipping such a big, heavy, and odd-sized contraption as well.
The best places to find watering systems for fowl or pigs is at your local farm supply store. If you are living in an area where these types of animals are allowed, you’ll likely find them in town. If not, you can find them at places online such as “Blain’s Farm and Fleet,” “Rural King,” “Tractor Supply,” or online at specialty stores dealing with chicken or poultry supplies, or pig and other livestock supplies. Surprisingly, you can even find a large variety of chicken (or other fowl) waterers on Amazon.com.