We have been using tire water tanks at Eden Shale Farm for 4 years and they continue to be one of the best options available for watering livestock efficiently. They hold a large volume of water, they keep the water cool in the summer, a large number of cattle can drink at one time, and they are indestructible.
A water tank constructed using a heavy equipment tire may serve as a viable option for supplying livestock with an alternate source of water. Because these tires have a large circumference, livestock have more access for drinking as compared to traditional automatic water fountains. A tire-tank waterer should remain operational for over 10 years, and in many cases, will cost less than other types of permanent water sources.
As with any livestock management practice, tire-tank waterers offer advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional automatic water fountains.
Size - A tire-tank waterer can typically hold 500-800 gallons, depending on the size of the tire. A larger diameter means more livestock can drink at one time (e.g., 10-16 head versus one to two for automatic water fountains).
Cost - Used heavy duty tires may be free if picked-up. Expect additional costs for tires if delivery is required and if the sidewall is already removed.
Durability - Heavy duty tires are durable and can withstand forces exerted by large livestock.
Availability - Identifying a local source of heavy duty tires may be challenging. A supplier may not be available in your county.
Handling - Large tires can weigh over 1,000 lb. meaning a tractor with a front-end loader along with a set of chains is required to move and place the tire.
Sidewall removal - Cutting out the sidewall is difficult, especially if the tire is steel belted. The process requires the use of a reciprocating saw, several saw blades, and a tractor and chains.
Freezing - As with an automatic water fountain, the water in tire-tank waterers can freeze. While the tire itself provides insulation, the surface of the water is exposed to air and wind.
For full details and instructions, click the button below to download the University of Kentucky publication on tire waterers.