Frequently Asked Questions
- How many animals will one Frostfree Nosepump water?
- What about the calves?
- How high will the pump lift?
- What is the best application for these pumps?
- How many strokes does it take for the animal to get a drink?
- How long does it take to train livestock to use this pump?
- What preparations are needed to install this pump?
- Are there any water restrictions?
- Are there any government grants for installation of watering systems?
- What will it cost to install this pump system?
- What do water well drillers use to seal the hole from contamination outside the culvert?
- How much water pumps into the trough with each stroke of the lever?
- Why doesn’t this pump freeze?
- Is this pump environmentally friendly?
- What is the temperature of the water and how does that affect the cattle?
- Will bison and horses use this pump?
- Will other animals use the pump, eg. sheep, goats, sows etc.?
1) How many animals will one Frostfree Nosepump water?
One nosepump will water 100 cows or 50 cow/calf pairs. It takes them a few days to figure out that they have to take turns. They will figure out their own system of rotation. For larger herds, two or more nosepumps can be installed on the same culvert, giving extra capacity.
Young calves will learn to operate the pump on the pasture with their mothers. How quickly they learn, is partially dependent on the depth of the static water level and consequently how many vertical feet of water the pump must lift. Our experience, and also the results of the Olds College trial, demonstrates that the calves perform equally as well with the FFNP as they do with a traditional waterer.
For additional information see the Calves & the FFNP page.
3) How high will the pump lift?
The deeper the static water level, the more vertical feet of water the pump must lift. The more vertical feet of water to lift, the more force that is required to push the lever. There are two positions on the pump itself. One position gives a greater mechanical advantage for deeper wells, but also delivers less water per stroke. Your static water level must be less than 50 feet for cows, but calves and horses require a static water level of less than 25′.
4) What is the best application for these pumps?
One of the best applications will be to convert dugouts (ponds) to a year-round source of water and for wells with standing (static) water at 30 feet or less, although the nosepump will draw from deeper depths as mentioned in question #3. All of these applications provide year-round water for livestock, provide a cost-effective solution for remote pastures, and promote conservation grazing and feeding.
For additional information see the diagrams of these applications on this site.
5) How many strokes does it take for the animal to get a drink?
The first cow (horse or bison) in line gets water on the 4th stroke (with the pendulum on the front position of the hood and the drain hole at 5 feet). It takes 2½ minutes for the water to drain down to the this drain hole level. Those drinking within that time do not need to replenish this water. Once the livestock know the water is there, they will pump until it comes up. For summer and/or training periods when there isn’t freezing temperatures, the drain hole can be taped off and the livestock will get water immediately.
For additional information see the videos on this site.
6) How long does it take to train livestock to use this pump?
Not very long, if customers follow directions and leave them alone for a day or two while they learn. Young stock may take longer than cows. The best time to train is prior to frost, when the drain hole can be plugged. Livestock then get water immediately upon pushing the lever. As your FFNP is installed at a very mild angle towards the back, there is always a small bit of water the animals cannot reach. As they become motivated (thirsty), they will move the lever to get at the small amount of water at the back of the pump. In turn, they will discover that every time they move the lever, they produce more water to drink. Your most assertive animals will learn very quickly and then will train others.
For additional information see the Training Livestock page.
7) What preparations are needed to install this pump?
For additional information see the installation instructions on this site.
8) Are there any water restrictions?
Water regulations vary in different municipalities. In Alberta, where we live, there is a water act that applies to all watering facilities. A licensed water well driller is required for the drilling of any well in Alberta. We hope everyone will use care and attention with their installation in order to protect the water quality for themselves and others. Bentonite is used to seal over the aquifer. If the pump is over a well, a sealed cement pad MUST be put around the site to protect the well from contamination.
9) Are there any government grants for installation of watering systems?
More often not there are. These programs do come and go. The FFNP does qualify for most related grants that are available. Contact local government agencies, conservation groups, watershed groups, Ducks Unlimited, forage associations etc. to see if you would qualify for support by keeping livestock out of water sources.
10) What will it cost to install this pump system?
This will depend on your local costs and how much of the work you can do yourself. If the well is deeper, the cost will naturally go up. If a well is being drilled, make sure the driller understands the system and that a large volume of water is not required.
For additional information see the installation cost on this site.
11) What do water well drillers use to seal the hole from contamination outside the culvert?
They use bentonite. If you are not in an area that requires a licensed driller, it would be a good recommended practice to use bentonite to make this seal to prevent contamination from surface water.
12) How much water pumps into the trough with each stroke of the lever?
Approximately one half litre (1/2 quart) of water comes up with each full stroke. This is about what the animal can swallow at one time, and therefore they don’t leave water in the trough when they quit drinking. This helps prevent freezing in the trough. Water DOES NOT drain out of the trough as this would contaminate the water source.
13) Why doesn’t this pump freeze?
We depend on geothermal heat from the ground to heat the wide diameter culvert. For this reason, we need the culvert in the ground deep enough to provide this heat (in cold climates, 20’). The culvert is insulated to retain this heat. There is a drain hole in the pipe 5 ft. down from the pump. When the cattle/horses/etc. walk away, the water slowly drains down to this depth. Water in the trough DOES NOT drain down (to protect the water source from contamination) but the cows leave very little water in the trough and the tiny bit of ice formed does not accumulate because the action of the cows drinking melts any ice in the bottom of the trough. Insulation under a cement pad is required around the pump. This prevents frost from being driven down to a level that could freeze your system.
For additional information see the Frost Prevention page and video Pumping at -40°.
14) Is this pump environmentally friendly?
Yes. It allows producers to keep their livestock out of water sources, providing the cattle with clean water (as well as those downstream from the source). This in turn also helps to keep the animals safer and healthier, and natural waterways cleaner and healthier. The raised nipple in the trough prevents any drain back that could contaminate the water source. The Frostfree Nosepump is an excellent riparian management tool.
15) What is the temperature of the water and how does that affect the cattle?
The water is always cool and clean. The temperature of water delivered from this pump should be optimal for performance according to research. Well water will come out of the ground between 50-56 º F. (13 ºC) Extensive records of well-water temperatures have shown that the water temp between depths of 9 and 18 m. is essentially constant throughout the year.
“Ideal drinking water temperature for livestock is between 40 and 65 ºF. Steers having access to cool drinking water gained 0.3 to 0.4 lbs. more per day than those drinking warm water” (Boyles, S., K. Wohlgemuth, G. Fisher, D Lundstrom, and L Johnson, 1988. Livestock and Water, AS-954. North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND)
“Water temperature may affect water intake by cattle. Research has shown that cool water helps cattle maintain a proper body temperature and can increase water intake, in turn increasing weight gains. If it is possible to maintain cool drinking water, there is a performance advantage to producers. During a study conducted in Alberta, researchers documented a 9% greater weight gain in calves with cows drinking water from a trough compared to those drinking directly from a pond. Steers in the same study showed a 16 – 19% increase in weight under the same environment.” (Authored by: L. Braul and B. Kirychuk, PFRA, wth thanks to W. Willms, B. Lardner, D. Christensen, B. Kelmmer, and D. Corkal)
16) Will bison and horses use this pump?
We have a number of customers using the pump for bison and considerable number of customers using it for horses. Our own horses are also using the pump. Horses may not be willing to lift water from the deeper depths that cattle are capable of due to their more sensitive muzzles.
For additional information see the Photo Album page and Videos pages on this site.
17) Will other animals use the pump, eg. sheep, goats, sows etc.?
We have no experience to date with animals other than cattle, horses and bison.