photo credit: pflyIt seems as soon as I fill the trough there are water bugs dancing through it. Do these bug pose a problem to my horse or should I be more diligent cleaning the trough? In the past I have just dumped the water out sprayed around the corners of the trough and then refilled it. Lately however, I have begun a schedule to clean and scrape the slime and debris from the sides and bottom of the trough.
If horses are left to their own devices they will find water when they are thirsty and if there is no clean water to be had they won’t drink. Some people resort to adding bleach to their trough. Adding small amounts of bleach (8 ounces per 1,000gallons) will keep the bacteria down but will keep the bleach levels acceptable for consumption.
I can’t help but not do this. Each time I try to tip some bleach into the trough I see the warning of the skeleton hand on the label. This has left me with another alternative to bleach.
Alternative ways to clean the trough
I use salt. At first I used grocery store plane Mediterranean sea salt but my horses didn’t care that it was all natural or for that matter Mediterranean. Rather than investing in a 1 kg box at inflated prices I went to the local farm shop and purchased a 50 lb bag of livestock salt for just about the same price.
To clean the trough I tip the water out once per week and sprinkle about ¼ of a cup on the damp interior of the trough. I figure if salt can be used as an exfoliant at the local spa then I can use it to abrade the goo from the sides of the trough.
Using the ever popular toilet brush (that, by the way has never set foot in a toilet) I scrub scrape and remove the green scum that has accumulated over the week. This always seems to be more in the summer months than in the fall and winter. Once complete I give the trough a rinse and VOILA a clean trough.
photo credit: missrightwing
By using salt to clean the trough I do not worry about the chemicals and feel that if I do not rinse it well enough the salt residue will not harm my horses.
And as for the water beetles … I haven’t see one since. I guess they don’t like the salt either.