This is a hobby farm. I have several horses and they are in different parts of the farm (due to size, and gender, and who they get along with). Each section is fences with an electric fence, except the pony has a woven fence (he crawls under electric fences).
Each section has a water trough, all but one are plastic. Each has a 250 or 500 watt livestock tank heater which is plugged in when the temperature is below freezing, to keep the water from freezing. One group of two horses is in the same place they were last winter, have the same water trough, same electric fence, same everything. A few weeks ago, I spotted one of the horses kicking the water trough and him stareing at it like it's going to bite him. The next day the weather warmed up so I unplugged the heater, and he did not kick it again. One night it got cold so I plugged it in again, and that night he was kicking the tank all night again, and doing the whole routine as before. The next morning I went out there and found the water level was low, and the water was warm to touch. I figured he didnt like the warm water. I unplugged the heater and filled his tank. Everything was fine. Last night it got cold again, so I plugged the heater back in, and all night the OTHER horse was banging on the tank. I thought maybe the heater got unplugged and there was a skin of ice on top. WHen I woke up, both of them were banging on the tank and I went to check. The heater was working, the tank was almost full, the water was neither freezing or warm.
WHAT THE FU#K?
OK, normally, I would suspect AC leakage except for one thing. It's plugged into a GFCI. That should have tripped. I stuck my hand in the water, wearing only some damp tennis shoes and standing in light snow. I felt not even the slightest tingle. I waited until they came back over and started banging again, and I noticed they would back away from the water after trying to take a drink. I unplugged the heater, and after being real cautious, both of them guzzled the water and all was well. I plugged the heater back in, and placed my multimeter between the water and the ground. ZERO !!!! A few hours later they were banging again on the tank. I removed the heater and swapped it with some other horses. I brought the OTHER heater back to these two. The other horses have shown NO problem with their water, but these same two are banging again, in fact are doing it right now.
In summary, I have changed the tank heater. This and every tank heater on the farm are on a GFCI (each has their own). I measure no noticable voltage with my multimeter, nor do I feel anything when I touch the water. The tank is plastic. There is a 50 foot extension cord between the heater and the GFCI outlet, laying across lawn.
If it was just one horse, I'd say "a goofy horse", but both of them are doing this. Yet, I can not comprehend what the heck is wrong. My only suspicion would be that somehow the electric fence is leaking thru the soil, and the heater is serving as a ground, and there is a voltage difference (of course, neither my hand, nor my multimeter picked up anything). Yes, the tank is near the fence, but so is EVERY water trough on the farm. You dont place them in the middle of everything, or horses knock them over when they run around.
Anyone got any ideas, recommendations, tips, or ????
I keep wondering if it would help to sink a ground rod (piece of pipe) outside the fence, attach a piece of wire and stick it in the water ???? It's worth a try, but pounding that rod into icy soil wont be easy, and I hate to do it for nothing. So, I thought I'd ask on here first. Till then, I just unplug it every so often, and these horses get slushy water....
Irish Settler Farm
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