Quenching Your Livestock’s Thirst: A Guide to Water Troughs at Tractor Supply

Finding the Right Trough for Your Farm or Homestead

As any farmer or homesteader knows, providing a constant supply of fresh, clean water is one of the most important things you can do for your livestock. Water troughs are an essential tool for making sure animals like horses, cattle, goats and sheep stay hydrated. But with so many sizes, materials and styles available, how do you choose the right water trough for your needs? As a longtime rancher myself, I rely on Tractor Supply as my go-to source for livestock equipment and supplies, including a wide selection of durable, high-quality water troughs to keep my animals happy and healthy.

In this blog post, I’ll share everything I’ve learned about the range of water troughs available at Tractor Supply – the different types, features, sizes and prices. Whether you need a small trough for a few head of sheep or a giant 600 gallon tank for a herd of cattle, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs at your local Tractor Supply store or online. I’ll provide tips on how to pick the perfect trough for any type of livestock in any climate.

Let’s jump in and discuss how to choose the ideal water trough from the many options that Tractor Supply offers!

An Overview of Water Trough Styles and Materials

Tractor Supply carries water troughs made from three main materials: heavy-duty polyethylene plastic, galvanized steel, and rubber. Within those categories, they offer troughs in many shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick rundown of the options available:

  • Polyethylene plastic troughs: These extremely durable, flexible troughs come in many capacities, from 25 gallons up to 600 gallons. They resist dents and corrosion, and their molded seamless construction makes them easy to clean. Plastic troughs are lightweight and often less expensive than steel.
  • Galvanized steel troughs: Rugged and corrosion-resistant, galvanized steel troughs have rolled edges for added strength. They come in round and oblong shapes, ranging from 15 to 150 gallons. Galvanized steel holds up well over time.
  • Rubber troughs: Flexible, lightweight rubber troughs are easy to transport and fold up for storage when not in use. They come in 25 to 100 gallon capacities. Being soft-sided, they are not suitable for horses.

No matter what material you choose, Tractor Supply has troughs with many useful features like drain plugs, heavy-duty construction and sloped sides to minimize water waste. Read on for more details about the specific models they carry!

The Best Polyethylene Plastic Water Troughs at Tractor Supply

In my experience, polyethylene plastic troughs provide the most versatility for the price. Here are some of the best options Tractor Supply offers in durable polyethylene:

  • Tractor Supply 300 Gallon Cattle Trough – This huge seamless black trough measures 47 inches high x 94 inches across, providing 300 gallons of capacity. It’s virtually indestructible and has a drain plug for easy cleaning. Priced at around $200, it’s suitable for multiple large animals like cows.
  • Rubbermaid Structural Foam Stock Tanks, 100-200 gallons – Available in 100, 150 and 200 gallon sizes, these olive green troughs are seamless, leakproof and made to last for years. Priced from $115-190, they work well for small cattle, horses, sheep and goats.
  • Rubbermaid 50 Gallon Trough – At just $55, this smaller lightweight trough is great for goats, sheep, pigs and deer. It has molded-in handles and a bottom drain.
  • Polyethylene Snap-On Fountain Attachment – Turn any polyethylene trough into an automatic waterer with this $65 fountain attachment. It snaps onto the trough edge and provides fresh flowing water.

Polyethylene plastic holds up extremely well over time and provides the most versatility and affordability. Tractor Supply’s polyethylene trough selection offers the right size for any livestock need.

Durable Galvanized Steel Troughs for Years of Service

For those who prefer the traditional look and rugged durability of steel, Tractor Supply offers several galvanized steel water trough models:

  • Behlen Country 20 Gallon Galvanized Trough – This round steel trough with rolled edges provides 20 gallons of capacity for $55. It’s short enough for goats and sheep to reach.
  • Behlen Country 40 Gallon Galvanized Trough – Similar to the 20 gallon but larger, this round 40 gallon trough is priced at around $95. It works well for small livestock species.
  • Rubbermaid Structural Foam Mounting Bracket – For $20 you can get a sturdy mounting bracket to securely install your steel trough and prevent tipping.
  • Bon 40 Gallon Galvanized Oblong Trough – This rectangular trough offers 40 gallons for multiple smaller livestock for around $125. The oblong shape allows more animals to drink at once.

Galvanized steel, though pricier than plastic, is extremely tough and long-lasting. The galvanization prevents corrosion. If you prefer steel over plastic, Tractor Supply has you covered.

Portable, Foldable Rubber Water Troughs

For small-scale homesteaders who need portable lightweight troughs, Tractor Supply stocks flexible rubber water troughs from Ritchie:

  • Ritchie 25 Gallon Fount Calf Trough – This soft rubberized calf trough holds 25 gallons and costs just $65. At 18″ high and 34″ across, it’s easy to fold up and take anywhere.
  • Ritchie 50 Gallon Fount Calf Trough – Twice the capacity of the 25 gallon version, this trough provides 50 gallons for $115. It measures 26″ high and 50″ across.
  • Ritchie 100 Gallon Fount Calf Trough – The largest folding trough available, this 100 gallon size is 42″ high and 72″ wide for $250.

Rubber troughs are optimal if you rotate your animals between pastures or take them on the go to fairs or shows. The soft material prevents injury as well. Just avoid using them for aggressive chewers like horses.

Key Features to Look for in a Water Trough

Beyond the core material and size, there are a few key features that make a water trough really convenient and user-friendly:

  • Drain plug – Choose a trough with a drain plug, preferably 3″ or larger, to allow easy drainage and cleaning. Just open the plug and let the water run out, then scrub the inside.
  • Sloped sides – Troughs with slightly sloped rather than straight sides help minimize water loss as the livestock drinks. The slope reduces splashing and wasted water.
  • Rounded edges – Troughs with rolled or rounded edges prevent injuries to animals’ faces and lips while drinking. Sharp edges can harm livestock.
  • Mounting brackets – Seek out troughs with accompanying mounting brackets to securely attach them to fences or walls and prevent tipping.

Prioritizing these features will provide a better overall experience for both you and your livestock when selecting a new water trough from Tractor Supply.

Water Trough Size Recommendations for Different Livestock

Choosing the right water trough size largely depends on two factors:

  1. The type of livestock drinking from it
  2. The number of animals accessing it

Here are some general guidelines on appropriate trough sizes:

  • Small troughs (15-40 gal) – Suitable for 1-2 sheep, goats, pigs or small cows. Allows enough drinking room.
  • Medium troughs (50-100 gal) – Accommodates 2-4 sheep/goats or 1-2 larger cows, steers or horses. Provides adequate capacity.
  • Large troughs (150-300 gal) – For 2-4 cows, horses or steers. Gives plenty of space for small herds to stay hydrated.
  • Extra large troughs (400-600 gal) – Allows a whole herd of 4-8 cattle plus other species to drink with minimal crowding.

In general, it’s better to size up if unsure – larger troughs allow more animals to drink at once with lower risk of crowding and injuries. Consider sizing up by 50% for growth potential too. Aim for at least 15-20 gallons per animal as a baseline.

Specialty Troughs for Aquaponics, Planters and More

Beyond standard livestock applications, Tractor Supply also offers water troughs designed for uses like:

  • Aquaponics/hydroponics – Some troughs work great for home aquaponic or hydroponic gardening systems. Look for non-toxic plastic models with no chemicals.
  • Planters – Certain trough shapes and sizes can pull double duty as decorative planters around the home or farm. Just add soil and plants!
  • Dog bathing tubs – Large polyethylene troughs are wonderful for bathing dogs outside. The material is gentle on paws.
  • Feed troughs – Any water trough can multitask for supplying livestock feed as well. Some even come with feeder attachments.
  • Fair/show box stall troughs – Portable, folding troughs are useful for watering project animals at fairs, shows and competitions.

Tractor Supply’s troughs are very versatile – with a little creativity, many can serve purposes beyond basic livestock watering needs.

Top Tips for Picking and Using a Water Trough

After years of reliance on water troughs for my cattle, goats, sheep and horses, I’ve learned some key tips for selecting and using them:

  • Install the trough on sturdy, level ground or securely mount it to a fence line. This prevents tipping hazards.
  • Place the trough in shade to discourage algae growth and keep water cool in summer.
  • In winter, use a trough heater to prevent freezing. Tractor Supply sells both submersible and inline water trough heaters.
  • Consider adding a water treatment product to control algae and bacteria for healthier water.
  • Scrub and disinfect troughs regularly to prevent contamination and buildup.
  • For horses, choose very large troughs they cannot tip over or access with their feet.
  • Overflow drain pipes allow self-watering from natural sources like streams or rain barrels.

With the right setup and maintenance habits, a high-quality water trough from Tractor Supply will provide hydration for livestock season after season.

No matter what your needs, visit your local Tractor Supply store or browse online to find the ideal water troughs to keep your animals healthy. Happy watering!

Hello, everyone! I'm David Henry, a dedicated customer and enthusiastic reviewer of Tractor Supply Company. As a farmer and agriculture enthusiast, I frequently visit Tractor Supply Company to explore and purchase a wide range of agricultural supplies, tools, and equipment. Over the years, I have accumulated extensive experience and knowledge in shopping at Tractor Supply Company, and I aim to help others make wiser choices through my sharing. I understand the importance of selecting the right products for farmers, ranchers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. That's why I enjoy sharing my insights and recommendations to assist individuals in finding the best-suited products for their needs. Join me as we embark on a journey of discovering quality products and making informed decisions at Tractor Supply Company. Together, let's enhance our farming and outdoor experiences through valuable insights and practical advice.