Give Your Wildlife a Helping Hand With A Wildlife Guzzler
As you may have heard, Texas has been struggling with drought the past few years. Wildlife guzzlers (a supplemental water source for wildlife) are popular with the critters.
While we were hopeful that the drought had broken last year, it’s been pretty dry this year. Even the deer have decided that a drink out of our birdbath is preferable to the available alternatives. And while the Fat Rancher likes to think of himself as generous, I’m not ready to accept the use of our swimming pool as a critter watering hole. That that is exactly what it has become in the early morning hours…
This has prompted us to build some wildlife watering stations; So-called wildlife guzzlers. See a Texas Parks and Wildlife publication on wildlife watering holes here.
How to Do It
I started out with blue food-grade barrels. However, this presented issues with mounting spigots into the thin poly tank.
As it happens, Costco (Good Ideas Rain Barrel) had some rain barrels on sale, replete with spigots and fill strainer. Better yet, they are tan-colored, so I don’t have to repaint them to blend into the landscape.
The Good Ideas Impressions Corsican 50 was sold at our North Austin Costco for $89.00. Not exactly cheap. But hey, how much is your time worth? These made in USA barrels are already fitted with two screw outlets, two connecting nipples (in the back), and a fill screen on top. Also included inside the barrel is a diverter kit for home rain barrel use.
We installed the two spigots and toted the barrel out in our backyard (in an attempt to lure the critters away from the pool). We connected a Pet Lodge Ever Full Bowl to the barrel and filled the barrel up with water.
The Ever Full Bowl (available from Amazon) for $33.99 is a galvanized pan with a float valve and float shield. It comes with a two foot hose to connect to the water source.
The only thing we changed was the addition of a screen washer to the inlet of the bowl to prevent crud in the water from buggering up the needle valve in the bowl.
The result is a pretty decent-looking watering station which gravity feeds into the bowl. Sure, you will have to clean the leaves etc. out of the bowl when you refill the station. But the sides are low enough that you shouldn’t have any drowned critters (an issue with tub-style wildlife guzzlers).
All that remains is to mount a game camera nearby so we can check out whether the critters will accept this gizmo over our pool!
Now, these wildlife guzzlers require a manual refill. I use a food-grade blue barrel with a 12-volt pump from www.amazon.com.
Yes it’s a pain to have to refill. But the only other option is to put a rainfall capture on the barrel, which I may do at some time. However, right now, there isn’t enough rain for this to work.
18 square feet will capture 10.8 gallons of water for every inch of rain. We have had <1 inch of rain over the last two months. Between critters and evaporation, this won’t keep the dish wet.
So, for the time being, the manual refill is the answer.
Does enjoy a drink from the new wildlife guzzler