Monday, March 27, 2017

REVIEW: HydroPet Watering Bowl -and a little surprise ending for my Chicken Peeps

It's been a while since I've done a product review, but it's also been a while since I was offered a product that I felt I could actually use.  I was asked by HydroPet if I would give their product a try and share my honest opinions of their product with my readers.  I'm so glad I did because I really like this product.

The product is called HydroPet, its an automatic pet water bowl that refills with fresh clean water.  In addition to being a chicken keeper I run a dog boarding facility -I know you are probably thinking that the two go together like oil and water.  Actually, most of the dog guests find the chickens to be quite entertaining and will spend as much time as they can watching every movement of my hens through the fence.  We keep our dogs and chickens each physically separated behind a sequence of sturdy fences.

In our dog areas I keep several buckets and large bowls of water for the dogs to always have access to fresh water while they play...or study chicken behavior.  This requires that I hook up the hose several times a day to empty, rinse and refill the buckets and bowls.  It's amazing how much 'stuff' manages to get in the water dishes from the dogs drinking out of them.  For this reason, when HydroPet contacted me about testing their product I jumped at the chance.

The HydroPet bowl holds as much water as my buckets, but it does the rinsing and refilling job for me, leaving me more time to play with the dogs.  Unlike auto fill floats that sit in a bucket and keep the water at a certain level (I have used them before) with the HydroPet the water level goes down because the dogs drink the water, and the automatic timer (set to how ever often I may need the bowl refilled) will come on, spray water from three points inside the bowl that rinses out the inside and flushes the debris as it refills the bowl with fresh cool water.

There is no complicated installation.  I was able to have it up and running in less then 30 minutes, even with 4 curious dogs trying to help me.  There are three methods of installation depending on your particular application.  They are the 'hose bib connection', the 'sprinkler system connection' or the 'drip system connection' methods. Here is a short video from HydroPet that goes over the three installation methods.

I used the 'hose bib connection' method, it was super easy, but I do have a few tips no matter which method you use. First, have someone else occupy your helpful pets, my four dogs were so curious about what I was working on that it made it a bit of a challenge to do the installation, especially when one of them carried off the little bag of parts.  I spent about 10 minutes looking for the parts before I realized that my big girl had stashed them under the patio chair.  Another tip is to flush your hose out with water before you install the bowl.  My hose apparently had some debris in it, which quickly blocked the tiny wire mesh filter in the adapter and caused the water flow to slow to a trickle.

At first I thought, "Wow, this thing really sucks, there is no way its going to flush out floating debris in the bowl if it only trickles out."  I disconnected the hose adapter and cleaned off the filter screen (see pic above), ran water through my hose a moment then hooked it back up and Bang! Nice spraying flow of water that definitely had enough force (even with our low pressure water lines) to thoroughly clean out the junk my dogs deposited into the bowl.

Below is a video I made showing how quickly it refills.  Note that our water pressure is not real high but there is still plenty of spraying power to clean out the bowl.  Also note that I did not have the bowl sitting on level ground so as the water level filled, two of the jets were underwater.  They were still spraying, you just cannot see it.  The bowl has an overflow area where water is suppose to flow out when the bowl fills up.  This helps to wash out debris and if the bowl is placed in the flower bed the overflowing water will water your plants.  The amount of water that flows out will depend on how long you set the timer to run.  I sat mine for 3 minutes.  As you can see in this video, the bowl was full at about 2-1/2 minutes so the remaining 30 seconds cleans out the bowl and would water the flower bed, but not so much that it creates a soggy mess around the bowl.

You can purchase the HydroPet bowl by visiting their website HERE.  As you will see there are a few different package bundles.  Mine was the HydroPet Deluxe Bundle w/Timer.  It sells for $67.50. You can get it without the automatic timer for just $34.95 and fill it yourself manually, or if installing it with an existing drip or sprinkler system. This is what came in my package:

Now, my fellow chicken-peeps are probably thinking, "Anna, why are you doing a review for a dog product?"  Well I will let you in on a little secret...HydroPet has a new addition to this product coming out this summer and it is specifically for us Chicken People!

It's the Chicken Hood...

I hope to be able to bring you an updated review this summer, I know I really want one for my chicks!  HydroPet said the Chicken Hood will be priced at about $24-26 each and of course will be available in a bundle with the HydroPet Bowl as well.  Here is a video about this exciting addition to the HydroPet bowl.

As if you needed any additional reason to love the HydroPet, here are a couple more...the bowl is BPA Free and Made In America!

Disclosure:  First, I want to thank HydroPet for allowing me to try your awesome product, my dogs love it, and I hope to try your Chicken Hood later this summer.  If you read through my previous reviews you will see that I give honest reviews -even at the detriment of the company that sends me a product that is not good.  I received a product for free for testing but I was not paid for my opinion, nor was I told what I should say to my readers.  The opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Quick and Painless Paper Shredding

I have OsteoArthritis in my hands and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists so I have limitations to what and how much intricate work I can do with my hands.  Cutting with scissors is one of the things that I especially have to limit or I will be in pain for days afterwards.  This makes my job as a dog groomer difficult.  It also makes shredding papers for my compost extremely difficult without risking causing so much pain in my hands & wrists that I can't work the next day.

So I came up with this hack to help me make great use of those super long rolls of paper that get stuffed into my mail order packages.  This one was at least 50 feet long.

If I were to take my scissors to this length of paper or attempt to hand shred it I would not be able to function for at least a few days afterwards.  So I used this old paper cutter that I bought at a yard sale for about $2 and I flattened out the paper strip, worked it through the cutter and quickly had it sliced up into nice narrow strips in approximately 17 minutes!

The finished product is a huge box (about 3' x 2.5') half filled with paper strips ready for my compost bin.  My worms will love some of this as well.  It makes great covering for the top of the worm bin that will get eaten up by the worms as they work away at the kitchen waste.

Even if you don't have OA or Carpal Tunnel this hack will make quick work of that LONG roll of brown paper that you receive with your next mail order package.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope this post is helpful to you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Incubation: Day 7

Seven days ago I sat 24 eggs in my incubator.  They are a variety of surprises, I have no idea what breeds are included in this batch.  I just ask the lady who sells eggs locally if she could give me two dozen eggs, a mix of colors and sizes so I get a nice variety.  She knew that some of her hens were laying fertile eggs but she couldn't guarantee how many.  I was willing to take the risk.

Today is day 7 so I candled my 24 eggs and found that 19 of them have active little baby chick embryos inside! Yay!  One green egg was so dark that I couldn't see anything inside other then the air pocket so I marked the outline with a pencil and I will check it for any changes at day 10 and 14 if needed.

Later this week I will try to share the brooder I'm building from an old portable crib that, due to a change in federal laws several years ago, isn't legal for human use any more. I am hoping it will be a portable home for my chicks until they are feathered out enough to go the new coop that we haven't built yet.  Can you tell we work best under pressure? Ha ha!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

We are setting down new roots

We've moved from the high desert to the tall pines of Arizona.  I gave away my flock and sold my coop because I didn't know for sure where we were going to land or how long we might be there.  It took us over a year, but we are now settled in on 5 acres and I'm ready to start a new flock.

I'm getting two doz hopefully-fertile eggs tomorrow that I will set in my incubator to start my new flock.   While they are growing-out indoors the hubby will build me a new coop.

I'm already planning my garden area for this spring and a green house to help us continue to grow throughout the cold winters we have here in our new home.  After living in the high desert, learning how to keep my hens from overheating in the summer, now I get to learn to keep them from becoming pop cycles in the winter.  I'm looking forward to my new journey!