Producer Len Cox, Rio Rancho, N.M., found a cost-effective way to provide his cattle with a healthy, clean water supply. Mr. Cox's rubber tire tubs are long lasting and inexpensive, as many tire dealers are willing to give their old tires away for free.

To make a rubber-drinking tub, lay the tire on its side. A loader or backhoe may be the only way to handle big tires. Cut a doughnut out to expose a larger drinking surface area. You'll need a drill and a jigsaw. Used oil and a wedge are helpful, but not essential. Drill a hole large enough to insert the jigsaw and pour a little oil on the hole. Using the jigsaw, begin cutting out the inner circle. After cutting a short distance, insert the wedge then follow the cut around adding a continuous amount of oil to help the saw around.

Install the tub with the cutout side up, setting it on the ground over the water inlet. The inlet should stick up into the middle of the tub to make float installation easier. Fill the lower tire doughnut ring with quality cement and tamp it well. Make sure the cement fills the entire area below the lip of the ring and around the water inlet. Then install any float mechanism you prefer.

Mr. Cox sets two tubs about 20 to 30 feet apart. One has a covered float that feeds the live drinking tub and keeps curious cattle from breaking the float. When animals bump the rubber tire tub, the flexible tire helps break the ice. And the relatively smooth inner surface of the tire limits organic growth.