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Why I Invented the Kendu Zero Spill Waterbowl
It was my daily chore to clean up wet feed from the mangers and try to get some older heifers to eat it. Most of the refused feed simply went into a manure pile. It was frustrating to know that expensive choice feed that I fed this morning was now being thrown out, simply because it got wet. Watching cows splash water out of their waterbowls is frustrating, and for 20 years I have been looking for a waterbowl manufacturer to solve the problem. One day I decided that I would do something on my own to reduce the problem. I created the first Zero Spill waterbowl. I sat and watched for 2 hours as my 2 messiest cows in the barn played with their new waterbowl. It wasn’t the prettiest creation, but the cows were completely unable to get a drop to spill out of it. A month later 30 farmers were in my barn for an open house to see the first Zero Spill waterbowl.

The large response at short notice was encouraging. Many farmers took prototypes home to test them. I continued to look for input for the best design to improve upon existing designs. Over 100 farmers had input into the final design of the KZS-07. The end product was designed by farmers, for farmers.

History of shallow waterbowls
The basic design of a shallow basin and a valve operated by the animal was conceived in 1923 and has not changed much over eighty five years. Modern waterbowls offer higher flow and some offer higher volumes, however one basic flaw in the design has never been successfully addressed. Cows love to splash water out of the bowl for hours and hours when they’re bored. Over a day 10 to 20 litres could easily be splashed onto their feed or bedding.

Why are traditional waterbowls so shallow?
It is normal and natural for an animal to drink or eat from a deep pail or trough. So why are all common waterbowls so shallow. Is there any benefit to a shallow waterbowl? The original shallow waterbowl was designed in 1923 when pressurized water systems became popular. Installing piping and waterbowls was expensive so the vast majority of farms utilized 1 waterbowl shared between 2 cows. This means that the waterbowl had to be situated between the stall dividers so that both cows could have access to the same bowl. Waterbowls had to be shallow to provide some space above the rim for the cows to fit their head. This shallow design did not consider how easy it would be for a cow to splash water out over the rim of the bowl. At the time, feed, bedding and labour were abundant, but waterbowls were a new expensive luxury.

Why do traditional waterbowls keep the water level so close to the top of the bowl?
When the water level is within 1 inch of the rim it is easy for a cow to lick and splash water over the top. Common sense would say provide as much space as possible to contain the splashes. Most countries have regulations that require that public water sources have protection from contamination. Traditional waterbowls meet the regulations by allowing an air space between the valve opening and the rim of the waterbowl to prevent water in the bowl being siphoned back up the water line. Unfortunately, in doing so it also allows the cows to fill the waterbowl right up to within an inch of the rim. Many simple methods would prevent the chance of backflow and still allow a higher rim to stop splashover. The best for livestock applications is a vacuum breaker that lets air enter the system instead of letting water siphon out of the waterbowls. (Link to backflow prevention website)

Waterbowl manufacturers have recognized that water splashed out of their waterbowls is a major concern with farmers, but their attempts to solve the problem have not been successful. Add on springs were designed to sit over the water to inhibit lapping. Add on extensions were designed to catch some of the lapping but were too wide and allowed most splashing to escape. Both devices were difficult to keep in place and were regularly knocked off. Recently some manufacturers have tried to address the splashing problem by curving the rim of the shallow bowl inward. They claim that these waterbowls are “non splash” The rim is meant to inhibit the cows splashing habits. Although slightly deeper it still allows the water level up near the top where it is easily lapped over the curved rim. One manufacturer has extended the rigid bowl of an existing design higher and wider, but splashes can still escape.

The Kendu Zero Spill is a simple and effective design that is radically different than the shallow waterbowls used for the last 80 years. It is creatively designed to meet all the needs of modern dairy farmers. A fresh new look at watering cattle in a tie stall.


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