Heat tape chicken waterer

Heated bucket waterer

We decided to try out a heat tape waterer this winter.  The instructions call for a Remove bucket handle15 foot length of heat tape, but Mark wants to find out whether a 3 foot length will work as well.  If so, the shorter heat tape should use less electricity and will definitely make the construction process cheaper and easier.

Materials included:

  • bucket
  • a second bucket from Lowes
  • 3 foot heat tape
  • duct tape
  • screwdriver
  • drill
  • jigsaw
  • coping saw


First, Mark removed the handle from the bucket waterer using the screwdriver.

Cut down bucket

Next, we fiddled around for a while until we figured out the best way to cut the extra bucket into an outside housing for the new heated waterer.  This step will vary depending on the style of your bucket, but if you use Lowes buckets, you’ll want to cut in a line that follows the bottom of the
blue “Lowes” logo.  (Mark suspects that a three gallon bucket might just need the very bottom removed — that’ll be our next experiment since cutting off so much of the bucket felt wasteful.)  Either way, start your hole with the drill, then make your cut with the jigsaw.

Coping saw

The coping saw made a small slit about three inches down the side of the outer bucket. This
slit will allow us to thread the power cord out the side.  (If you’re using a Lowes bucket, the slit goes down to the end of the blue logo.)

Heat tape on bucket

We used duct tape to attach the heat tape to the outside of the bucket waterer, close to the bottom. 

Build heated chicken waterer

Then it was easy to push the sawed off bucket over top of the bucket waterer, letting the cord come out the slit.

So far, our heated chicken waterer has stayed thawed down to the mid twenties Fahrenheit.  I’ll be sure to report back once we discover its lower limit.

Edited on October 29, 2013 to add: It looks like the lower limit of this particular unit as built is 16 degrees Fahrenheit.  We’re experimenting with some new possibilities this winter as well, so stay tuned to our heated chicken waterer page for updates.

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