Heated bucket chicken waterer

Lu Ann Shank did such a good job of describing her homemade, heated bucket waterer that I’m
just copying her email and photos below:

Our flock belongs to my 13-year old son, Christian. As part of his 4H project he raises and shows several breeds of large fowl. At one of the poultry shows an acquaintance gave him a few of your nipples to try. We went home and put a bucket waterer together and have been thrilled with
the result.

I saw your request for winter-waterers and thought I would share what has worked for us. As a disclaimer – we live in North Texas – I can hear those flock owners from up-north cackling already – we are fortunate to only get snaps of cold temperatures here that do not linger – So far this waterer has functioned for us without complaint. The idea is simple enough and could be easily modified by your creative readers in colder climates.

Reinforced bucket handleHere is what we used:

  • 2@ 5-gallon buckets
  • 1 @15’ pipe heating cable
  • 2 Fender Washers
  • Caulk
  • Epoxy

I started with our original bucket waterer. It is the black bucket in the photos. I chose black to discourage algae growth. Before I began to modify the bucket I reinforced the handles withHeat cable wrapped around bucket watererfender washers and epoxy to
compensate  for the additional weight.

Starting at the bottom of the black bucket, I wrapped the heat cable around the bottom third of the bucket. Make sure that the
cable lies flat and does not cross itself.

Hole in side out of outer bucket

Remove the handle from the second (white) bucket. Cut out the bottom of the bucket and drill a hole in the side of the bucket about two thirds of the way up from the bottom.

Heated chicken bucket waterer

As you slide the black bucket into the white bucket thread the plug and thermostat of the heat cable through the hole in the white bucket. Twist the black bucket as you slide it into place to take up any slack in the heat cable. Before you push the buckets into their final position – run a bead of caulk near the top of the black bucket. This will adhere the two buckets together.



Chicken nipples in a bucket watererFlip the buckets over. Run a
bead of caulk between the bottom of the black bucket and the inside lip of the white bucket to keep curious hens from pecking at the cable.

Let it dry and plug it in.

The “lip” created by the white bucket protects the nipples from the wind and – so far – has kept them from freezing. The added
benefit is that my son can now set the bucket flat on the ground to clean it without
damaging the nipples.

Modified bucket waterer lid 
The only other modification that I made was to add a PVC elbow to the lid making it easier for my son to fill without removing the lid. I also put a wire plant basket on top to keep the girls from perching on top.

We recommend these chicken nipples, this three foot length of pipe heating cable, and a layer of chicken-friendly insulation. In our experience, the waterer shown in this post is good down into the teens Fahrenheit.


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