We enjoyed an abnormally warm
December, so our heated
didn’t get much of a test. Then came January’s arctic blast.
The first night of the
cold spell, temperatures plummeted to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. When
I went out to check on the flock, one of the nipples had frozen up, but
the other was still flowing. The thawed nipple was on the side of
the bucket facing the roosting area, so it’s possible that the
chickens’ body heat was enough to warm that area very slightly.
Alternatively, the heat tape might have simply been closer to the
bottom of the bucket on that side.
That day, it never got
anywhere near freezing, with temperatures hovering in the high teens to
low twenties. The second night, we got down to about 10 degrees
Fahrenheit, which was far too low for the heat tape waterer. Not
only were both nipples frozen, there was a skim of ice two inches thick
on top of the bucket.
We’ve got plenty more
options to making the heated waterer stay warmer — we were just
waiting to see how this simplest option fared in cold weather. A
longer section of heat tape might help since it could wrap all the way
around the bucket (as in Lu
Ann’s protype), and
the bucket could definitely use an insulative sleeve. We could
even add a heat
lamp facing the nipples, preferably one plugged into
a thermocube so it only came on when
temperatures approached freezing.
Or we might just leave
the waterer the way it is — there aren’t many nights in our neck of
the woods that drop below 16!
instructions on building this and other types of heated chicken
|We recommend our 3 pack
DIY kit for making a
heated waterer for up to 50 chickens. The CD that comes with each
kit includes complete instructions to help you build our favorite
heated options without any trial and error.
The heated waterer
we use in our own coop requires two buckets, a
three foot length of pipe heating cable ($23), and the contents of
our kit. With a layer of chicken-friendly
waterer is good down into the teens.