Marvin Bartel wrote in this week to share
his ingenious solution to the
problem of frozen chicken waterers. His description and
photos were so great, I’ve reproduced the entire email here with just a
Here in Northern Indiana it gets cold. I have a three hens
in a small insulated shed. They use one of your drinkers.
So far this year it has been down to
7 degrees F outside and down to 15 F in the shed.
Being a potter and expecting cold weather, I made a stoneware pot shown
here under the
drinker bucket. It contains a 25 watt lightbulb
controlled by a thermostat. The water bucket has
wire and spring to secure it so it cannot fall off.
The yellow plug thermostat is designed to turn on heat tape to keep
pipes from freezing. It is permanently set to switch on at 38 and
off at 50.
Search for: Easy Heat #EH-38 Auto Thermostat. Amazon has them at
$12.88 + shipping.
the base with the stoneware cover removed.
Inside the closed container it reached 50 degrees too soon and turned
the bulb off before it produced enough heat
to keep the drinker from freezing. By adding an inch of
insulation between the bulb and the thermostat, the bulb
stays on long enough to keep the drinker from freezing
(thus far). The insulation is alumina-silica fiber insulation
used in pottery kilns and space shuttles. Other fireproof
insulation would probably work. The bulb uses a standard
The closed warmer without the water container on top of it. Any
potter can make these. A tinsmith
could also make it from sheet metal.
drinker is mounted with a rubber o-ring seal.
Inside the water pail it has a brass nut (sold to fit the little
pipe under a lamp sockets).
We’re always thrilled to
see unique homemade chicken
waterers like this
one. Marvin’s base is very elegant because he’s a potter, but I
suspect less crafty folks could make something equally utilitarian with
even less effort. Or contact Marvin and commission him to make you a unique art base!
making this post, we’ve done a lot of experimentation with the
best way to keep chicken waterers from freezing. You can see my
favorite heated chicken waterer here, which was good down to the
teens last year.
We recommend our 3 pack