Our homemade chicken
waterers make it
easy to leave town for as long as a week in the summer, but frozen
nipples nix winter trips. With the carrot of a visit to the
Yucatan dangling in front of his nose, Mark set to work to turn one of
our bucket waterers into a heated waterer that
would survive winter’s freezing temperatures. The result is
simple and works well, but still needs some tweaking to make it a bit
Version 1.0 is shown
above — drop an Ice and Easy Deicer in a bucket waterer, plug it
in, and wrap the bucket in Reflectix to hold in the heat. This
version worked fine until temperatures dropped to 17 degrees
Fahrenheit, at which point the nipples froze up. If you live in a
warmer climate, this may be all you need.
Version 2.0 added a 65
watt bulb in a metal reflector to channel the light and heat onto the
nipples. The extra warmth kept water flowing until temperatures
dropped down to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, a rare occasion around here
and one which seldom lasts more than a few hours. This version is
definitely good enough for our winters, and when we came back from our
vacation we discovered the unintended side effect — increased egg
production due to the light.
Mark’s going to keep
experimenting, though, because the light bulb uses more energy than we
really need to keep the water thawed. We’d also like the design
to be more elegant and easier for the backyard enthusiast to put
together. Meanwhile, don’t forget that you
can win a 10 pack DIY kit if you come up with a better solution. We look forward to
seeing your heated chicken waterers in action.
|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.