I've 3 ladies, and today's high will be 4 degrees. Many degrees below zero at night. I've been using a 1 gallon standard waterer on top of the cinderblock-with-a-lightbulb trick, but many times a day the water is still frozen solid and for obvious reasons I need a working solution.
I purchased a 2 gallon bucket with a thermo-controlled heating element built in, drilled a 45 degree hole in the bottom (to avoid the heating part) and screwed in a nipple. Covered the top so nothing falls in, and hung it appropriately.
The ladies have an elevated 3x5 coop, and go into their covered, sheltered, 5x9 run every day. They have access to free range, but the snow is a couple of feet deep right now, and save for the paths we have shoveled they don't like to wander much around the yard. (no surprise there)
How long is it going to take for these girls to figure out that the red nipple will be their water source? I stuck raisins dipped in peanut butter all around the nipple, and even on the nipple, so they'd figure out that it was a source of yummy, but only one took advantage. I have the other water still in the run, as I don't want to deprive them of water at all in this cold.
Thanks for any advice. Pictures available upon request, but that would mean I would have to go outside again, and I was hoping to remain without pants.