Originally Posted by Sylvester017
There are all kinds of devices from thin heating rods to add to the water buckets to heated bowls, etc, when you research on the internet but they require electrical connections and that makes me nervous around water. I can just see one of my hens become a Frizzle if she found something electrical LOL! But really, the Brite Tap nipple valve package works for me because our climate rarely if ever goes to freezing in SoCal. The nipple valves don't work well at high altitudes like Colorado because there's not enough air pressure for the valves to work properly. Rarely one day every decade we get a thin sheet of snow on the ground and then it melts by noon. I'm not sure what others do to keep their nipple valves from freezing other than inserting heating rods into the water container. I mean, what do owners do to keep their regular water bowls from freezing? I'm sure there's always a creative solution.
I don't see where elevation would make a difference on the nipple waterers, at least not the ones I've seen. The are very simple mechanically, tip the bottom of the pin and it lets a drop of water pass by the top of the pin and the O ring and slide down the pin.
Originally Posted by adkhunter1590
Thanks for your reply. Against digging I have scrap metal roofing panels cut and buried around the perimeter. There wasn't enough left over metal roof for me to bother saving but the previous owner left it behind so I figured I would use it somehow. Figured it was just as good as using some kind of metal wire. I know chicken wire is taboo around here but I only used it for the wall sectioning off the chickens to their side of the shed. And I put some around my lamp I have secured up in the corner for extra light a few hours early in the morning to keep egg production up. It's just a 40watt equivalent LED soft white bulb. Won't provide any heat just 2 hours of light before sunrise and 1 hour in the afternoons ending at dusk. My flock free ranges around the property so I just wanted to turn the light on as a reminder to come home soon.
I didn't think the insulation would do much but it was free scrap stuff that I had access to so I decided why not. I did cover the walls I insulated in plywood so they can't peck it. I did think that one through lol. It's not covered all the wall to the ceiling but it's plenty high enough that they can't reach it. And I made sure nothing over there was tall enough for them to jump on to reach the insulation.
I think I'll have more than enough ventilation especially when I install the 2nd vented roof skylight. Both ends of the shed have big double doors that are not air tight around the edges. That lets in a lot of air too. But I'm going to be sealing those doors up tight soon as the snow is going to fly any day now here in upstateNy.
I'm also planning on building a hoop run attached to the shed soon. Someplace for them to get out of the coop when we are buried in snow. It will just be covered in white plastic to keep snow out. Cheap and easy to take down when snow melts and free ranging can start again.
Originally Posted by gpeters3
I would love to use PVC for the water but I don't know any good way to prevent freezing. We have 2-3 months where it can stay frozen (maybe not this year, its still 60 during the day). The bucket idea has merit but I like the barrel with horizontal nipples the best so far. I'm going to have to move it so i can get it higher. Tomorrow I'm going to mess around with the perches.
I don't know why horizontal nipples would be less likely to freeze than vertical ones. In fact I would guess they would be more likely to do so since the water drips onto the plastic part where it can freeze. But I've never used them so I have no personal experience/knowledge.
I keep my water from freezing with a stock tank heater until the temps get down to about +15F and a submersible aquarium heater set close to 70F below that. There is tubing running from a very small reptile waterfall pump in the 5 gallon drink cooler (which is on the other side of the coop wall) to the PVC pipe (which is buried and insulated in the bottom of the nest box) then back to the cooler. I've only had nipples freeze with this setup when it gets down to about -20F.
Originally Posted by gpeters3
No, i dont think a hawk could carry her off, she was quite large but some cat lovers believe they have the right to let their cat run loose because its their nature... years ago my answer to such trash was a 22 long rifle hollow point between the eyes and a hallowed spot around one of my trees as fertilizer but i dont own a rifle any more. I have been leaving them out all day unsupervised so it could have been a stray dog or cat. i havent noticed any but it used to be a problem. ill just keep them in for the winter and set up a run of some kind in the spring. i used to be proactive, now im passive and my neighbors appreciate it. Havent seen a predator yet that can eat through steel barn siding :-)
I have heard that hawks can't carry a full grown chicken very far so you are probably right that it was a ground predator. I've lost a couple of chickens to foxes (one this past April and one in April last year). Talk about stealthy.
I'm sure your neighbors appreciate your passive approach if the predator was one of their dogs or cats. But they should show that appreciation by keeping their animals on their property. If they don't do so, then go back to being proactive if you have evidence their pets are responsible. I'm not sure a housecat would go after a full grown chicken. Or maybe I am just lucky that the cat living across the road that comes to visit pretty much daily shows absolutely no interest in the chickens. I see tracks in the snow every morning (when there is snow obviously) coming across the road, up along the walk, then around the house and into the upper part of the barn (the chickens are in the lower part) then back out and across the road. Sometimes I see that his tracks go off into the deeper snow hunting a rodent. And I see him in the summer. I think he is just hunting mice and voles. Too bad he doesn't take on the woodchucks.