x2 on the fire hazard--especially when used near water. A hot bulb plus water splashes can lead to the bulb shattering.
I use a heated bucket, myself, set underneath something or covered so there aren't any accidental swims over the wintertime. It heats at the base and keeps the water just above freezing. A thin layer of ice formed on the water during those nasty negative temps we had last winter, but the girls knew to peck right through it to drink. It does require an extension cord or electricity of some sort, which is one of the reasons I empty and unplug it overnight.
I'll have to go back and find it if you want to try it out, but there were also posts last winter about using the element from the same kind of bucket to make a heated base for waterers and fermented feed dishes. My girls use buckets for the rest of the year, so I stuck with just using the bucket for the wintertime.
Edited because my brain doesn't function properly after 10pm.
Edit 2 - Here's that post about using the element for a heated base (credit to Leahs mom for the original post, of course ) http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/730582/indiana-bycers-here/16100#post_12204212
In regard to a water bowl, i have been using the plastic one that came with the birds and coop. I hate it, but it has been workable bc i have had it outside so it hasnt been a big deal when they overturn it...multiple times a day.
Since we are supposed to get snow too, i am wanting to get serious about a winter solution. I dont want to run electricity out to the coop for winter, and i am afraid they will step in and overturn anything on the floor. Are there any hanging waterers you have liked?
Also, i have been brainstorming ideas with my engineering husband. We have been trying to figure out if there is anything we can put around or in a water container to help it not freeze as quickly. Since we are new to this, we have no idea if chickens will peck at or how they woukd handle these things. So if someone with more experience could give me your thoughts on:
~a water wiggler (like you would put in a birdbath
~insulated bag material made to slip around the waterer
~a heated rice filled bag made to fit around the waterer (like the bed buddys and other warm packs)
I know none of these will prevent freezing, but just hoping to slow the process.