aart's Heated Waterer with Horizontal Nipples

Worry Free, Low Maintenance Winter Watering. For climates that don't see above 32F for days on end.
By aart · Nov 12, 2014 · Updated Apr 7, 2015 · ·
  1. aart
    First off let me say, this is not my design but is a concept copied from/inspired by Jimmy Walt's.

    Second off let me say, that at the time this page was created(11-12-14) the waterer was just newly built and installed and not yet proven over time and temperature range.
    I will post updates, good and bad, here on the page as they arise.
    11-18-14: Heater Failed, think thermostat failed - not sure what will I'll try next, probably a bucket heater.
    11-25-14: added new aquarium heater and some insulation...scroll down to see.
    2-15-15: Holding up wonderfully, lowest temp yet -10F, using .5 to .8KWH (less than $0.10/day)
    2-20-15: Lowest temp -12F.
    4-7-15: Removed heater from jug as we had out last(I hope) hard freeze a few nights ago.
    very happy with this setup and am relieved to have this winter chicken keeping tool in my toolbox so to speak.

    12-14-17: New pic way down below showing new insulation cover and better bottom insulation.

    More discussion on this thread....https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/936870/my-new-heated-waterer#post_14588396......questions might be better answered on the thread as articles don't seem to send new comment notifications.

    Parts list:
    -2 gallon kitty litter jug with 6 horizontal nipples, I marked it with 1 quart graduations to monitor water usage and add med dosages if necessary.

    -50 watt submersible aquarium heater for 2-10 gallon tanks that has an automatic thermostat to hold temps at 76-78F mounted on a piece of polycarbonate and covered with 1/2 hardware cloth just in case the water runs out nothing will touch it.

    -Hot spa thermometer I had in my stash of stuff with a piece of pipe insulation to keep it floating where I could read the water temp without removing it from the jug.

    -A large silicone stopper that I just happened to have in my stash was modified to go around the power cord and provide vacuum release yet offer a seal to prevent evaporation or slow spills if it ever get knocked over.

    All assembled:

    Here it is in my coop:
    The slanted board has 2 holes near the top and is hinged with wire attached to the HC coop wall, this keeps the chooks from roosting on top of the waterer and away from the power cord, a hook above holds the board for waterer maintenance. The power cord and thermometer string goes thru the coop wall.....

    ...and up to the power strip where it is plugged into a thermocube(which turns on at 35F and off at 45F) and a kilowatt meter to track the power usage. The timer is for the overheard light to promote winter laying.

    Here's an inside view, the light is provided by a flashlight outside of the jug:

    Aquarium heater suction mounted to the polycarb and the stopper with cord slot and vacuum release hole

    I added a ziptie to further secure the heater to the polycarb and wrapped a piece of 1/2" hardware cloth around the whole assembly.

    The thermometer, piece of pipe insulation fit just right and keeps it floating horizontally:

    New Heater added 11-25-14


    Added some insulation around and under.
    Reflective bubble wrap around jug.
    2" pink foam wrapped in plastic feed bag material underneath.

    UPDATE 12-14-17:
    Added a piece of feed bag over bubble wrap to stop pecking, I guess chickens like to pop bubble wrap too!

    The feed bag wrapped block of pink foam insulation got nasty, so I unwrapped it and set it under part of a 3 gallon bucket fit perfectly over the concrete block and contains any drips.
    Heated Waterer Winter 12-14-17.JPG

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Recent User Reviews

  1. CityslickerHomestead
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Apr 6, 2019
    I appreciate the thorough breakdown of what goes into making a heated waterer. Especially the follow-up about the effectiveness!
  2. chickwhispers
    "Excellent option!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Mar 26, 2019
    I like to have multiple waterers for my birds and this is an excellent option for a second waterer for the cold weather! You never know when any option that uses electricity will fail and this seems like a good backup plan to what I already have. Thank you for the well written article!


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  1. Eggs2chicks
    I have a query. I have a heated water hose from an RV I sold. Yes pricey and of no more use. I am wondering if anyone has ever tried to put nipple watering spouts on one for a watering system? Do you think it would work?
    1. aart
    2. Eggs2chicks
      Thanks. I forgot how to use this site/app.
      aart likes this.
    3. aart
  2. mrs3rrl
    What an excellent description and photos! Thanks so much for the info.
  3. ourcozycoop
    Well now!! I need this!!
  4. rehsanipoor
    holy moly. There's some serious gadgets going on there. I can barely operate my remote control for the TV! Can I attach HN to pvc? We don't drop to freezing temps too often here (maryland). If it does I can probably just pop out there and add some warm water. We have six girls so it's not a tremendous amount of water. Thanks @aart I've been reading your post all about waterers.
  5. mmaalumni
    What do you use for a timer above?
  6. mobius
    Brilliant! I am going to use one of those grocery store cooler bags to cover!! A little insulation can't hurt and I like yours!
  7. chixcoop
    Oh nice idea with the timer, I want to do the same thing in my coop for light.
  8. riskeyhatching
    I live in North Dakota and it can get -40 will this work here?
  9. garden peeps
  10. snowflake
    very nice, wonder if it would work with the water cups
  11. aart
    Thanks all.

    Amberjam, if the glass breaks and shorts the element the GFCI should shut it down.
  12. Amberjem
    you might want to use one of the non glass aquirium heaters in the water ..the glass can break and leave the heating element exposed to the water
      CityslickerHomestead likes this.
  13. woody1
    Now that's just.........NICE!
  14. ChickyChickens
  15. chickwhispers
    Great job! I'm going to try that with my bucket waterer. Thanks!

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