We decided that we wanted to try and continue using our existing water barrel system year round, so that meant that we would need to insulate it for winter! Here is how we accomplished it! We also had to modify some of the existing plumbing. You can find our original build here DIY Dual Purpose 55g Drum Chicken & Rabbit Watering System!, it was set up for both chickens and rabbits. For right now this is only going to be used to water the chickens, we are still working out what we are going to do for the rabbits water during the winter months, if we are able to tie it back into the main system for year round use I will update this article, of course we will reconnect the rabbit water to this when it is warm again! A lot of the materials used are left over from other projects. I will add links and/or descriptions & prices for the materials that we used for this project, some of the products we used are no longer available so I did my best to find something similar! We are using a submersible self regulating heat cable that can be inserted into the pipe and coiled into the barrel! It is rated to -40 degree's! The plug-in on this cable is lit when it is being powered! We plugged the cable into a Thermostatically controlled outlet...it comes on at 35 degrees F and shuts off at 45 degrees F. Our temps were at 27 degrees F this morning and the water was actually warm coming out of the water nipples, I would say this project has been very successful! If you have any questions, please ask away, I will try to answer them to the best of my ability! Thank you for looking at our build and I hope that this will benefit someone else!

Completed Heated Water System  12.03.2020.jpg


Supply List:
47" Field Fence - Price will vary depending on where you live! Ours was left over from our free range pen build.

PipeMate Self-Regulating Heating Cable for Pipe Freeze Protection, 120V, 5Watts/Ft. (30 Feet)
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KBS4NCK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1
$55.00

Thermo Cube - Thermostatically Controlled Outlet
https://www.homedepot.com/p/120-VAC...ically-Controlled-Double-Outlet-TC3/100210525
$9.97

48" wide Leftover Vinyl Covered Rolled insulation - I found a similar product at the following link!
https://www.lthsteelstructures.com/gymguard-w-batt-bulk-sqft?gclid=Cj0KCQiAtqL-BRC0ARIsAF4K3WHd5dGq4e2dNB1fcfN47rX_Pki6cp3iRM4Nxm1YH0KMMrm3L4LHJOMaAjc1EALw_wcB<span id="ms-outlook-android-cursor">!~OMSelectionMarkerEnd~
$1.56 per square foot

We used leftover rolled sill seal for the pipe insulation in a 9" width! I could only find it in a 7.5 in width for this article - hopefully this width will wrap around the 1-1/4" pipe!
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Dow-Sill-S...Roll-Insulation-7-5-in-W-x-50-ft-L/1000172805
$11.59

Stretch Wrap Industrial Strength Extra Thick 18" x1100 SqFt | 80 Gauge(20 Micron) Clear Cling Plastic - Used to better secure insulation in place, we also use this to secure our winter cover on our above ground pool! It did not take very much to wrap the barrel.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y1HSFVH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
$16.99

1-1/2 in. 90-Degree Bell-End Elbow
https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-1-2-in-90-Degree-Bell-End-Elbow-R5233827/202043343?NCNI-5
$3.65


2-5/8IN. Flat Bath Shoe Gasket - to use as an o-ring for attaching the pipe to the barrel.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/DANCO-Bath-Shoe-Gasket-88348/100182165
$2.78

Male Terminal Adapter 1 1/2" - The link shows 2", but the product says 1-1/2" which is what we used. We used electrical fittings because the nut portion on the male adapter is wider than regular pvc fittings and this will allow for a better seal!
https://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-Male-Terminal-Adapter-R5140108/202043381
$1.10

1-1/2 in. Rigid Conduit Locknut
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Halex-1...H=REC-_-plpsearch_multi-_-NA-_-100183877-_-N&
$1.42

Duct Tape for securing the 2" split pipe over the insulated water nipples.

Packing Tape to secure the plastic wrap around the barrel insulation.

2" pipe to place over the insulation on the water nipple bar.

Insulation for platform under the water barrel. We just used some foam cell packing material that we saved!

Things we would like to add to this build!
We need to build a lid to go over the top to keep moisture out...I will update the article when we accomplish this.

We would also like to tie the rabbits water back into this system. We will reconnect in the spring, but I'm not sure we will get it hooked up for the winter!

Lets get started!

We used field fence to wrap around the barrel and left it full height so that we could fit an insulated cover on top! The wire is tall enough to accommodate the 48" wide insulation that we had on hand!
Wire around water barrel.jpg


We then wrapped the barrel in insulation! We used leftover rolled insulation with a vinyl backing that we bought to insulate the duct work in our attic...25 years ago. It is 48" wide!
Insulation For Winterizing Chicken Water System.jpg


We then wrapped the insulation with the plastic wrap and taped it in place!
Barrel wrapped with Plastic.jpg


This shows the barrel in place with the new pipe, but not yet attached to the water bar. I am including a close up of where the pipe is attached to the barrel using the male adapter, conduit locknut and the shoe gasket! The locknut is attached to the male adapter on the inside of the barrel!
Barrel wrapped & in place.jpg


We will be using the drain shown to get the water for the rabbits...until we come up with something better!
Water System Pipe attached to barrel.jpg


We had hoped the flat shoe gasket would keep it from leaking, but it didn't so, we had to add silicone and that did the trick! The locknut is inside the barrel attached to the male adapter! As noted in the supply list, we used electrical fittings because the nut portion on the male adapter is wider than regular pvc fittings and this will allow for a better seal!
Heated Water System Silicone on Pipe Joint.jpg


Connected to the water nipple bar!
Connected to Water Nipple Bar.jpg



Water Bar Insulation Assembly!
First we cut the 2" pipe to fit between the water nipples to go over the insulation and the existing 1-1/4" pipe of the water bar. Then I cut the sill seal to the same length as the pipe! The length of pipe and insulation will depend on the distance between the water nipples...being sure to allow room to remove and replace nipples, I explain more about this below!
Insulation for between Water Nipples.jpg


Wrapping the pipe with the sill seal insulation!
Wrapping pipe with insulation.jpg


Insulation firmly taped in place!
Insulation taped in place.jpg


Sliding the 2" pipe over the 1-1/4" pipe and insulation!
2in Pipe over 1.25in pipe & insulation.jpg


We had to remove some of the water nipples to do each section...leave room so that you can screw them back into place! As you can see, it can be quite close!
Replacing the WN.jpg


Sorry for the blur on this one! We cut a piece of insulation wide enough to go between the pieces of 2" pipe and cut a hole in the center of each piece to leave an opening for the water nipples!
Cuttin Hole for WN insulation piece.jpg


Water Nipple insulation taped in place!
WN insulation taped in place.jpg


My husband cut 6" pieces of pipe and then removed about a 1" wide strip from each piece using his compound miter saw....sadly I did not get a picture of that process, but you can see the end product in the picture. We then cut out a 1-5/8" hole in the center top of each piece for the water nipples!
Drilling 1.5 in Hole in WN insulation holder.jpg


The piece is then snapped over the pipe and taped in place with duct tape! You don't want to glue these in place, as you will need to be able to replace the water nipples if they ever fail!
Snapping WN cover in place.jpg


This shows the duct tape and how we have the bar secured to the enclosed pen. You can also see the removable plug at the end of the pipe, we use this for draining!
Water System Nipple Cover Taped in Place.jpg


Inserting the Self-Regulating heat cable!
Self Regulation Heating Cable -40.jpg


Cable has been fished through! We used a vacuum to suck the string through and then tied that to the cable and pulled it through!
Heat Cable Fished Through Water Bar.jpg


Water System Insutlated Bar View 1.jpg


Water System Insulated Bar View 2.jpg


We pulled the plug end of the cable through an opening in the top of the barrel and a hole in the insulation to the outside of the barrel!
Lid with Cable through.jpg


We then plugged the cable into the thermostatically controlled outlet and extension cord! A note about extensions cords, it is best to use the shortest cord that you can! For now we placed it into a Ziploc bag, turned upside down to keep any moisture out! I would like a more permanent solution at some point, but I want to keep the plug visible so that I can see the light when it's powered on...for now the Ziploc works perfectly!
Thermostatically Controlled Outlet Connected 12.03.2020.jpg


Thermo Cube outlet!
Thermostatically Controlled Outlet  12.03.2020.jpg

Thermostatically Controlled Outlet Back Label 12.03.2020.jpg


Adding insulation to the top of the barrel, the platform and the pipe to the water nipple bar!
My husband traced around the lid and cut out two sections, which he stacked together and sealed into a garbage bag with spray glue! This worked amazingly well!
Cutting Lid Insulation.jpg


Two Layers of Insulation.jpg


Insulation Glued in place in garbage bags.jpg


Lid insulation in place! We will be building some sort of lid to go over the whole thing to keep any moisture out! I will update that when it happens!
Lid with Insulation.jpg


Down Pipe insulated! We completely wrapped it with duct tape, which you can see finished in the final picture!
Insulating Down Pipe  12.03.2020.jpg


Platform insulation!
Platform Insulation  12.03.2020.jpg


Finished and fully functional!!! Part of the quality control department making sure it passes! :)
Completed Heated Water System  12.03.2020.jpg


Once again...I will share a couple of pictures of the reason for all of this work! I love my flock!!! :love
23 Happy Chickens first time in new pen 7.11.2020.jpg
23 Happy Chickens bravely wandering in new pen 7.11.2020.jpg