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Birdbath Heater for Winter Watering - No Aluminum?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by HoopyFrood, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2016
    Maine, USA
    I just came across what I thought sounded like a great idea for keeping a waterer from freezing in cold climates in unheated coops while using the kind of waterer I want to use: a hanging 5-gallon bucket with nipples in the bottom. The solution is placing a submersible birdbath heater in the bucket. They are more robust than aquarium heaters.

    I'd love to do this but in trying to find well-reputed bird bath heaters they seem to be either floating, plastic heaters (which is not ideal for a bottom-draining 5-gallon bucket) or made from aluminum. Aluminum is bad for chickens as it is for many animals. I wouldn't want to drink water warmed with an aluminum heater, so I'm not going to subject my chickens to that...

    Has anyone found a good submersible water heater that is not made from aluminum yet is still reasonably affordable? Thanks so much!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    To get a heater to work on a 5 gallon container and avoiding aluminum can be challenging. There are other options. Some you can make yourself as others have. You do need to convert to horizontal nipples.
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    [​IMG] Wishing you best.. [​IMG]
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    The vertical bottom nipples tend to freeze up even with a heater inside the container. that is the reason why peeps opt for horizontal ones at least during winter.
     
  4. Janice123456

    Janice123456 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2015
    brockton mass
    On amazon K and H ultimate 250 watt pail heater without floater.The past two years with my chickens in an unheated coop and I only have to change my water about my about every two weeks also keep a cover and it keeps the dirt from getting in.I live in Massachusetts and even on the coldest nights keeps water from freezing. Must use horizontal nipples on the side. They won't freeze. The bottom nipples leak and wet your chickens and coop. Wet chickens cause frozen crops and waddles. I've had none of this using side nipples.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    I am using this unit, except I found mine at the local feed store, which back in November was about 2X this price:

    https://www.amazon.com/Allied-Precision-300-200-Watt-Icer/dp/B0006HRQMC

    I placed it in a bucket with both horizontal nipples and a cup style waterer. The cups would freeze solid and stop working somewhere around 25F. The horizontal nipples were still working at -5F.

    The difference between a bird bath heater and an aquarium heater is the temps they are set to run. Bird bath heaters cut out at temps much above 40F. Aquarium heaters run much higher than that, so maintain as much as a 60 to 80 degree temp difference.
     
  6. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2016
    Maine, USA
    Thank you everyone for the replies and advice! That is great stuff. I'll definitely use the horizontal nipples. I think the K&H is probably what I'll go for on my first try.

    Just for the record I got the idea from a short article Frank Hyman wrote for Hobby Farms/Chickens magazine:
    http://www.hobbyfarms.com/a-foolproof-way-to-keep-your-chicken-waterer-from-freezing/

    I e-mailed Frank if he had a suggestion for a non-aluminum heater and he quickly replied (what a nice guy!) that this is the one he is using:
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produ...d=PLA_G_6198&gclid=CI71-MT5kNICFcOCswodF7oMbQ

    50W is probably more what I need than 200+W, but given the price I think I'll give the K&H a try.

    Thank you all, good luck with your water this winter, too!
     

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