cookie tin heater with nipples?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by curiositykt, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. curiositykt

    curiositykt Songster

    Apr 4, 2012
    Marlborough MA
    So I've tried a variety of water heating options in the past few winters, but I haven't been happy with any of them.

    Either it was too much work (lugging water out twice a day) or didn't work (aquarium heater in bucket with nipples) or used a lot of electricity (pond warmer in bucket with nipples. Plus all the bucket with nipples had the same issue, the heater was at the top, the nipples at the bottom, bottom inch would freeze. We even tried putting a heat lamp over the bucket to also add a little warm spot in the run for the chicken to bask under while also keeping the water slightly above freezing. (worked, unless it was really cold, but took a lot of electricity.

    Which brings me back to the cookie tin heaters that everyone is always raving about. What if I took a metal pail, attached a cookie tin heater to the bottom of it, and then drilled holes an inch above the bottom of the pail for the nipples? I could still hang it in the coop, and I could fill it without taking the whole apparatus down, and have the benefits of the nipples.

    I really haven't had much trouble with the nipples freezing if the water around them wasn't frozen, the chicken just peck a few times and break up the ice built up outside the waterer. Also on cold days I do this for them in the morning when I bring out warm oatmeal for them.

    Has anyone tried this? Does it work?

    I live in Mass, and it generally only gets below 10 degrees a few days out of the winter. We generally have highs around 30 and lows around 20, with periodic snow, sleet and ice.

    The run is covered, secure, and shielded from the wind on three sides (and four when there's a big storm coming) and uses the deep litter method for added warmth.

    Or alternatively, securing the cookie tin to the bottom of a metal trough waterer, and hanging it in the coop, high enough to avoid most of the chicken muck from being kicked into it...
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I haven't tried the cookie tin heater, so can't comment on those.

    Huh, not sure why the aquarium heater didn't work for you? You said it heated from the top (of the bucket?) and the bottom inch (of the bucket?) froze? Was it not a submersible heater that you could install in the bottom of the bucket? If not, I think that would solve your problem. We use a K&H stock tank deicer that has a removable float...we removed it so the heater rests on the bottom of the bucket. This works with horizontal nipples but not vertical nipples down to -9F (the coldest we've tested it so far). Iirc, I think it worked down to about 10F with the vertical nipples. We also used a 100w submersible aquarium heater and didn't have any more freezing in the vertical nipples, down to about -2F(the coldest it got after installing the aquarium heater).

    A couple ideas to reduce electric usage:

    -Install whatever heater you have into a Thermocube. I think it's on at 34 and off at 40F.
    -Wrap your bucket with insulation. We're trying Reflectix this winter (fairly tough aluminized bubble wrap). A thicker layer on the lid would be a good idea. If you use horizontal nipples, you could also insulate the bottom of the bucket.

    Also, note that a 1000w heater won't necessarily use more electricity than a 200w one. The 1000w will heat up your water much more quickly and shut off sooner, whereas the 200w one will need to heat for much longer for the water to reach the same temperature.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  3. curiositykt

    curiositykt Songster

    Apr 4, 2012
    Marlborough MA
    I think most of my problem with the aquarium heater was that it wasn't high enough wattage. The pond heater worked pretty well except when it was brutally cold. The issue with the bottom was that if it touched the bottom of the bucket, the bucket would melt, so I had to have it about an inch off the bottom, which was ok most of the time, but when it was really cold, the bottom also froze and it was just a little pocket of not ice surrounded by ice.

    I'm definitely going to get the insulation, that sounds awesome. I've been hesitant to put out cloth insulation or foam since they will peck at it, but bubble wrap seems easier to keep clean and safe.

    I do need to buy a thermocube. I decided not to last winter (with the pond heater, by which I mean birdbath de-icer) because the year before's aquarium heater disaster, I figured warmer was better.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm using a preset 50watt aquarium heater, submersible on the bottom of the vessel with HN's.
    Keeps the water at about 78F and has used about 1KWH per day at 25F and up.... so may use too much power in the log run, still need to add insulation.

    Before I added the heater the nipples froze inside at the valve and outside in the lip/spring area at 30F with a skim of ice on the surface of the water inside the vessel.

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