Feeling frustrated- need some advice.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by clairabean, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    This is my third winter with chickens. Each year I get some new tricks to help me manage. This year I am at the point of retiring my coop. I am so frustrated. [​IMG]

    Here is the rundown. ANY advice or any words are helpful at this point.

    DLM for 9 chickens.
    No running water. I pack out 4 litre jugs of water daily and fill up their waterer. It is only -10*C lately, but it will get colder in the new year. Past winters I have been giving them water three times a day, as it freezes. I have medium arthritis in my fingers, which make me kind of clumsy in cold. I spilled a 4 litre jug AND the waterer in the shavings yesterday. I turned it up the best I could, but half the coop floor is frozen solid this morning. A giant mess. No electricity, so I run an extension cord out in winter with a light. No heat. I can get a heated waterer... maybe. Making a heated cookie tin is a fire hazard waiting to happen in my coop.

    Any ideas on what I can do to save this giant mess of frozen shavings? Can I dry it out or do I leave it? Do I scoop out all the shavings and start fresh?

    I am feeling not able to deal with this with my limited mobility. Frsutrated, and angry at myself for making this water mistake.
    Any ideas? [​IMG]
     
  2. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    575
    8
    131
    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    if i were in that situation, i would just buy a heated waterer. they're more expensive than the lightbulb-cookie-tin but they're safer (or at least you're not worrying about the bulb burning out) and you don't have to construct anything, so in this case i think it'd be worth the money. or if you don't mind a bit of construction, you could make a bucket waterer with nipples, and throw a water heater in the bucket. the nice thing about bucket waterers is that you don't have to flip them upsidedown when they're full of water. you can just pour new water in from the top. as for the frozen shavings, if it were me i'd just pile new straw/shavings on top of them and leave them be, like you would for the deep litter method. wait until a natural thaw, then scoop those shavings someplace else and wait for them to either decompose (compost) or dry out to be reused. [​IMG]
     
  3. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,532
    49
    166
    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    x2. why dont you try the avianaquamiser.com diy bucket waterer? It would be easy and you could just use a bucket water heater.
    Quote:
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,060
    3,111
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    a small rubber feed/water bowl with a birdbath heater in it is what I use.
    Make sure you have good ventilation and the shavings will eventually dry out. The ground outside is wet and cold, when they're on the roost it won't matter.
     
  5. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    We were discussing this on another thread recently. Could you put a warm rock or brick in the waterer to keep the water warm overnight if no e- is available?

    Linn Bee, Wisconsin
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,060
    3,111
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The warm brick is a good idea but I'd use it in the morning. The chickens won't drink at night. They're roosting and won't come down in the dark.
     
  7. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

    6,676
    65
    273
    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
  8. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The cookie tin heater is fully enclosed and isn't a fire risk. The risk might be that the light burns out inside the enclosed tin, you don't know about it, and then the water freezes. But if you don't like that option, then I would simply buy a heated Dog water bowl. You can put water right in the bowl, or you can fill it with sand, and then put your water fount on top of it- it should keep it below freezing. Of course, they do have the really expensive water heaters that have an element under the dish to set your water on top of. But I've read that they only last one season-- maybe two before breaking. I'd buy the heated dog bowl if you don't want to make a cookie tin heater. There really are so many options! But I would make it as easy on you as possible. I would NEVER mess with filling up water serveral times a day. I have a stock tank for my horses- and i use a submersible heater AND a floating heater to make my life easier. I also have a water float so it fills it up as soon as they drink. Even in the winter- I just use heat tape. I suppose, you could even wrap heat tape around the top of your fount? It would be hooked up, but should still lift off easily to refill, and then heat tape is very safe, too. But if you wrap the water fount in heat tape, you really need to wrap something else over it to help insulate it to keep the heat IN.
     
  9. laseterlass

    laseterlass Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,195
    42
    178
    May 13, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    A lady here in Alaska uses an oilpan heater between stepping stones with a metal pan on top.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by