Freezing Nipple Drinkers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Neil Grassbaugh, May 23, 2010.

  1. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    The question of how nipple drinkers function when subjected to freezing temperatures has often been asked. Since freezing temperatures are not a part of the efficient poultry industry no manufacturer of nipple drinkers or commercial operation has undertaken research into this matter.

    So I have done some informal experimentation myself.

    I installed five push-in type nipples in the bottom of a 2.5 gallon plastic pail, filled it with tap water (12" deep) and froze it solid in a deep freezer that seemed to average around -3 degrees F. I left the bucket with nipples and water in the freezer for about 36 hours. I then removed the whole deal from the freezer and allowed the water to thaw at room temperature (took about eight hours) and stand another day or more and observed no nipple damage, leakage of loss of function.

    This procedure was replicated three times refreezing the same nipples over and over. No loss of function or damage was observed at any time.

    After the third and last thawing I conducted what is known as the Lott Test. That is the method used to determine the water outflow of nipples in the field. I found no significant variance in the outflow of the nipples expressed as optimum by the manufacturer.

    It might be concluded from this informal experiment that freezing does not damage the push-in type nipples many here are familiar with. The minor differences between the push-in type nipple and the threaded nipple lead me to believe that the same result could be expected if similar tests were conducted with the threaded variation.

    I believe that the most likely damage to occur from freezing a nipple drinker system would occur in the PVC piping.
  2. AccioSarah

    AccioSarah Songster

    Apr 21, 2010
    San Juan, Puerto Rico
    Thank you so much!! I believe you posted on my topic where I asked this very question... so thank you for taking your time to test this out!
    I have just received my nipple waterers that I ordered today, and will be installing it tomorrow!

    LVVCHAP Chirping

    Jun 24, 2008
    Thanks Neil,
    I wondered that myself. Never thought of using the freezer for an experiment. Good to know that thawing will be the only thing necessary when they freeze up.
  4. BJnMe

    BJnMe In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2010
    West Michigan
    Great info Neil, I have an idea to keep the pvc nipple system working through the winter, but it is still a work in progress. Here in West MI it was in the teens for over a month, I have to over come this to keep a pvc pipe nipple drinker system year round.

    Thanks again for providing a great price and great info.

  5. jmagill

    jmagill Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Western Wyoming
    Well, I have first hand in the field knowledge.

    I have the metal screw in type. I usually have a small aquarium heater in the bucket but
    this year we are still getting below freezing weather and the bucket has has a few freezing
    mornings. The freeze an thaw cycle does not hurt the metal nipples but it effect the plastic.

    I used a heavy duty plastic bucket so the cycle of freeze and thaw does less damage
    but I could see thinner wall plastic starting to leak after fewer freeze cycles.
  6. JMPE

    JMPE Songster

    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    I have two screw in red nipples in the bottom of a heavy duty two gallon bucket. During this past winter I place a bird bath heater in the bucket (it is a flat disk that rests nicely between the nipples). Had had no freezing problems. It was fabulous!
  7. BankerJohn

    BankerJohn Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Lecanto, Florida
    free bump because this question has been asked a LOT. Thanks Neil G.
  8. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Songster 8 Years

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    This is great to know Neil! I was wondering what would happen come winter. Just got my order today and will post about it tonight :)
  9. Prodigal son

    Prodigal son In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2010
    High Plains
    Great info. Thanks for taking time to conduct the experiment and post your findings. I'll state what many of you here already know: Neil is The Man! I ordered a doz. push-in nipples Thurs. afternoon, noonish, and had them Saturday. Service just does not get better than that!
  10. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Songster

    Sep 1, 2008

    Tis the season and a lot of people are asking questions this might help with.

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