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Frozen waterer, no electricity in my coop...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LestersFlat, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    I have seen several topics on here about how chickens can handle the cold, and I do believe that to be the case, but I am wondering about keeping their water from freezing when my coop has no electricity? My husband and I are disagreeing on how best to handle the situation. (I am sure no one has ever had that problem before!) [​IMG]

    Do they need water at night after they are up on the roost? I want to bring the metal waterer in at night and leave it on our floor which has radiant heat. Then when the husband goes out first thing in the morning to open up the coop (they free range) he can carry it back out there with the warm water in it. The heat is only set to 68°, so it wouldn't be too warm for them.

    As it is right now, the waterer freezes up, and even if you add warm water on top (that's what the hub does) the part that allows the water to flow takes forever to thaw. I suppose I could put a bowl of water out there for the night, if they do need water at all times, and then just replace it with a warm waterer in the morning?

    I was really hoping that there was some sort of solar water heater, or even an insulated waterer, but they (including the hub) look at me like I'm nuts when I ask at the farm and garden stores if such a thing exists. How about a piece of black neoprene (like from an old wetsuit) with some insulation stuffed in there? Then I could put it out in the sun during the day...just thinking out loud here...

    Does anybody have a clever way of dealing with this problem?

  2. I'd keep it near the radiant heat at night. If its that cold outside, the birds certainly won't mind "lukewarm" water to drink.
  3. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Songster

    Once it is 'lights out!' and the chickens are roosting, they won't drink the water. They will want a drink once they're back up in the morning. If DH is out early, he can bring the water back to the coop then.

    I have e- in my coop. If I didn't I would try putting a warmed rock or brick into the water to keep it from freezing during the day.
  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I have three coops and I have one gallon waterers.

    I also have five gallon buckets with three nipples each. Now I intend to buy a couple of heating pads and wrap them around the five gallon buckets and see if this will work to keep them thawed. They are in the covered run. I keep no food nor water in the coops, except one. (there is not enough room for a five gallon bucket_.

    However what I usually do is fill gallon milk jugs with hot water in the morning and take three empty plastic gallon waterers to the coop each morning and fill them at the coop. I use a small wagon to cart them to the coop. Later in the day I can bring more water and exchange the frozen waterers for fresh ones.

    It took me about 15-20 mins to do all three this morning. The new hoop coop is outside the fence almost to the woods.

  5. annep

    annep Songster

    Mar 4, 2011
    Our coop is right next to the garage, so we just put the waterer in there at night. If it freezes, we just thaw it under hot water, refill and keep going...
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    My 'solar heated waterer' is a black rubber dish/bucket/pan placed in the run where it gets the most sunlight. Of course it still freezes. So each morning I knock the ice block that formed overnight (super easy with the flexible rubber) and refill them with fresh water. I won't be stringing electricity out there, it isn't worth it when it takes me no extra time to refill their water as I let them out to free range.
  7. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    I swap out the waterers every am. Not sure why I leave them in the coop overnight since I go out and close them up and dark...and of course they are all tucked in and roosting by then! But anyhoo, I have 2 coops and 4 waterers. I fill 2 in the am and bring in the frozen ones. I REALLY want to run electricity out to the coops next year! I already put that on the todo list for next spring/summer. That way I can have auto doors and heated waterers!

    oh side note, The Mpemba effect is the observation that warmer water sometimes freezes faster than colder water. Although the observation has been verified, there is no single scientific explanation for the effect.

  8. BlackBrookPoultry

    BlackBrookPoultry Crowing

    Jun 15, 2010
    Western Wisconsin
    I run a heavy duty extension cord out to my coop and use a heated dog dish in their run.
    Ketty Ash likes this.
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    I know you said "no juice", but why not? There is no easy way without electricity. The old time farmers had to get up early and haul water, not much fun, especially when is it subzero or snowing.

    Unless it is tooooo far, run an extension cord and you will be glad you did.

    If the coop is to far, can the coop be moved?
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  10. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    It would be about 500' to 600' of extension cords, and they would have to cross the driveway, that's the worst part. I am including a photo of the Yellow Shed that is our coop (behind them to the right) with the girls running free. This was an old milking shed that came with the property, and it used to have electric which ran from the trailer that was out front. When we tore down the trailer, we cut off the electricity out there. I am afraid if we tried to move the shed, it would self-destruct. As you can see, it already has a serious Tower of Pisa kinda lean to it!

    So you all think it is OK to bring in the waterer at night after they are roosting? And then replace it with fresh water every morning?

    I was just thinking with all the people who are trying to "go off the grid" that at least we could keep our chickens off the grid. I think they are hearty enough to get by with no heat, but I'm hoping that someone comes up with a non-electric solution to the frozen water problem.


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