frozen waterers

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Anna Marie, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Anna Marie

    Anna Marie Just Hatched

    Jan 8, 2013
    Hi! I'm a newbee in chicken keeping and as you probably know we are having uncommonly cold temps here in New England. I use the metal watering cans and have no source of electricity to the coop. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to keep the water from freezing in the trough of the can? I check every 3 hours and there is already ice forming in the trough.
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I literally go in the coop every 3 hours or so with a tea kettle of boiling water and pour a little in the trough, this gets them defrosted water for the next 2 hours before it freezes again. I also just like to use plastic waterers in the winter, especially the big rubber bowls for my hens, as these you can pop the ice out of and refill with hot. Without electricity it does get tough. Good luck!

    Edited to say [​IMG]!!!!
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  3. chikenscratch

    chikenscratch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you run an extension cord out to the coop? That way you could plug in a heated waterer.
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] I've seen some suggestions for keeping the water liquid in winter and most were impractical and some downright funny. Basically all you can do without electricity is keep refilling their water. Sorry!
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, Anna Marie, and [​IMG]! Great to have you here! As sumi said, without power out to the coop, your options are quite limited. Hope you find some useful suggestions - best wishes and stay warm.
  6. mdbtalon

    mdbtalon Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2013
    Personally I have created a wooden box about 3x3 full of compost. The largest vent hole is in the middle which in cold weather I put the watering can on top of. My coop floor is about 2 foot off the ground anyway so this box really only sticks up about 1 ft above the floor. Since doing this I have no problem when temps are in the teens though a couple nights ago it got single digits and ice did form. Single digit temps are rare where I am though and usually only at night so no big deal.

    Some of the funny and "impractical" suggestions that others may deride can actually work quite well. If you have the time and ability to go out every 3 hours to refill water then this is probably overkill. If you are gone several hours during the day this takes a little work, but has solved my issue.
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Would love any photos you can get of this setup, since I'm having trouble picturing it. Sounds a lot better than what I'm doing...
  8. mdbtalon

    mdbtalon Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2013
    I will try to get some pictures this weekend of what it looks like in the coop (no electricity in the barn yet and not home during the daylight hours.... I hate winter!!!).

    The general idea though is the middle of a moderate sized compost pile 3-5 feet wide/high the center of the pile can reach 140 to 160 degrees in ideal situations. Obviously the air around it will not be anywhere near that in the winter. In my scenario I have roughly a 3x3x3 square box. Two feet of the height is below the chicken coop floor and I have insulation around the outside of the box (straw). On the top of the box in the coop I have a hole cut out. In the summer I place nothing on the top and the hole is extra ventilation. Starting this year I put the chicken watering can on top and it has made life tremendously easier. I cannot personally feel a heat difference putting my hand over the hole, but without question it is working since in the past it was constantly freezing when temps are in the teens/twenties. Only had it freeze once this year when I think it got down to around 8 degrees that night though.

    Can also google things like "compost heaters". Most of those results are going to deal with pumping water through the middle of compost piles to create hot water which is not really applicable in our case (if we had electric to power a water pump we might as well power a heat lamp or heated waterer). Anyway though there is lots of information about the fact that compost can generate incredible amounts of heat. I got the idea when reading about others with chickens putting their watering device on top of deep litter method and it generating enough heat to keep it from freezing. I do not use deep litter method and do not intend to though so I needed to come up with a different solution.
  9. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!!!! Glad you joined.
  10. chickenpooplady

    chickenpooplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    My Coop
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013

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