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How can I winterize this nipple waterer?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MedChicken, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. MedChicken

    MedChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 25, 2011
    Virginia (Zone 7)
    [​IMG]

    This is my current coop setup. It's not pretty, but it works for us. My waterer uses two saddle-style nipples in that segment of PVC pipe. We just moved to a new area with colder weather than our old area, and we just had our first big freeze (it was 15 degrees when I left for work) and the nipples popped right out of the pipe. I love this system otherwise - it catches the rain from the roof to fill the bucket, and the nipples reduce waste.

    Is there a way to "winterize" this setup? Would it work better with the red screw-in nipples? What if I wrapped the tubing in neoprene? There's no power anywhere near the coop - the closest outlet is about 100ft away on the side of my house.

    Or should I just retire this setup for the winter and do something completely different until it warms up again? I need something extremely low-maintenance.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2015
    To have any real hope you would need to try horizontal nipples in a decent quantity of water and supply some heat. Might go with two buckets with horizontal nipples and rotate them to the warmth of the house daily or twice a day depending on temp.

    A stock tank heater and horizontal nipples is working great for me sofar but first subzero snap is a few days away so we will see.

    Something small diameter like a pipe is going to freeze easily, the more mass you give it the longer it will take to freeze.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MedChicken

    MedChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 25, 2011
    Virginia (Zone 7)
    Thanks for the quick reply! I work 12 hour shifts six days a week, so I can't get out there to rotate things. Average lows here seem to be high 20s with highs in the 40s and an occasional cold snap (like the last few days) but never sub-zero. Maybe a 5-gal bucket with horizontal nipples? I could run an extension cord out there, too, I guess...
     
  4. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not trying to self promote here, but read this article for some ideas.

    Hope it helps.

    Forever Water Heater one that lasts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  5. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am asking an honest question please don't take it as critical.

    What benefit does this offer vs. a $25 stock tank heater that has it's own thermostat submerged in the bucket with the nipples?

    I don't know the lifespan of a stock tank heater but lightbulbs are cheaper to replace and will be more obvious to see if they fail.

    Medchicken with infrequent brief dips below freeze the mass of a bucket with horizontal nipples would help you a LOT, if below freeze lasts any amount of time though heat is going to be necessary, either by you adding warm water if it is not much below freeze of by some appliance with a thermostat.


    http://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/api-bucket-utility-de-icer/0000000084936

    I have two of these one for silkies and one for the layers and I have this shopping mistake as a backup.
    http://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/farm-innovators-3-gal-heated-plastic-poultry-fountain/0000000069031 way too messy and too much chance of birds spilling or getting wet, kept it as backup only.
     
  6. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a phobia putting anything electrical in water. Bad childhood memory, please don't ask I won't go there ...

    The stock tank heater listed uses 5 times the electricity than a 50W bulb.
    If used for 3 months straight, 50W will cost me today ~$9 for the season, 250W $45 for the season...

    Many options as to heat source (bulb wattage) for moderate or extreme cold.

    Should the bulb burn out, replacement is simple and readily available.

    Heated base insures even displacement of heat beneath the entire water source. This is a major consideration.
    Laws of thermodynamics, no need to circulate the water for even heating.
     
  7. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The heater made for submersion sinks to the bottom of the tank so it will create the circulation and it is thermostatically controlled and in contact with the water you want to keep from freezing. Rational thought suggests that since it is water temp dependent and not air temp it will use LESS energy at the end of the year rather than the more you assume based on the peak wattage.

    I am sorry you had a bad experience with water and electricity and I understand that swaying your comfort level with some things so your solution is best for you.
     
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no experience with tank heaters. Assuming the tank heater's thermostat turns the heat off at water temperature just above freezing more or less, I would concede, you would be correct on the energy usage point... I can't believe I missed that ...,

    and am I absolutely irrationally biased, primarily based on personal experiences... no doubt. [​IMG]
     
  9. MedChicken

    MedChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 25, 2011
    Virginia (Zone 7)
    Maybe a bucket hanging in the run with horizontal nipples? I might need to add gutters to the upper level of the coop to allow the new system to collect the water from the coop roof like the old system did.

    I put out a black livestock pan today and it stayed liquid (it was a bit warmer today), but of course by the end of the day the remaining water was really gross. I would love to go back to a system that won't end up full of poop and bedding.
     
  10. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mom got hit by lightning through the plumbing as a teenager, I know what you mean about fearing something you know doesn't need to be feared so much.
    Black bucket with horizontal nipples? If allowing a rain refill I would keep the feed hole small as to not let all the heat accumulated in the sun dissipate. Then maybe just supplement with warm water on the coldest days.
     

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