I am so tired of hauling water in these sub zero temps! If you work full time what do you do?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by r4eboxer, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

    Sep 20, 2011
    I have two heaters for my 16 gallon water pans, it's not enough in this cold weather. It seems my chickens, in normal weather, will drink a lot of water one day and then not much for the next few. In this sub zero temps they are drinking a lot. My hose is of course frozen so the only way to fill up both 16 gallon water tubs is to carry milk jugs full of water. I tried getting my riding mower started last night with the cart on it and it was too cold. So I had to haul all that water by hand. I'm about done with this.

    I have 24 chickens, 7 turkeys, 7 geese and 4 ducks. The chickens are in a coop by themselves and everything else is in the pole barn that is across the stream, so I am hauling all this water over to the pasture.

    I don't think this is worth it!!! This is my second winter with poultry and it just seems like a money pit and a lot of extra created work.

    I thought about getting one of those LARGE plastic tubs at tractor supply. They hold 225 gallons of water but it is 499.00. I'd have to store it in my garage and then heat my garage, I'd also have to get a trailer to haul it over to my pasture. This would be so much easier but not really financially smart. So that is really too expensive for the amount of eggs I get from them.

    I work full time so after I get home I've got to tend to all of this water. Those of you who work full time, What do you do about water that is easy??? I know this deep freeze we are having is not the norm, and so far last winter ( which was very mild) and this winter up to this week I have handled it ok.

    I have thought about heated hoses but have never seen them advertised or on a site. I have a well, and it is in my basement. I thought maybe I could get a hose cart like this http://www.tractorsupply.com/jackson-swivel-hose-reel-400-ft-hose-capacity-1006216 and roll up the hose, disconnect it from the spigot and put it in my basement so it doesn't freeze. But then I'd have to lift it and carry it up 4 steps out of my basement, pull it across the stream to the pole barn, and then roll it up and take it to the coop, roll it back up...again, and then back down 4 steps to put it away. That is almost as much work as carrying 40 gallons of water in milk jugs.

    I cannot think of an affordable, easy way of watering in really cold weather. I thought that 16 gallons of water would last at least 4 or 5 days but it is not. When I went out last night to gather eggs the pans were dry. I had just filled them up.

    Ideas, anyone?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    The older I get, the smaller my winter flock. It's bitter cold up here, this far north. I enjoy hatching out the chicks in late winter and raising them in spring and summer. I enjoy the pullets coming into lay in late summer/early fall. I like knowing all the young cockerels provided good nutritious clean food for people. But winter....

    Come Thanksgiving, I pare down, way down, to just the essential breeding stock. 8-10 good females and one male. That's it. The big dog dish heater with a pail set in it works great, but still one has to carry water to top off the pails everyday. One has to gather the eggs before the freeze in sub zero weather and feed them every day. On rare days of unusually warmer weather, there's the coop to tidy up a bit.

    In dark, bitter cold days of winter, it is tough. Those who live in the far north understand. The less I need to do during the worst of winter the better. I no longer feel any urge to carry an extra large flock through. This is supposed to be enjoyable, and when it's not? Have the courage to change.
  3. mdbtalon

    mdbtalon In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2013
    Since you have power in your coop it sounds like a large water container out there with a heater is all you really need. Still would need to keep the hose warm inside and use it to fill it, but with a large container out there this would be very infrequently needed.

    I understand not wanting to pay $400-$500 for a 250g plastic tub, but would suggest that there are a lot cheaper options. If you live somewhat close to a urban area with a little effort you can usually find things like fish tanks or food grade barrels very cheap. I know in my area you can often find 120g fish tanks for $150-200. Or 55g fish tanks for $50-$100. Can also look for food grade 55g barrels that restaurants often sell cheap. Worst case you can buy food grade 55g barrels online for $50-$60 plus another $20-30 shipping. Add in a $20 aquarium heater from walmart to keep the water out there from freezing and you should be good.
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I use heated dog bowls. I've never had ice in them and we've been getting -15°F or lower this last week. I bet two of the large ones would be enough for your 24 chickens, and would only require two pails of water each day. I have mine sitting up on cinder blocks. They seem to keep the water just above freezing, so that it doesn't steam much. Not generating steam is important to me as I don't want extra humidity in the coop.
    I use the "Farm Innovators" 1.5 gallon size. I'd paid for itself a dozen times over in not having to chip ice out of waterers, for me. You can find them online for pretty economical prices.

    I generally take one full of fresh water and one empty; dump the dirty water into the empty one, pour fresh water in. That way I can dump the dirty water away from my coop (I don't want to make an ice skating rink for myself!).

    If your chickens are kept by themselves, as you mention, that might be an option for them.

    I don't know of a good solution for your ducks and geese. They are water hogs and I've found that they splash a lot of it too. If you offer them smaller containers, do they attempt to get into them?

    I'm not sure if this helps you or not!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  5. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

    Sep 20, 2011
    Thanks for the input,

    freds hens, I think you may be on to something. I think I'm going to downsize some of my hens and at least cut the goose and turkeys down by almost half. Just too much to feed and water in the winter.

    mdbtalon, your idea is something to consider. I run a heavy duty outdoor cord with an outlet to the coop. I don't actually have power there but I can at least plug in heaters. The larger capacity of a plastic drum would help to reduce the frequency at least. This cold snap has lasted a week here and a large 52 gallon barrel may be enough to water them until I can get my hose unfrozen enough to refill.

    nambroth, I've heard of the dog waterer but have not tried them. The geese and ducks are hogs. [​IMG] I know that if i could get fencing up I could take care of having to water them. I have a pond, a creek and a stream on the property. But I got tired of the free ranging and the poop all over my sidewalks etc. I need to fence in about 10 acres and just let them help themselves to the water.

    I guess I do have quite a few options. I definitely am going to downsize my flocks. I have some turkeys without breed mates that I can advertise, I've got some hens and a few roosters I'm going to let go and then I think I'll keep one gander and let the other two go.

  6. IAFarmGirl

    IAFarmGirl Chirping

    Oct 19, 2012
    South Central Iowa

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by