It's cold out, and I need to adjust to bird #s & problems


Hunted by Moonlight
12 Years
Feb 1, 2011
Lake Huron,MI
Well, I live in Michigan, and its soo cold out even though there is barely any snow on the ground. I'm not frequenting the coop as often because of the unpleasant temperature, and I have found my 9 chickens & 3 ducks out of water 50% of the time I visit the coop.

I use ONE heated dog dish for ALL of my poultry, so you can probably guess that I'd be out.
The heated dog dish also evaporates the water, so its not the best to use, but it keeps the water a liquid, and I don't have the money to buy a real heated CHICKEN waterer.
When I get home from school, I usually run to the house to get gloves and a hat, but even at my young age, (not specified) my memory isn't all that good, & I usually forget to go back out.
When I realize it, its usually near bedtime.
I can say for sure that this does NOT happen in the warmer months, because I'm usually doing something outside.
I usually just sit outside and stalk my chickens in the summertime, but Michigan winter isn't light, or warm, so I don't like to go outside at all during it, but I do.
I never said it was too hard, just unpleasant.

Note: I will NOT get rid of them, they are my responsibility, and i just need IDEAS to adjust to the # of birds and the colder weather.

If you have any tips on how to make this less unpleasant, I would love for you to leave some.

Tips so far:
1. Fill plastic milk jugs with hot tap water and take one or two with me when I go out. This has an added bonus of warming my hands.
2. Keep the ducks out of the water...under experimentation. ~Thanks for that info

3. Set alarms & go to bed earlier.. wake up earlier.. in progress.
4. Get a snowsuit.
5. Get a metal/ heated waterer
6. Try to put sign on doors... if parents allow...
7. Make the above into a habit... in progress

Tips for later:
1. Hide future car keys in the coop...

Pics of the CURRENT flock

The LAST flock
notice there's only 2...
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What makes filling the water so time consuming? Maybe we can help you think of a way to make it easier.

I fill plastic milk jugs with hot tap water and take one or two with me when I go out. This has an added bonus of warming my hands.

If they're running completely out of water, then you need to provide more containers, or a larger one. Even if it does freeze eventually, it will be liquid and drinkable for a while until that happens, especially if you start with warm water.

The time consuming part is the multiple trips it takes to fill it up.

Its not pleasant outside.
I think that that water jug idea is the best thing i've heard in a long time.
I'll make sure to try that.
I have bigger containers but they freeze quickly and don't thaw out.
They aren't heated.
I explained that I don't have the money for a heated chicken waterer. (which would have stopped the evaporation problem....)
Thank you.
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It really looks like to me that you already have the answers. You've just said so.

Get up ten minutes early to make sure they have water. (Ten minutes should do it and it really won't hurt you

Make sure you check on them as soon as you get home. Force yourself to go out and take water with you.

Remember, these guys are your responsibility. Enlist other members of your household--not to help you take care of them--but to help YOU remember to!! Set alarm clocks or alarms on your cell phone if you have to!

Animal husbandry always seems fun and easy when you're just getting started, then the new wears off and the weather changes. That's when it becomes work.

If you don't water them properly, they will die. You have three options:

1. Water them properly--at the expense of your sleep, spare time, and comfort.
2. Get rid of your stock so you don't have to be bothered.
3. Let them die a slow and painful death. (Not nice)

I don't mean to be harsh, but you're not dealing with anything that the rest of us don't. You CAN DO IT!!!
I also saw on here where someone takes those old used ice cream pails, and sets those in the dog waterer and just changes those out.

I really think they need water at the minimum every morning. If not, you could lose birds and they will definitely not be able to lay eggs if conserving water for normal body function.

It may not be fun, and is not convenient, and i may be sounding old and like I'm harping, but if fresh water is that big of deal really a very big deal, maybe keeping livestock is not for you. Good luck.
I second this...I go out in -29* temps to tend to my chickens...cattle, horses and rabbits. It is NO fun...5 layers of clothes, in biting wind and sub zero temps. It is all part of raising animals. They cannot tend all comes with responsibility. Its hard work when it is not perfect weather outside is it? I bottle fed 9 calves in a blizzard, because they NEEDED me...sort of how children need their parents to take care of them. Something not to dive into too lightly!

You can do it...just remember why you got them in the first place...they need you. Carry a couple of those warm water jugs with you each time you go, winter is half strong!
**if you have a cell phone, set an alarm...get up a few minutes early (go bed a few minutes the winter it won't kill you) or put a sticky note on your fridge...WATER don't forget the most important things do you, like friends phone numbers or a date? Make this a priority.
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It sounds to me like you want to want to bring water out more frequently, but you find it hard to do so. (yes, I did mean to say want to want to). If that's true, just for one day bring them some fresh water in the morning. As has been said, use a milk jug. Bring the jug back inside. At the end of the day, fill up your milk jug and leave it inside. Repeat. It's sometimes easier to look at things like this as a once per day activity, instead of an all-winter long activity. At least, that's what works for me. Good luck!
The secret to getting up earlier is to go to bed earlier. It takes time to change habits, but it can be done.

You have taken on a responsibility in owning animals. If you can't handle that responsibility, get rid of them and try again when you mature some.

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