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Keeping drinking water from freezing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MotherHen9892, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. MotherHen9892

    MotherHen9892 New Egg

    Feb 28, 2017
    New Jersey
    Hello, I would appreciate any recommendations for how to keep fresh water from freezing in the coop. Our chickens will be out in the coop at night in a couple of weeks when their feathers come in and the temps warm up. We will supply heat as needed this spring when they are young but moving forward we will not be heating the coop.

    What is the best way to keep the girls' drinking water from freezing on cold nights and cold days next fall here in NJ? I see we can buy a heated water dispenser such as the K&H Mfg Thermo Poultry Heated Waterer but I was also told that a heated pad under the water is the best way to go.

    Please let me know what works best for your chickens and why or what you would recommend for us. We are new to having chickens in the backyard. Right now they are older chicks living in the basement!

    Thanks Everyone!!!
  2. ~KH~

    ~KH~ Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    Southern CA
    I used a bucket waterer with nipples and used this bucket heater inside during the winter:

    And this on the outlet to control when it would turn on:

    I thought it worked great - on some very cold days, the metal parts on the nipples would freeze (we had temps below zero), but I was very pleased with how little maintenance it required.
  3. MotherHen9892

    MotherHen9892 New Egg

    Feb 28, 2017
    New Jersey
    Thank you! Can they transition to a bucket waterer if I have been using a traditional waterer and tray?
  4. ~KH~

    ~KH~ Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    Southern CA
    I'm sure they can - I started mine as chicks and had to show them how the waterer worked, but they caught on quickly.
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    We keep our water in the run. During the cold weather months we set a galvanized waterer on a electric warmer.

  6. RPClark

    RPClark Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2016
    Southwest Iowa
    We keep ours in the coop, but we use the electric heated base under the metal watering can, too. The advantage to these units are that they are thermostatically controlled. They come on when the temp drops below 35 and shut off again when the temps warm up. Worked just fine during the cold snap when the temp got down to -11F. They should not be used with plastic watering units.
  7. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    I use a plastic heated waterer, comes on automatically when it gets below freezing. In addition, we glued two oil pan heaters (you can get them at an auto parts place if you live somewhere cold enough) to a curved piece of galvanized metal and put that around the back side of the waterer with the steel edge resting in the water. We use this when it gets too cold for the plastic waterer, 20 below and colder. It got down to about 45 below this winter and that seemed to do okay. Glad winter is almost over. Things should start melting in another couple weeks....
  8. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    Heated Dog Water bowls are perfect for this. They seem to be on sale this time of year, so shop now to save some money. Last week, Jeffers had them for $17 (normally $20). Worth every cent, even at $20. I elevate them to "back level" with cinder blocks or wood. Plug them in with the cord lifted high (to keep the electric out of any spills). This way I can scrub them with a brush and lift and dump into a bucket before refilling.

    The thing I don't like about nipple drinkers is that I can't see, at a glance, that there is water available. If the nipple freezes or runs dry, the birds could die if you don't notice in time. With the heated bowls, a glance will tell if they are dry or dirty.

    Other good places to look for the heated bowls is Amazon, Walmart.com and TSC. I have about 20 in service all winter and keep several spares in case one stops working (you will only know if the water is frozen, but check the electric first, before assuming the heater is broken).
  9. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is what we used too...it worked great. (In WV) before we hooked that up... I merely changed out waterers. This worked fine during the day under the covered run until it got so cold, I would have needed to change waterers every few hours. Then I hooked up the metal warmer and waterer. :) I also had water only in the run, chickens don't eat or drink at night, and I had zero frost bite on any of them. And though it was a mild winter for us there were some frigid times.

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