Keeping nipple watering systems from freezing?


Feb 26, 2015
East Tennessee
I am about to switch (today) from a traditional galvanized metal watering container for my flock of 7 backyard chickens to a hanging (vertical) nipple watering system. I believe that this new system will be superior in every way. Unfortunately I do not have electric power running out to my coop or run. Thus, with my previous galvanized metal waterer, when the weather turns cold I have to go out to the coop each day and refill my waterer with hot water. I would like to find a way to keep my new nipple waterer from freezing in the water without having to refill the waterer multiple times daily. Does anyone know of a battery powered (since I don’t have power running out to the coop) submersible water device that I can leave in the nipple waterer watering device in order to keep it from freezing? I can’t find one anywhere. Thank you!


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
I have a vertical nipple water system. I use Igloo water coolers with the Bright Tap vertical nipple reservoirs. To see what it looks like, click on this.

At the time I bought the Bright Taps, which simply screw into the spigot hole on an Igloo, the company said they were working on a way to keep the nipples from freezing. That was five years ago. They never did come up with it.

The problem with vertical nipples on any system is that they retain a drop of water on the nipple which freezes easily, even if you manage to keep the water inside above freezing. At first I just took a shallow dish of hot water out to the run and held it up to the nipples until they thawed. Then winter really set in with single digit temps. The entire Bright Tap froze solid.

Since the problem wasn't with the water inside the Igloos freezing, water heater blankets kept them cozy, I had to think of a way to heat the Bright Taps. I decided on 9" x 9" miniature heating pads with a single heat setting I got cheaply at Walmart. They work to keep the nipples from freezing down to zero F and below. I tie them to the Igloo and they drape over the nipples.

I recommend you just cave in and string some long outdoor extension cords to your run. I used to do that years ago before a good friend kindly ran an overhead electric line from my house to the run. The extension cords worked just fine and were never a hazard. I simply rolled them up come spring, trotted them back out next winter.


5 Years
Jan 24, 2016
I can't imagine an easy way to keep the nipples from freezing up without electricity. But I'm not familiar with your weather in your part of TN. I'm in Indiana and the horizontal nipples freeze up very quickly.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Does anyone know of a battery powered (since I don’t have power running out to the coop) submersible water device that I can leave in the nipple waterer watering device in order to keep it from freezing?
Only if you have a great solar power system with adequate battery storage.
What "nipple waterer watering device" are you using? Pics would help.


Jun 29, 2017
Middle Tennessee
I use the vertical nipple system... However I have not used it yet in the winter (btw, I am in TN and our winters are relatively mild but do get cold enough to freeze shallow water especially in the evenings. I read that the nipples freeze inside because water sits inside of them. So, I recently bought horizontal nipples. Which get inserted in the side towards the bottom of an Igloo/Coleman. What I read, is that because they are horizontal, water does not sit in the nipple, therefore, they do not freeze.... I will find out this winter how true that is.

This is what the horizontal nipples and inserts look like. It was $10.00 for the set of 5 on Amazon. There are actually 5 nipples in the set, I only pulled out 4 when I took the pic.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom