Keeping water from freezing in -degree weather

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by neetabeamie, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. neetabeamie

    neetabeamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I have a 5 gallon bucket with nipples in the bottom with my chickens to drink out of. My question is how do I keep it from freezing in negative degree weather. I live in Idaho where the weather in the wintertime gets below -20.
    I've heard that heat tape placed around my bucket might work or a aquarium heater. Does anyone have experience with using heat tape?
     
  2. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Try putting a bird bath heater and circulating the water. <--- that's what I would like to do, haven't tested it yet

    Not sure on the tape tho.
     
  3. HumbleHen207

    HumbleHen207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Maine where -20 (or lower) is the norm in the height of winter, I have a large flock and have heated water successfully for many years. I use rubber bowls with a submersible heater (many are sold as bird bath heaters). Circulating the water is not necessary. I have found it to be the best solution as heating bases don't hold up or warm large amounts of water efficiently. I would steer away from the heating tape method.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  4. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    I kill two birds with one stone, Lol. Big plastic bowl with a heat lamp just above it. Use a regular flood lamp bulb, the more wattage the warmer. The light also keeps the hens laying all winter. I think I will use it on a timer this year to give the hens a short break.
     
  5. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    The big plastic or hard rubber bowl is easy to nock ice out of if you have to also.
     
  6. HumbleHen207

    HumbleHen207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I provide my hens with a fluorescent light during the winter, they don't really need the extra heat unless they aren't a cold tolerant breed. Heat lamps don't have a long life, and tend to jack up the electric bill. As long as you have well ventilated housing your birds should be fine without extra heat. The only reason I provide any light is to keep them laying.
     
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  7. neetabeamie

    neetabeamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Teton City Idaho
    This is my first winter with chickens. So I have no experience with this. do your birds venture outside a lot during the winter time?
     
  8. neetabeamie

    neetabeamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How large are your plastic containers? Do you keep them in the coop or outside? Do you think The birdbath heater would work for my 5 gallon water?
     
  9. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

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    A fluorescent light will not keep their water from freezing. A 150 watt bulb will use .60 cents a day, half that if I use a timer. A heated water dish is 60watt. I won't be using much more electric than a heated bowl, and keep the chickens laying, earning their keep as well.
     
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  10. HumbleHen207

    HumbleHen207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A 150 watt bulb wont keep water from freezing in the coldest of nights here. I just have no intent of keeping my birds warm with a 150 watt during the winter, and I have a fluorescent on them year round. I allow them access out doors, some venture out in the snow, some stay inside. If I am feeling really ambitious I will shovel them a small space in their run so they can get some fresh air. I dont let them out in snow or freezing rain however, if they get wet and freeze your stuck blow-drying a chicken in your bath tub... I use a rubber bowl about 6 inches deep, maybe a foot and a half in diameter. The bird bath heater works like a charm, its rare I ever have to knock ice out of it.
     

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