Keeping water from freezing in Winter....


6 Years
Sep 10, 2013
South Central Wisconsin
I know there are a lot of threads on this, but I want to get your opinion specifically on heating waterers with nipples. Being a newbie to raising chickens, I want to get it right the first time (if that is even possible). I live in Wisconsin and winters can be mild or bitterly cold for days/weeks on end. My coop is going to be approximately 6x6 or 6x7 for 4-6 birds. I think through this winter we will only have 4 birds but hope to increase to 6 next year. Will their body warmth keep the coop warm enough to keep my water from freezing throughout the winter? My gut says, no. Especially when I open the coop to the run during the day.

So, I am looking at either buying or making a nipple waterer for our new birds - something like the EZ Miser. My husband is extremely handy, so making one would be pretty easy. It would be a plastic 2 gallon bucket. I would prefer to use the same waterer year-round, but don't know if that is possible. I don't have electricity at our coop, but I plan to run an extension cord during the winter to have a light in there and for heating water if necessary. I want to stay away from having a light on all the time and do not want to actually heat the coop.

Do you think that using a submersible fish tank heater is the way to go? Has anyone had any bad experiences with this? Do you have any issues with the nipples freezing?

If you have any ideas/suggestions for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Mine is on 24 hours a day. I am rarely above freezing after the 15 of Nov. so I can not shut it off. The water will get up into the 50's or 60's when it is not too cold but my chickens seem to like the warmer water in the winter. They seem to drink more when it is warmer.

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