Keeping Water Thawed, woud this work?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Andrea101085, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. Andrea101085

    Andrea101085 New Egg

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    With our first freezing temp last night I'm looking for a way to keep my water un-frozen for my 2 girls. I have a 2 liter soda bottle and a Juice jug with nipple waterers in the bottom. Would one of these submersible fish tank heaters work to put into the bottle and keep the water from freezing? Or do any of you have any tips for how you keep yours thawed over the winter?
    Bonus question, are Road Island White hens fairly cold hardy? I live near Charlotte, NC so blizzard conditions are un-likely. Thanks for any help![​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    The best way I've found to keep water from freezing is to simply keep the entire coop (containing the waterer) from freezing. To do that, I have a small space heater inside the coop, protected from the birds by a wire and wooden cage. When temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing, I turn the heater on and set it to a certain thermostat. It successfully keeps my entire coop above freezing down to most negative degree temperatures.

    Of course, the downside of heating the entire coop is that it is somewhat expensive and that the heater takes up space. However, my coop is large enough to accommodate the heater, and the cost is acceptable. Not only does the water not freeze, but it also keeps the large combs of my Dutch bantam males from becoming frostbitten.

    I also have another, smaller coop which houses four cold-hardy hens. They have a nipple waterer outside of their coop in the run. Instead of heating the coop, I use a small submersible heater in the water, similar to the one you are asking about. The heater is not 100% effective--it keeps the nipples unfrozen until the temperature is about 5 degrees F or less. It works well enough for me, though. When the waterer freezes, I either replace it with another, non-frozen waterer or bring out dishes of warm water several times a day so they can drink.

    In answer to your other questions, yes, I believe Rhode Island Whites are relatively cold hardy. I don't have personal experience with Rhode Island Whites, but I do have experience with a Rhode Island Red hen. My Rhode Island Red has survived 3 winters of very cold temperatures with no problems, other than a tiny bit of frostbite on her comb. Rhode Islands have plenty of feathering, which keeps their bodies warm. The only possible problem is with large single combs. Rhode Island Whites are supposed to have rose combs, though many birds sold as Rhode Island Whites actually have single combs. If your Rhode Island Whites have rose combs, then there should be no problem with frostbite. If they have single combs, they will probably still be fine, but you may want to rub some Vaseline on their combs before cold nights to help them stay warm.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Don't you find keeping the whole coop above freezing to be very expensive? I put my Mediterranean roosters in one building and keep it above 20F but it's still murder on my electric bill.

    You're right about them being hardy. A friend here in MO has had RI Whites for many years.
    Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites are different breeds. RI Whites were developed from White Leghorns, White Wyandottes and Cochins.
     
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, it is rather expensive. However, since I show Dutch bantam males (which have large combs), I have no choice but to keep the coop warm enough to prevent frostbite. Frostbite can damage the comb enough to disqualify a show bird, and it is also harmful to the bird. If I didn't raise that particular breed, then I would not heat my coop. My other main breed (Wyandotte bantams) tolerate the cold well.

    At the very least, I try to keep the temperature in my coop above 20 degrees or so. When it dips much lower than that, my past experience is frostbite despite a well-ventilated, dry coop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I too find that 20 is the low limit. We, like others, had one of the worst winters of my life last year. Most of the roosters lost most of their combs but otherwise, fertility wasn't affected. They sure didn't look the same though. These are my birds' combs, but I don't show.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I found that frostbite hit hard not when it was -10 to 20F and 25-35% humidity but at 29F and 50-60% humidity.

    Bantam lover where are you located?
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Right. It's rarely under 60% humidity here regardless of temperature so that is a problem.
     
  9. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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