Liquid h2o in winter w/o electricity?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kris5902, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Songster

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    So, I guess I shouldn’t have been so proud of my nice warm island temperatures here in southern B.C. Yesterday a cold front hit. It dropped from +8 Celsius to -5 during the day with nasty winds. Nothing like what I know many are up against, so far no frostbite (knocking on wood!) and my tractors haven’t tried to fly away too awfully. My problem is water, or ice to be more exact!

    I’m using gallon bell waterers and they froze up quick while I was doing my cattle chores, and I was out most of the day with chores. Got back and when I went to put up the chickens it was solid, and they had basically not touched their feed! As it was already darkening and they were up on their roosts I put their feeders in with them and brought the water in overnight.

    I have no electricity. I’m boondocking in a summer trailer (also frozen solid!) and I can’t dig a hole and fill it with compost (no active compost). I don’t have reuseable hand warmers. Open to any ideas on keeping their water liquid...

    I’m now using deep square ziplock containers and running out every two hours to refresh it with boiled water. I thought about heating rocks in the oven and dropping them in, but I only have plastic containers and worry about melting them by mistake. Next winter there will be more permanent housing for everyone, myself included, and these cold temps aren’t our norm and will pass in a few days. So any thoughts on temporary fixes? Thanks!
  2. BYCforlife

    BYCforlife Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2017
    Alberta, Canada
    Yikes, that doesn't leave us with many options. You could make a simple insulated box with a little opening to keep the warmth in a little longer?
    Kris5902 likes this.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    In that temperature range, I am unable to keep water fluid for more than an hour or so. To get around it I forgo liquid water and make so they can consume solid water. Snow the can consume when free-range but density is low to make placing enough in waterer's I have practical. A higher density solid is crushed ice where particles are small enough to consume easily. When crushing, make certain air temperature low so ice pieces do not freeze together. Then the birds can peck through it at their leisure. The other option is involve soaked oats which owing to fermentation products keep water fluid a couple degrees below freezing. You are well below that even at 8 F. The soaked still provide a moistened mass the birds can peck at to consume moisture enough for maintenance.

    A very important consideration. The latter approach I use with birds in maintenance mode, not production (growth / egg production). The intent is to get birds birds through in good health to resume production when temperatures come back up. I do not push my birds that hard.
  4. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

    Oct 20, 2014
    -5 celcius is only 23+ F ...

    Try using warm water ... 40c.

    Put a few bricks in the oven at a low setting ... 80c ... put it under the waterer ... the old paper cup on the campfire trick ... won't hurt a thing.

    You could also give them warm wetted feed for breakfast, to get some food and moisture in them.
    Kris5902 likes this.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I missed the celcius part.
    Alaskan and Kris5902 like this.
  6. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio
    Snow cone makers work great for small bits of ice/snow like shreds. Ask some friends with kids and you might be able to borrow one.

    I agree with using wet/warm feed.

    Keep it (water or wet feed) out of the wind so you are contending only with the air temp.

    Good luck/stay warm.
    Kris5902 and Wee Farmer Sarah like this.
  7. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    The hole that you dig is not filled with compost if I remember right. It is filled with manure. If you are doing cattle chores you just might have some of that. Of course, digging the hole when the ground gets frozen is another issue. Maybe you could pile some manure around a water bowl for the chickens. That might keep it thawed for some extra time.
    Kris5902, Wee Farmer Sarah and R2elk like this.
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Wet/warm feed can be problematic at very low temperatures as in below 0 F. The ice become rock hard and particles too small to peck free.
    Kris5902 and Wee Farmer Sarah like this.
  9. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

    Apr 13, 2018
    s. central Missouri
    My Coop
    I experimented with bottles of salt water earlier this season.

    I just used some plastic bottles filled with a water and lots of salt... high enough concentration that it won’t fully dissolve... in other words: overkill

    Anyway I just put those bottles in the black rubber water pan so that they bob about, or rest on the bottom...The salt water doesn’t freeze and keeps a ring of unfrozen water around the bottles.

    Basically it just extended the time between freezing, so that I needed to take out water less often.

    I only did the for a week or two, as I had to be out of town for several days and ended up buying a heated water base.

    But I did notice that when our temps were down to about -18 c recently that the salt water bottles sitting in the feed room were still not frozen.

    So that might be something to try to get you through the cold spell until your island temps return, and your chickens are back to sipping margaritas and listening to jimmy buffet ;)
    Kris5902 and Wee Farmer Sarah like this.
  10. Totally agree. I've been giving them warm oatmeal on cold mornings, however, at minus temps the oatmeal freezes before they can eat it all.

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