Low-Tech Winter Waterers -- Insulated and otherwise

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Poppy Putentake, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Poppy Putentake

    Poppy Putentake Chirping

    Aug 5, 2015
    Here is how to make the simple waterers I have been using for my small (5 birds) flock of chickens through Vermont winters. No electricity needed!


    For insulated waterers, I start with two plastic containers like these. One will fit inside the other. The inner one originally held about 11 oz. of coffee grouunds, the outer one came from the specialty cheese counter at a local food store, where it held 3 lbs. mozzarella. (I have also used a 1 quart plastic peanut butter jar as the inner container.) The outer container needs to be slightly bigger in all dimensions thn the inner one and to have a snap-on l(or screw-on) lid.

    Circular Hole.jpg

    First step is to cut a circular hole in the bottom of the outer container. A hole saw works best for this. (Running the drill in reverse makes a smoother cut in plastic.) A 3.5" diameter hole fits the narrow section at the top of the coffee container just snugly enough.

    Adding Styrofoam.jpg

    Next, push the inner (coffee) container through the hole from the inside of the outer container. It should snap into place. Then, add insulation. Styrofoam "peanuts" packed tiightly work well. If you want to be fancy, you can finish with a circular piece of styrofoam board (of the right thickness) cut to a circle the size of the outer container. Finally, snap the lid on the outer container, turn it over, fill the inner container with water, and you are done.

    Because all the weight is in the middle, these containers really resist tipping, and they will keep water unfrozen all day in temperatures in the 20s, but not quite as long if it is colder than that. I usually empty them out in the evening so they won't freeze solid if it is going to be cold.

    MIlk Jug Waterer.jpg

    A simpler kind of waterer can be cut from a plastic milk jug in a couple of minutes. These are especially good for giving the chickens a drink in the evening just before they roost. If the water freezes overnight, it is easy to just break it out in the morning and refill.

    Note the insulated waterer in the background.

    Hope this is helpful!
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019

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