Natural Feed - Heated Waterer?!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Nicchick326, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Nicchick326

    Nicchick326 New Egg

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    Jan 4, 2017
    Ohio
    Good afternoon!

    I have posted in a separate topic regarding the start of our chick journey (set to arrive beginning of April!), but do have some feed/waterer questions for this forum!

    We are hoping to feed our chick(en)s more natural/organic products & after some research, I keep repeatedly seeing MannaPro, Hiland Naturals, & Kalmbach brands. Does anyone have experience with these, and do you like, or dislike, them? If you know of others, please feel free to share!

    We live in Ohio, and while we face quite warm/humid summers, we also face bitter cold winters on occasion. While 2017 winter is far off, what would you recommend for waterer? Are galvanized the most secure/durable? I worry about them aiding in the freeze come winter due to their material, would we be best to use a separate heated water source in winter?

    I see a LOT of DIY ideas for both feeders & waterers, so if anyone has sure-fire types they've constructed that they truly love, please feel free to share, as my husband would really prefer to find quality ways to do this himself!

    Thank you for your help!!
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  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    For water in the winter I use black rubber bowls. If I get a relatively thin skin of ice on top I break it out with a stick (be careful of splinters, use something smooth). If it freezes too much to break the top out, beat it against the ground or turn it over to stomp it to get the ice out. Since the bowl is rubber it will not break.

    If you set it in sunlight it will stay thawed in pretty low temperatures because of solar heat. I’ve had them stay thawed in the upper teens. The sun doesn’t shine at night or every day, so it does not work 24/7, but I’m home most days so I can check on it.

    I don’t heat the water but there are a lot of ingenious people that do. Hopefully some of them will respond and give you options.

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    I set mine up on bricks to stop them from scratching trash in it and put a large rock to keep them from turning it over when they perch on it. Or you can hang something over it to stop them perching on it. This photo is from several years back before I learned to stop them from turning it over.

    It was 4 degrees F above zero when I took this photo. I opened the pop door and let then decide what they wanted to do. Since the wind was not blowing, they chose to go outside.

    In summer I use white bowls set in the shade to try to keep the water cooler.
     
  3. juddripley

    juddripley New Egg

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    I want to share my solution for frost free, no electricity drinking water for my chickens. I searched high and low for ever to try to find a solution online, and the following is an amalgam of different ideas that has so far worked perfectly for me, and has cost exactly zero dollars. This idea could be scaled up somewhat I think, to suit a bigger flock, but there would be limitations with regard to materials, weight etc. i am in a relatively cold area, (Denmark-Scandinavia) with daytime temps of around 20 degrees farenheit ( minus 6 celcius) dropping to around 10degress f, but rarely lower in my area. i don't know how effective this would be at lower temps, but it has so far proved to be very effective, with very little input. i wanted something portable, ( to follow my chicken tractor around with my five chickens) electricity free, and automatic, in the sense that i wanted the water supply to the chickens to be constant, clean and unfrozen. essentially it is just an insulated automatic gravity fed waterer, made from an old polystyrene cooler i had laying around, with a couple of plastic jugs, and some minor modification, in all, about 30 minutes work. a couple of things to consider:
    (1) the waterer needs to be on a level surface, i have mine sitting on top of a piece of concrete, off the ground.
    (2) the drinking access hole needs to be small enough to restrict temperature transfer, but big enough that the chickens feel safe to insert their heads. mine needed to be 3 inches in diameter before my chickens would put their heads in it to drink. ( i experimented) i have isa browns and Icelandic chickens. This could vary for different breeds, i don't know. # IMPORTANT! chickens eat Styrofoam, so the drinking access hole needs to be sealed, i used a piece of plastic pipe inserted into the hole i cut with a holesaw.
    (3) the outlet hole in the water supply jug needed to be 3/8 of an inch to allow water/ air transfer to be effective.
    (4) the height of the drinking access hole needs to be considered, depending on the animal, but also considering the outlet hole in the jug for the water to pour out. after experimenting, i put the outlet hole on the TOP of the jug, near the handle, for convenience in refilling and carrying. i insert the jug upside down in the cooler when i want to start the waterer working. this way i can carry the jug, before and after filling, using the handle for convenience.
    (5) to calculate exactly where the outlet hole in the water jug needs to be, you need to measure the level of the LOWEST point of the drinking access hole, and make sure that your outlet hole in your water jug is BELOW that height! otherwise your automatic waterer will pour out the drinking access hole until it is empty.
    (6) one jug inside the cooler is just for thermal mass, it is filled and sealed with ordinary water, i have used hot water inside this jug when temps are particularly frosty out, with very good results, otherwise, its not necessary, you can bring the cooler inside a heated dwelling overnight, to keep temperature up.
    (7) make sure there is enough free space and water surface for the chicken to insert its head and drink comfortably ( see my awesome diagram!)
    ([​IMG] placement of unit. i have mine outside the portable coop, on a brick, surrounded by bales of hay, with old windows on top, allowing the sun to provide some additional heating to the unit. my chickens also enjoy the space under the windows during the day as its out of the wind and it is warmer under the glass. all of these things combined have made this waterer as easy as i would have hoped! i tend to my chickens every day, but i have had occasion when i haven't been able to, and the waterer has functioned perfectly, without frost, even when outside water is frozen. i usually top up the water every day, but depending on many factors, the water supply can last many days without any input from me. i have been very pleasantly surprised on many occasions when i thought i would be in trouble with frozen water. a high quality, heavily insulated cooler would be a plus, as mine is very thin and cheap, as would having it black / painted black to absorb solar heat.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Didn’t I say there were some ingenious people on here? Excellent post.

    Judd, where in Denmark, if you don’t mind me asking. I spent two winters outside Copenhagen in Herlev many decades ago. I remember one winter we had a spell of maybe two weeks where the daily high as 33F (1C) and the low was 31 F (-1C). Just enough to melt snow and ice then have it freeze on the roads.
     
  5. juddripley

    juddripley New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    hi! funny you say herlev, i am not too far from there! im at a place called Ruds-Vedby, but pretty much the same area of the country. so random to run into folks who have been here, such a small part of the world! winter has only just arrived here, we had a cold snap back in late november/ early december where it got down to -7, but then its been hovering between 0-10 degrees until last night, back down to -6 overnight. im happy to say that the chicken waterer performed perfectly! been waiting for a chance to post something about it, but wanted to make sure it was going to perform before i shared the idea.
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I use a 5-gallon bucket with poultry nipples and in the winter, I add a 250w bucket deicer. This requires electricity to the coop but it's effective, inexpensive, and a constant source of clean water without constant attention. It takes minutes to build one. My cost: $30 heater, $5 food-safe bucket & lid, $2 nipples, ~$7 hardware to securely hang the whole works. Helpful hint, the bucket handle attachment points wear out so I hang it with chain instead. A circle of chain below the wider part of the bucket and then enough chain to reach the ceiling hook and back. Lifespan unknown but I've been using mine 6 years so far. I still tend daily but I just poke the bucket to verify it sloshes and move on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  7. Nicchick326

    Nicchick326 New Egg

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    Ohio
    Wow, these were some incredibly helpful & information answers. I really appreciate those of you that took the time to share pictures too, visuals help & give me ideas also. Thanks so much for the wonderful input! It does get rather cold here in Ohio sometimes, not uncommon for it to dip into the negatives, especially when you factor in our wind chills at times. I will have easy access to electricity, but I'm loving the ideas of ways to possible avoid using it 24/7!
     
  8. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    middle TN
    That's the beauty of a heater like the one I use. It only heats the water when necessary to keep it barely above freezing. If you insulate the container, that's going to be not much at all.

    I looked at the heaters for the galvanized founts (because that's what my folks use) and wow, they take up a ton of floor space! 18" in diameter. And then they perch on the edge and poop all over it because the fount is smaller and the heater is warm... So, I switched her chickens to a bucket like mine because they live too far away for me to visit daily to tend their hens. Their short Thanksgiving trip turned into 2 months (and counting) away so it saved me a ton of headaches.
     
  9. Sacrilege

    Sacrilege New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    Hey peeps --
    I'm a first-year chicken owner here, and I live in Chicago. Weather sucks for sure, and is usually cloudy, so no chance for solar heat on a reliable basis.

    Heated waterers are a small fortune at $30-$45 for 2 gallon. I looked into making my own and pieces would still cost me $30-ish. But then I figured out a ridiculously easy hack.

    I just use my regular 5-gallon waterers and threw a submersible fish tank heater -- $9.99 -- in there. Done and done.
     
  10. Well dang! Why didn't I ever think of using one of our fish tank water heaters... Just started with chickens a month or two ago now that I am back in the states and have the time with out constantly moving to have chickens. I'm in northern lower peninsula Michigan and its been a rough winter on them so far. Definitely going into town today since all I have is a rubber container I been watering my chickens with. Yes, I am constantly going out to their coop to change the water to ensure its not frozen. Had one Polish rooster I almost lost last night due to I believe dehydration. Its was outside the coop in the weather just laying next to water source and eyes were stuck shut for about 8 hours. This morning one eye is now open and he is eating and drinking on his own. Thankfully. Definitely using your idea!. Thank you.
     

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