Our Chicken Dream Come True!

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,597
143,509
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
we had considered an aquarium heater plugged into a solar panel power source
That's what I use and it works very well, but I would not run it off solar unless I had a robust system that would never run out of power(adequate collector and storage).
Might be a good time to add an outdoor outlet.....or get 2 identical waterers that you can swap out at needed intervals. That's what I did the first winter, kept one inside near the furnace to thaw and one outside in the coop.

Being in New England
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Dreammaker

Chirping
Mar 21, 2021
53
117
91
Massachusetts
Thanks for sharing your set up! The aquarium heater idea seems great. Agreed, solar might be tricky. We will have to think this through. We could swap out water buckets, but it's not ideal. Thinking about aquariums again... I once read about putting ping pong balls in waterers. The thought being that a slight breeze will keep the water moving just enough to not freeze in place. I wonder if a simple solar-powered pump/fountain head in the bucket (with the panel outside the bucket and in the sun, obviously) would achieve the same thing and not rely as heavily on solar energy as a heater. 🤷‍♀️ I also discovered Bucket Coolers (basically 5-gallon koozies) on Amazon and considered whether they'd help extend the time I get out of a water bucket before it freezes and needs swapping out. Kind of a silly idea, but I enjoy the learning and problem-solving aspect of this. 😁
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,597
143,509
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I once read about putting ping pong balls in waterers. The thought being that a slight breeze will keep the water moving just enough to not freeze in place. I wonder if a simple solar-powered pump/fountain head in the bucket (with the panel outside the bucket and in the sun, obviously) would achieve the same thing and not rely as heavily on solar energy as a heater.
Floating balls.....not really apropos for a chicken waterer, you'd need an open dish for the wind to have an affect.
Pump might work, would depend on the waterer, again it would need to be an open container.
Horizontal nipples won't stay free to operate, without heat, much below freezing.
 

Dreammaker

Chirping
Mar 21, 2021
53
117
91
Massachusetts
Your coop is stunning. You two have some skills!!
How do you clean it? Do you have a cleanout door?
Thank you so much! The two big windows propped open are actually inset into larger doors that open like French doors, basically. Below that is a rectangular hatch held up with two barrel bolts inside on either end. For turning over and topping up litter, we open the two doors and keep the hatch up. The hatch is tall enough that even with deep litter, it holds it all in. Once or twice a year when we do a major clean out, we will open the doors and hatch which essentially makes that whole side wide open for bringing over our wheelbarrow, raking out the litter, and deep-cleaning. We got the idea from Carolina Coops.😉
 

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NorthwoodsChick

Songster
May 16, 2021
195
584
146
UP Michigan
Thank you so much! The two big windows propped open are actually inset into larger doors that open like French doors, basically. Below that is a rectangular hatch held up with two barrel bolts inside on either end. For turning over and topping up litter, we open the two doors and keep the hatch up. The hatch is tall enough that even with deep litter, it holds it all in. Once or twice a year when we do a major clean out, we will open the doors and hatch which essentially makes that whole side wide open for bringing over our wheelbarrow, raking out the litter, and deep-cleaning. We got the idea from Carolina Coops.😉
Oh, I see that now...clever! :thumbsup
 

Dreammaker

Chirping
Mar 21, 2021
53
117
91
Massachusetts
That coop is stunning! We did a Carolina Coops style too, but ours is a bit slap-dash. Yours is every bit as classy as the real ones, maybe even more! You should put this in the coop contest.
Love your mixed flock - did you get them all together?
Oh, thank you so much! Maybe I will! 😊 Yes, we got them from a farm not too far from us. She raises a variety of breeds, including some very fancy ones, and we fell in love with these particular ones. It was a great find!
 

Dreammaker

Chirping
Mar 21, 2021
53
117
91
Massachusetts
Thank you all for your kind words. I am ELATED to announce that this afternoon, we got our very first egg! I am happy beyond words. After a long, rather blue day, this was the ray of sunshine I needed. We found it this evening around 6:30; the nesting boxes were last checked around noon. Didn't hear an egg song at all today (I'm out there 3-5 times a day with our kids). Of course, like any other first-timers, we promptly brought it inside for a glamour shoot. :p

Who do you think gets credit? They're all 18-20 weeks, the following being the most mature-looking:
ISA Brown
Swedish Flower Hen (our guess)
Light Brahma (I doubt this, based on what I've read about them taking longer)

Here's the thing: none have squatted for me and none have bright red combs (Swedish Flower is the closest).

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