stopping water from freezing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mossy_oak23, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. mossy_oak23

    mossy_oak23 In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2009
    I am un able to get a heat source into my coop because it is way back in a field. How can i stop the water dish from freezing? I live in ontario and our winters can get pretty cold here. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    I have no electric to my coop either, and no way to do it safely until I rewire my elderly house. We frequently get below freezing at night, and in the past couple of years we have had several stretches of bitterly cold weather. What I do is keep 2 3-gal waterers going at a time. One is put into the coop filled with hot water (as hot as it gets) from the sink and the other one is removed and set in the sun for a few hours so it will melt enough to dump the ice block out. I find that except for the coldest days it will (if not I bring it in the house and set it in the shower until it does). Most days the water in my coop does not freeze since the birds keep the ambient temp above freezing. I've not had a problem putting the hot water in the coop- it doesn't take long for it to cool down and they've never dived into it when it was too hot to drink. I like to think of it as hot "tea" for the girls. If it does freeze overnight the waterers (heavy plastic ones) seem to be strong enough to handle it and I'm out there early enough that they're going to get water soon after they wake up. Since you're up north you might want to use more than 2 waterers for the rotation if you've got time enough or people enough to change them out mid-day.
  3. I just go out early those days where it's below 35F, which is the magic number here when waterers start to freeze, with a kettle of boiling water. I pour the boiling water ontop of the ice in the trough and sometimes over the whole waterer.

    If it's going to be SUPER cold, I just bring the waterers in for the night and take them back out in the a.m. early.

    This year I hope to get switched over to a reservoir and drinker system so I can heat the reservoir with an extension cord & bird bath heater or fish tank heater type system.
  4. mossy_oak23

    mossy_oak23 In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2009
    is there a way i can keep one waterer with thawed water? My coop is way back on the edge of a corn field and my house is a good ways away. Going up to melt the water is not an option. There are days at a time that I don't have a chance to go see my guys.
  5. Quote:If this were me, then I would be letting them free range, and would SHOW them that there is fresh unfrozen water near the house, and they'll just have to make it over that way to get fresh water.

    If you can't make it over there to defrost or bring fresh water, and you can't run an extension cord, the only other thing I can think of is a generator.

    Even if you used something like a heat pack, it would only last half a day at best.. you would still need to make it over there daily to tend to it all.

  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    Well it would be good to check on them each day, maybe in the spring move the coop closer to the house?

    In your circumstance I would look into a solar powered way to keep the water above freezing there most be something you can put on the roof that would run a water heater of sorts. Maybe Farmteck has something....
  7. Hollywood Chickens

    Hollywood Chickens Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Living in FL I have never had this problem, but maybe a small solar powered generator will work to plug a heating pad into
  8. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Songster

    Jun 17, 2009
    West Central WI
    I would think not checking birds for days at a time in freezing weather is more of a problem than just keeping the waterer thawed.

    I believe you will need to figure out a way to check them daily where they are, or move them to a place where you will be able to check them daily. Otherwise I think you are in for high mortality, lots of things can happen to chickens.

    Longest I've gone without checking is 2 days, anything longer than that and I have to get someone out to check on them while I am gone. Even then, it was non-freezing and the birds had multiple water and feed sources.

    The solar unit sounds most promising, but may be expensive.

    I know it can be difficult to keep chickens. Best Wishes finding equipment and procedures that work for you and your flock!
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:For just one day at a time, you can bring them a large insulated container of warm water in the morning and also shovel some snow into the coop for if they get thirsty later (this requires having lots of extra food available, as it will increase their food requirements if they eat snow).

    But for *days*? Not unless you want to spend a considerable amount of money on it, no. And in any case:

    My coop is way back on the edge of a corn field and my house is a good ways away. Going up to melt the water is not an option. There are days at a time that I don't have a chance to go see my guys.

    That is a recipe for disaster. While it is possible your chickens might make it through the winter, there is a pretty good chance of losing them to one thing or another if you cannot check on them daily. At the very least there is a good chance you will end up with an unfixable egg-eating problem.

    Surely there must be a way of getting out there *daily* to check on them, or alternatively knocking together something closer to the house where you can winter them over, or even finding a friend's farm where they can stay for the winter and be looked after daily?


  10. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I've heard that water freezes more slowly when it's in a rubber bowl -- I've seen them at the farm supply. Don't know first-hand as I don't use one. But I'm not convinced that you will find anything that can keep water thawed for a few days at a time without electricity. I am not sure that anything solar will put out enough power to thaw water. I know that even in mid-Fall when temps are pretty moderate here, my water begins freezing within 10 minutes.

    Don't know how many chickens you have. Is it possible to set them up with different housing for winter time? Or maybe move your coop closer to the house to make it easier to tend to them?

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