water during winter


May 25, 2016
Upstate N.Y.
hi everyone
want to pick your brains
i have always used the steel gravity waterers and in winter it sits on a big heated base.. BUT, mine have rusted.. bought new one, rusted again.. meaning i have to change out the water daily.. for outside, i changed water out constantly since i didn't have another heated base..

this year, i am trying something new.. plastic heated dog water bowls.. put one in the coop and one in the run/outside enclosure.. today in 25 degree temps they stayed thawed.. tonight will be a good test, it's already 12 degrees here..

what are your thoughts tho on using this open water design? sure, i may have to scoop off a few shavings and changing it will be much easier..


Jan 22, 2018
I had a heated dog bowl last year and it worked great, however, it was too big and they could walk through it. So...I’m trying to figure out a way to create a solid middle (if that makes sense). I have a cool whip container filled with rocks in there now, but it’s not tall enough. Maybe 2 cool whip containers? I guess it depends what size bow you have. Anyways, I’ve also found it needs to be raised off the ground a bit or it becomes full of stuff quickly. I think 2-12” paving stones stacked will work perfectly. I also have 2 buckets with horizontal nipples, it just seems some prefer getting a big drink. Gotta watch the combs & wattles, too. I don’t want them getting wet & freezing. Long story short, I’ve got a work in progress here, and I’d love ideas!


Mar 11, 2018
So far this is working ok. I do come home at lunch to make sure it's still working everyday and to vlean if out. . I watched the rooster and he was keeping the waddles out of it. It is on 3 12x12 paving stones. I also put a heated water bottle in the coop and they are using that too.



Jul 3, 2018
Washington State
We have heated dog bowls. This is the first winter with chickens so hopefully this works. I have a meatal waterer as well but those heated bases for them are so expensive and honestly my chickens don’t mind drinking out of a bowl. I will just keep an eye on our cockerel and make sure he doesn’t get any permanent damage.

They did get a small layer of ice one morning when it was really cold but haven’t yet again and they are outside in the runs. If it becomes a problem then I might get my husband to help me build an insulated box for the water dish to sit in. I fill them each morning with fresh water anyway so dumping the ice isn’t that big of a deal if it happens occasionally.


Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
We bought horizontal nipples and screwed them onto the bottom couple of inches of a 5 gallon bucket. We cut out a cord access port into the top of the bucket and added the lid. We first tried a bucket de-icer, but neither worked- lots of ice on the first night/mornings of 20-25F. So, we bought a bucket heater that gets submerged in the water and sits on the bottom of the bucket close to the nipples. It is working great.

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 18, 2018
North Central Iowa
I have used a smaller heated dog bowl with one of the one-quart plastic, two-piece chicken waterers wedged inside. It works okay until it gets really, really cold -- then the water in the upright part of the waterer sometimes freezes here in frigid northern Iowa.

In the meantime, I use an array of electric (PRICEY) chicken waterers -- which replaced my rusted tin DIY bases -- inside the coops, black rubber dishes that I can stomp the ice out of repeatedly during the day (because nothing stops a goose determined to undermine my best plans) and a large heated dog dish for the ducks. However, the free-range Orp and Faverolles like to stop by the duck area for warm drinks, and there haven't been any adverse effects on anyone.


May 25, 2016
Upstate N.Y.
thanks everyone who's chimed in.. see, i never thought of their wattles dipping into the water.. my dog bowl is raised up perhaps 5 inches.. i know a lot of people don't even put water in the their coops, but my birds look for it, as soon as they go in, they grab a drink and eat a little before bed.. also, it's 16 degrees out right now, i'm not rushing to let them out of the coop.. it's small, but that means it's warmer..

i have my old gravity waterer [albeit rusty] and heated base as a back up..

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