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Water/warmth in the chicken coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ZoeStevens, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. ZoeStevens

    ZoeStevens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    I have 13 hens and a rooster in my coop. The building itself is about 10 x 15, a nicely built, insulted shed. The coop itself is the back part, about 5 x 10, and is blocked off from the rest of the shed with a mesh/2x4 wall. The only parts that are not draft proof are the window in the coop area (there are two other windows which are covered in plastic) and the chicken door which opens automatically when it is light out. I have not worried about these because I want them to get some fresh air.

    This is my first winter with them and I was surprised to see the water freezing when it's a mild -8C (18F) outside at night (around freezing during the day, or a little above freezing). I had thought that their body heat would keep the water from freezing until it gets really cold (-25 or so without the windchill during the worst of winter). On weekends I can easily swap out water containers a few times a day but when I am at work, or if I leave for a night, I am worried that they will suffer dehydration even if I put hot water in there because it will surely freeze in a few hours.

    I have a few possible solutions and I am hoping you can help:

    The first, easiest and cheapest way I can think of would be to put insulation on the mesh wall that separates the coop from the rest of the shed, so that their body heat only needs to eat the 10 x 5 area instead of the 10 x 15 area. I could leave uncovered half of the door for air flow and so I can see inside. Or not. I don't know if this would be enough but if it would at least keep the water unfrozen for most of the winter that would be ok - I could always utilize a heat pack or two on the super cold days to keep the water thawed a little longer.

    The second way would be electrical. There is a light in the coop (on the ceiling of the pain part of the shed, not inside the coop part), but not an outlet, so I can't plug anything in. If there were a simple way to split the power cord that goes to the light, I could get one of those electric water heaters or make one of those lightbulbs-in-a-cookie-tin-under-the-water-dish things.

    The last way would be to purchase some kind of solar panel and battery and plug a water heater into that. But that's really expensive and I'd rather not if another way would work.

    I am open to other ideas! Help! :)

    Zoe
     
  2. midwest

    midwest Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 30, 2012
    Missouri
  3. midwest

    midwest Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 30, 2012
    Missouri
  4. ZoeStevens

    ZoeStevens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Clever!! The only thing I just realised though is that the light to the coop also turns on the spotlight on the back of the coop (outside of the coop)... ick... I don't really want to have all of those things turned on all the time. So I guess that idea is nixed.
     
  5. Twister-n-Dos

    Twister-n-Dos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have electricity to the building already, it should be a simple job for an electrician to wire a receptacle.
     
  6. ZoeStevens

    ZoeStevens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Step 1, find an electrician that will work for eggs... :)
     
  7. Twister-n-Dos

    Twister-n-Dos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2012
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    For fresh eggs, shouldn't be hard.
     
  8. Twister-n-Dos

    Twister-n-Dos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2012
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  9. CAChicken

    CAChicken New Egg

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    Jun 8, 2012
    Actually, if you take a look at the Witchita Coop in small coops I think, he has a pretty good idea for keeping the water warmed up so that it doesn't freeze. May be a solution for you.
     

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