Waterer Ideas Please for My First Winter with Chickens in Idaho

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by yardn_gardn, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. yardn_gardn

    yardn_gardn In the Brooder

    Okay, actually this is my first winter ever with chickens anywhere. As a retirement gift, I was given a double walled fount type waterer, and it has worked well throughout the summer. Someone else gave me a base water heater for it. The price has sure been right so far! I'll use it for awhile, but I have my doubts on how long it will last because I'm going to put it outside on a concrete pad in the chicken run. Coop floor space is too precious, and I hate the idea of water spilling and getting the coop wet. It gets cold here in the central Idaho mountains. Ten or Twenty below is not that uncommon for a week or so with a couple of feet of snow on the ground for several months. I need your suggestions for a waterer that can withstand the elements this winter. I do have electricity to the open run for my eight spoiled chickens. Thank you in advance for all your help.
  2. yardn_gardn

    yardn_gardn In the Brooder

    Thank you PirateGirl and thank you aart. The insulated bucket, aquarium heater and horizontal nipples looks like something that should work for me.
    trumpeting_angel likes this.
  3. blackdog043

    blackdog043 Crowing

    Feb 19, 2017
    Charlotte, NC
  4. snick4zoo

    snick4zoo In the Brooder

    Apr 26, 2015
    Southeastern WI
    I use heated dog bowls because I have ducks and chickens together. They work well in WI.
  5. yardn_gardn

    yardn_gardn In the Brooder

    Thank you blackdog for the clear directions and great pictures too. I’ll use your idea about the grommets but might try some left over pond liner I have to act as a dirt barrier around the cord.
    Thank you snick4zoo for the heated dog bowl idea. I have one and will use it if I need it. It certainly would be easy to see if it is working or not.
    blackdog043 likes this.
  6. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Crowing

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    I use a system nearly like blackdog043. Only difference is that I use a semi clear plastic tote with lid to hold the water. I live in NW Montana. Has kept the water thawed for as cold as it gets here for 4 years now. That means at -22F the birds have water. If you only have a dozen birds the tote is large enough so that it only needs filled once a week.
    yardn_gardn and blackdog043 like this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You'll want to get your birds using the horizontal nipples soon.
    It can take anywhere from a couple hours to a couple weeks for them to really 'get it'.
    Nipple training not good to do when temps are extreme.
    yardn_gardn and blackdog043 like this.
  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If you put the waterer that you have in a run corner, and have that corner, both sides, blocked with clear plastic or fiberglass or old windows, etc, it should work fine all winter.

    The clear material will block wind and give it some solar heat. Also, the girls will be more comfortable drinking from it if they are out of the wind.

    Also, if your coop is small, you want to make sure the run in inviting so the chickens don't stay in the coop all of the time and start to eat each other.

    You want the run to be snow free and wind free. Having 2 or 3 run walls covered with plastic sheets, fiberglass panels, whatever, is a large help.

    As to your specific waterer. . Again... if you block wind from it, it should be fine all winter... BUT...
    1. if it freezes you can't bang on it or try to force it open, because that will pop welds and bust it. Bring it inside and let it thaw.
    2. With the bigger ones the bottom might stay liquid since that is on the heater, but a tall top part can then get too cold and freeze so that no more water is feeding into the trough. A wind block will help. An insulated blanket thing to dress it in might help but make sure it can't be eaten by chickens. But... if you have a smaller/shorter version that shouldn't be that big of an issue.

    I ended up busting a couple... my kids do chores... and forced frozen metal waterers open....

    Anyway, we now use black rubber pans. Placed up against a wind break they stay thawed maybe until the teens without any heat.

    When we need to keep them thawed we use a small stock tank deicer that does not make the water hot, just keeps it thawed, and is safe on rubber and safe to run dry. So less electricity.
    yardn_gardn and ConnieA like this.

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