Winter is coming & I'm getting nervous - Would a bird bath heater work?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jimmywalt, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Winter is quickly approaching and this is our first year with "backyard chickens". Five to be exact, in our small 4'x4'x4' coop. We live in Michigan where it will get into the teens during the night and can even get into single digits.

    I'm worrying about how we will water our chickens. I came up with a "cookie tin" heater to sit a waterer on, but I'm worried about water and electric even with a GFCI breaker.

    I made a 5 gallon bucket with pvc pipe and nipples waterer this spring and I love it. I wish there was a way to keep it going all winter. Attached are some pictures of it. I'm "wondering" if it would be possible to keep it going by having a bird bath heater or an aquarium heater in it? But the heater would also have to keep the water in the short (about 24" long) PVC pipe from freezing too. Is there any possibility of this working? I'm on a VERY tight budget, so I could probably purchase the bird bath heater but that would be it.

    Any thoughts/suggestions??? Thank you!




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  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    In Michigan with your weather I just don't see how you could keep everything warm enough to keep the nipples and lines thawed. Electric tape might work on the pipes, but if it is cold enough that probably would not even be enough. You can't really enclose and insulate it all and even then you'd still have to heat it. We're in north central Ohio and pretty much use heated pet bowls or buckets anymore for the chickens.
     
  3. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the reply. I also made this "cookie tin water heater" that I saw on this website earlier in the year, but didn't use it since we haven't had a winter yet.

    Two things concern me about it - 1. Electric and water very unsafe, 2. I hate the standard red/white plastic waterer because it gets filled with poo so fast and is a PIA to keep clean.

    I need to come up with something before winter that's easy to use and safe.

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  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have tried lots of things... and I totally hear you with the cleaning and mess.

    But, I keep being stuck with using one of those thick flexible black rubber horse feeding pans (about 1.5 feet in diameter and not too deep, maybe 6 inches at the most).

    I loose electricity a LOT, and I have lots of wind, so stuff is perpetually freezing into a solid block.

    Those black plastic pans can be kicked free of the ground that they are frozen to with as much force as you are capable of exerting, and they still don't break. YEAH!

    Seriously. I have broken all other choices (metal waterer, plastic waterer, heated dog water bowl).

    Nope, I have to keep going back to that black plastic pan.

    I heat it with a stock tank deicer (get one that won't bust if the pan is empty of water, as well as one that won't burn the chickens and can sit right on the rubber and not melt it.) Those stock tank deicers can become frozen in the middle of a giant ice cube (if the power is out for a few hours) and still manage to thaw out the entire block when the power if back on. NONE of the many other heaters I have tried have the power to do that.

    Yes, it is messier....get a part of your run covered so that you can keep the water outside, and set it up so that you can gently pick up the pan without splashing out any water, dump it in a place where a mountain of ice is OK, then replace in run.
     
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    And that is why I am never moving to Alaska. Those black rubber pans are indestructible, I actually use them to put feeders in, have never tried them with water. With the water, had one of those electric red/white plastic waterers like the picture there, think it is actually the identical one, it froze here anyhow and we are not as cold as Michigan. The cookie tin heaters work well, but I agree the electric + water + barn + chicken/animal never seems like a good combination. Just can't figure out how to really avoid using electric. But the barn and outbuildings are wired and like I said, we pretty much just use heated pet bowls and buckets anymore, preferably outside, and if inside try to keep them on the concrete or at least up on concrete blocks. To clean them I go around with a 5 gal bucket and dump the old water in and scrub/rinse them there, as long as they are up on blocks etc they do stay pretty clean.
     
  6. Chicken Techie

    Chicken Techie Out Of The Brooder

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    see my write up....
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...site&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email
     

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