Winter watering with no electricity

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by evam, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. evam

    evam New Egg

    Oct 17, 2012
    I need to find a creative way to keep the chicken water thawed over the winter. The chicken yard and coop/run are more than 200 feet from the nearest source of electricity, so in my opinion an extension cord is not an option. They roam freely in a fenced area during the day with water dishes in the yard and they are cooped at night (and occasionally during they day when they aren't let out for one reason or another) with a standard plastic waterer.
    Has anyone found a good way to keep water thawed without electricity? Are there solar products to keep the water liquid? Do the black rubbery livestock pans absorb enough sun-warmth to stay liquid? Have you come up with a clever trick?
  2. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Northwest Illinois
    I don't know but this is what I have in my head untested.
    Build a green house that is 2x2 or 2x3 or 3x3 whatever suits your needs I would think smaller is better less time to heat and longer it will hold heat. Make it on top of straw bails. Only build it 2 feet high not including bails.
    4 bales of straw make a box out of the bales fill box with cow or horse manure ( I would use horse manure) lay a piece of wood, Plexiglas, glass, tin big enough square to cover manure overlapping bails a little. build a green House on top of that a few 2 x 2s 1 sheet of green house material ( you know corrugated looks like card board but plastic and clear get it at Menard's) ok that piece is pricey you could also use Plexiglas but green house material is better generates more heat.
    Cut 8 foot sheet of green house material into 8 / 2 x 2 foot pieces 4 walls 2 for peaked roof 2 for front and back of roof. Greenhouse makes heat decomposing manure creates heat water pan sett in the middle no freeze. open door on one end facing south. Say a 10 inch wide by 12 inches tall door. Hey set something in front of door to block the wind you know about 18 inch's to 2 feet away. Wow thanks for making me think I'm going to put 1 attached to my coop but still outside.
    Never thought about a non electric heater before.
    Hope it helped.
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    You can get a heavy duty outdoor extension cord. They have lengths up to 200'. I have a 100' one I used before I ran wiring out to my shed. They are pricey though.
  4. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    We use the 'turtle power' method. Eventually we'll have power put underground that will
    go to the chicken 'area' but this winter we will be using the heavy duty ( orange ) outdoor
    safe cords as he described.

    You don't say what part of the country you live in or how many chickens you have and how
    they are housed.

    I am in North GA and it gets down to 10 degrees here sometimes. This year they are in a
    new coop/run but last year we used the outdoor heavy duty cord method and a temperature
    activated plug in that you can get at any hardware or Lowe's type store and it will only come
    on if it is 38 degrees wherever it is. We plug the cord into this temp activated plug then plug
    in a 60 watt bulb ( we use the covered type like is used on construction sites so the birds
    can't fly into the bulb and injure themselves ) and we place this directly over the waterer and
    for us it keeps the water liquid.

    Yes, the industrial type power cords are pricey but look at the investment we have in our

    Also, depends on how chickens are housed and how many there are in coop area as they
    do put off lots of 'body heat' and ventilation is extremely important in winter as well as summer
    so amonia and too much moisture dosen't build but in coop as well -can cause many diseases and problems.

    Kind of like a 'balancing act' - keep them warm enough - water liquid vs. ice - no drafts but great 'ventilation', etc.

    Each situation is different but you will find info here and be able to manage it.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  5. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Northwest Illinois
    someone said to watch for methane gas with this so I decided to put pipes coming out of straw bails to vent it. Even if we leave the manure out altogether its still a good idea the water in our green house thaws during the day.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  6. meburges

    meburges Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2009
    Hi - have been trying to address this issue quite some time. Would love to hear of anything you come up with (but probably not the 200' extension cords [​IMG] or constructing additional buildings which would likely take care of the freezing anyway ! ). Thanks ! Margaret
  7. hrhta812

    hrhta812 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2009
    Lebanon, IN
    We just keep a couple of empty water containers on hand and take warm water out to them twice a day. [​IMG]
  8. Quyen Le

    Quyen Le Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2012
    Solar panel is another way but it's pricey too.
  9. Farmer kev

    Farmer kev New Egg

    Aug 3, 2012
    I change water 6 times a day... Nevada winters are cold and right now we have snow... So 5 gallon waterer get 2gallons warm water 6 times a day plus set on straw to keep off the frozen ground. Good luck.
  10. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    I heat the kettle up on the stove till boiling, then fill their bowl up with snow and hot water, the snow makes the water drinkable. I do this two times a day. I also throw the kitchen scraps into a bowl and fill with hot water before I toss in the run, this way the scraps are hot and wet, my girls also seem to enjoy eating snow.

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