Winterizing Nipple Waterers? UPDATE Really? No One Knows?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by spoggy, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

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    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Hi Everyone!

    I've done a lot of searching of the archives and haven't found a definative answer. I've got a couple of questions, but I'm going to start with a couple of assumptions. I live in Northern Ohio, and water freezes here in the winter. Waterers will freeze solid. If I'm running a resevoir/pvc pipe system, it will freeze solid as well if unheated. I want to run a continuous loop system that will leave the resevoir, supply water inside the coop then supply water to the run and return to the resevoir. By using a small pump, I can circulate water through the system continuously.

    1) Circulating water will not freeze (generally). If I do this, will the nipples freeze anyway?

    2) If I put a heater in the resevoir and circulate the water, will the nipples freeze?

    3) I've seen posts the recommend using heat tape on the pvc pipes. Will the pipes take the heat and will the chickens peck the tape and fry themselves? Will this keep the nipples from freezing?

    4) Should I forget nipple waterers in the winter and use a "standard" waterer?

    5) Is there anyone here with some real world, working knowledge of this?

    Thanks for the help!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  2. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Oregon
    I too am interested in the answer.

    Spoggy, I have a couple of questions that might help people give you a more accurate answer. How many feet of PVC are we talking about, and how big is the pvc? Also, what are the lowest temperatures you experience there?
     
  3. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

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    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Quote:I would say we're not talking more than 10-15 feet total for the loop, 3/4" diameter pvc. I live in growing zone 5a, so that's between -15 to -20 degrees F. In my experience, those temperatures are VERY rare. The coldest winter nights average +10 degrees or so, and that is for a very short time.
     
  4. robk0220

    robk0220 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2010
    Wapwallopen, PA.
    I just finished our nipple waterer system. If you want to call it finished. The system feeds from our house supply to the coop where we have a reservoir. From there it feeds to the PVC pipes that contain the waterer nipples.

    My problem is also how to keep everything from freezing. My initial plan was to wrap everything in heat tape, however I can't find heat tape here anymore. So my next idea is to use the new heat cable that they have out, and then overwrap that with metal tape.

    My next problem is how to keep the supply line from freezing. Normally, I would use the heat tape and bury the hose 12" into the ground. Again, I can't find heat tape here. And the new heat cables can't be buried in the ground. My next idea is to use ½" copper pipe, and run it 10' into the air, then over to the coop and thenuse a flexible line to connect to the inlet. However, I am not sure of doing this. My first problem with it would be the pipe is out in the air and totally exposed. I'm guessing that I would have to use the heat cable, wrap it with the metal tape, and then use the foam pipe wrap stuff, and then wrap that with the metal tape again. I just don't know if it would work with the pipe being exposed 24/7 in the wind and snow.
     
  5. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2010
    I also am interested. I was just going to have some kind of 5 gallon bucket with a nipple on the bottom. I think if I could keep the water warm in the bucket the nipple would stay unfrozen. I am tired of pool in the water, as the chickens sit on the waterer.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    How are you going to supply this system with fresh water?
     
  7. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2010
    Carry it.
     
  8. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I'm gonna be carrying it too, but DH made me get a 5 gallon galvanized waterer with the heater base from the feed store. For my ducks I got a heated bucket. It has a heater coil inside the walls and about 5 feet of non-chew cord. I think it was designed for dogs, but should work just fine for the ducks. I plan to build a stand for it with a mesh top and hopefully avoid the puddles.
     
  9. DVTO2

    DVTO2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2010
    I suppose I could use standard heat tape inside the bucket - maybe that's enough to keep a 5 gallon bucket from freezing.
     
  10. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I saw bucket heaters at the feed store last time I was in. You just drop them in the bucket. They have a waterproof plug in cord.
     

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