Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Easy Ways to Keep your Chickens' Water from Freezing this Winter


One of the most-often asked questions we get from readers is how to keep their chickens' water from freezing in the winter.  Heated waterer bases are available commercially, but they are expensive and don't seem to last more than one or two seasons. There are tons of instructions online on how to make your own out of a cookie tin, but the waterer can easily slide off the slick metal surface of the tin and anyway, I prefer to store cookies in my cookie tins! So here I would like to offer a few easy, simple options to provide your flock water through the winter.


I don't leave my chickens feed or water overnight in the coop. Once they go to roost, they stay there until morning. They can't see well in the dark and so that means once they hop up on the roosting bar, they settle in for the night. Feed and water attracts bugs and rodents and just makes a mess. So outside in the run it stays (in the sun in the winter, in the shade in summer).

So that means I only have to keep the water temperatures above freezing by day, which makes things a lot easier. Here are my simple, inexpensive suggestions to keep water unfrozen through the winter months.


1. Large Black Rubber Tub - The first and easiest way to keep water unfrozen longer is to switch from a traditional metal waterer to a wide, deep black rubber tub set in the sun. These metal waterers freeze up so fast because the metal gets cold and there's so little surface area. Conversely the black rubber tub absorbs the heat from the sun to keep the water warmer. Even more imporrtantly, the larger surface area will help keep the water from freezing as fast. 

2. Ping Pong Balls - Float a few ping pong balls in your water tub. The slightest breeze will create waves in the water and keep a layer of ice from forming. Give it a try - this is probably the easiest way to keep your water from freezing.


3. Heated Electric Dog Water Bowl - If you have an electricity source, the easiest way to provide water in the winter is to just plug in an electric dog water bowl. For about $20, you can buy one HERE. I have been using this one for nearly four years and it's still going strong. It's durable, safe and easy to clean and refill. 



4. Lightbulb in a Cinder Block - This idea is brilliant. I found it HERE. You clamp a light bulb inside a cinder block and cover it with a stepping stone. Your waterer sets on top of it. The rough surface prevents slipping and this couldn't be easier or safer for in your run in winter.



5.  Get Some Ducks - Since ducks will dabble and play in the water pretty much all day, a nice deep tub set in the sun where the ducks can get at it will almost ensure the water won't freeze. Of course it will be full of mud and debris within minutes, but at least it won't be frozen!

Do you have any other tips for keeping your water from freezing? I would love to hear them!



Affiliate link to purchase a heated water bowl
 

If you like us on Facebook and our blog, you'll LOVE my new book 

 photo cover150_zpsabd1ef1c.jpg
Order your copy ---> HERE!


BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST BETTER WITH CHICKENS!

©2013 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. All rights reserved.

7 comments:

  1. I have a heat lamp over my chicken water pan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We built a heater from a metal cookie tin with a low watt light bulb, with a plastic waterer on top. Worked great! We switched to a heated dog bowl, as it's faster to refill...

    ReplyDelete
  3. In the winter, I switch from a plastic waterer to a rubber tub (learned that from you last year). It rarely froze over last winter, but I will add some ping pong balls this year as an extra precaution, plus it will be super cute!! Thank you for all the help you send out to us everyday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you!!! This is a super useful post! I think the debate going on is interesting, but it just adds more information for the newbie. Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi
    Will be changing to a rubber tub as of tomorrow.
    This maybe a very stupid question but I'm in the alps and it's get very cold here, because of our position close to the mountain we have 6 full weeks without sunshine, and then it comes back for just a few minutes per day for a few more weeks - thus I am worried about the chickens being cold! and was thinking of putting a hot water bottle inside the coop at night! also perhaps a hot stone in the water that I could change regularly during the day went it gets cold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Wow. Yes at least if its sunny by day, they can warm up and then retain that heat for overnight! I would for sure line the walls of your coop with straw bales, take up the dead air space as much as possible. You could put a hot stone in the water, that's a good idea actually.

      Delete

Thank you for your kind comments and joining along with Fresh Eggs Daily as we live our wonderful, natural country farm life.

Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
www.facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily