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Chicken Water Heater - DIY and Easy to set up...

 
pollinator
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Location: Trumansburg, NY
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Hoping folks can find this useful. We're a few years in with this system and it has reliably kept our chickens water thawed and available down to around 0F. Total cost around $35 and it has only worked perfectly since we installed it. I sincerely hope its helpful to folks :)
 
pioneer
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Sean Dembrosky wrote:Hoping folks can find this useful. We're a few years in with this system and it has reliably kept our chickens water thawed and available down to around 0F. Total cost around $35 and it has only worked perfectly since we installed it. I sincerely hope its helpful to folks :)



I think it looks like nice safe design, but wondering about auto turn on and turn off.  Going out when you think it will freeze won't be fun.
 
Sean Dembrosky
pollinator
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Mike, in the video I mention a little device, certainly optional, but quite helpful, called a 'thermocube'.  Different options out there, and I went for one that turns on around 20F and turns off above 32F.  This automatically shuts off the heater if it isn't needed.
Hope thats helpful.
 
pollinator
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An easy solution is to use one of the black rubber pans that you can buy at feed stores -- rubber, not plastic.  Actually, if you get two of them, you can just swap them out each day and let the frozen one thaw before taking it out again the next day.  But even if you only have one, you can drop those black rubber pans on the ground upside down and stomp on them to break the ice out; it does no damage to the pan.  This method is safe, cheap, and easy, and you don't have to worry about getting power to the chicken coop.
 
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I like the insulating blanket, we've used sheep's wool because we have an abundance of it that isn't otherwise usable. Our ladies have taken to pecking any insulating board so I need to find a better wind break/thermal blanket. Our Ducks usually "Duck up" any standing water dispenser so we have a heated hanging drinker to make sure there is clean water, only an issue for a mixed flock.

I don't think you need to plug the heater into the thermo block as they typically have their own thermostat to run only when needed.
 
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Hello!
We have found the cookie can with a 60 watt regular lightbulb installed works excellent. Get a little thermostat that will kick it on at freezing. We used a lamp fixture and extension cord with the can turned upside down (drilling a hole in the can to feed cord through, lid on the bottom because the groove on the bottom side will keep waterer from sliding off. Thermostat will turn it off when above freezing. Easy and safe if properly installed.
 
pollinator
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K&H manufacturing makes a tan, hard, 9x12 heated pad sold under a variety of names, for a variety of animals (small pet, cat, chicken),  but it is all the same unit.  They also make heated bowls.  So am assuming the technology is similar.

I like the fact that the pad is dual purpose; winter water heater,  summer heat for newborn or poorly critters.

The unit is completely sealed,  designed for both outdoor and animal use.  They also come in various sizes, shapes, this one being the smallest,  but larger sizes are readily available,  but in black.   Mine have been in use, 24/7 for over 10 years.

 
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H Schweitzer wrote: We used a lamp fixture and extension cord with the can turned upside down (drilling a hole in the can to feed cord through, lid on the bottom because the groove on the bottom side will keep waterer from sliding off.



Do you put the waterer on top of the can? I understand that the light bulb is inside the can. Do you have a picture?
Thanks
 
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I put a heater (bought at an Ace hardware store) that had a black "U" shaped heating element on top of a red rectangle box (sorry, no pictures) on a plugged in additional temperature gauge (on below 33 Fahrenheit or so, and turned off above that). It also had a dial for high to low power. The heater was held by some flexible sheet metal under another piece of sheet metal, where the metal waterer sat. All of it was held up by a wooden frame that also had chicken wire around the sheet metal so that they could get up onto the platform above the shavings, with all dirt falling off of their feet, and keeping their feet cool at the same time (not touching the heated metal area under the waterer). It worked like a charm and was the only thing I found after extensive looking (for Northern Wisconsin deep freeze winters). I hope that helps or inspires some.  
 
                              
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Here is a photo album of what I did.... https://photos.app.goo.gl/nnW7P9uZH8PtS7cm7  It didn't quite work!  But if I did it again, it would

The basic run down is:
1. Small water cooler inside the coop
2. Barrel/bucket de-icer (not pictured, but it's a metal hoop you plug in and put inside a water barrel to keep it thawed)
3. Small pump
4. thermostat to control pump
5. a small tube inside the main pipe to circulate the water through


Why it didn't work;  It just go too cold, combined with the pipe was too long, and my temperature sensor... I put it at the wrong end.  In the summer, this system works wonderful.  It is also filled by rainwater.  I never have to fill it.
 
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I found that heating rocks & bricks on the wood stove overnight and putting them into the black rubber buckets with fresh hot water kept the water thawed (and warm) for most of the day. My coop was insulated and had good winter solar gain (plan for the coops exposure, a nice overhang on the south side for summer shade and nice big windows) and sometimes would reach 50 degrees on coldest days. I also used smaller stones, warmed on a trivet on top of the wood stove to dry out the insides of boots at the end of the day. These smaller stones shouldn't get too hot or they might melt the insides of the boots, hence the trivet to keep the stones off the top of the stove and warm rather than hot.

One time when we lost power and I had a coop full of day-old chicks, I heated larger stones (smaller than a football but larger than a softball) and bricks on the stove, loaded them into milk crates and took them out to the coop. I placed the stones & bricks around the interior perimeter of the wall where it met the floor and piled shavings on top of them. Even though the temperature was in the teens, these warmed stones & bricks kept the chicks warm enough till the power come back on for the broody lamps and supplemental heater. When I went out to check the day olds, they were all stretched out on the rocks & bricks...like they were at a day spa!

The challenge here would be to have stashed the stones & bricks in a place where you can find them and have easy access. You don't want to be looking for the under a blanket of snow and frozen to the ground! If they are piled and covered with something, maybe a piece of plywood or metal roofing, you can find them and heat them as necessary.

It was my Mom's idea, she had lived on farms and raised many chicks and was a wise woman in farming ways.
 
H Schweitzer
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Jerry McIntire wrote:

H Schweitzer wrote: We used a lamp fixture and extension cord with the can turned upside down (drilling a hole in the can to feed cord through, lid on the bottom because the groove on the bottom side will keep waterer from sliding off.



Do you put the waterer on top of the can? I understand that the light bulb is inside the can. Do you have a picture?
Thanks



Jerry,
Yes the waterer would be placed on top of the can, I put the can on a cement block off the ground a little. Also if you flip the can upside down they usually have a little rim that will help waterer stay in place. Finding this website hard to navigate and figure out so no photo, sorry. Hopefully you get this. No reply notifications or means to know if this is even posted properly… :/
 
Michael Moreken
pioneer
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Slowly moving towards Spring in N. Hemisphere.  Here when it got cold, I would lift off the lid and just remove maybe less than inch of ice on top.  

I fill it with water, plus maybe a half cup of apple cider (will lower freezing) to about a gallon of water.
 
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