I live in Wisconsin and my neighbor has around 60 chickens, 7 ducks and 2 geese. She hauls hot water to the coop twice a day because their water freezes. When she goes out of town I am in charge of this and I feel like there must be a better way. My question is what is the best way to ensure the chickens have water (not frozen) in freezing weather? There are outlets in the coop but not many. Also, they are separated into 5 groups so some get tubs of water and some get smaller containers.
She does have one of those for the water foul but the water still froze on top. I was thinking maybe there was a heat element that can go in the water container or a water container that is heated itself? Any other ideas there?
You need insulation around the water and under the heater.
A lid that reduces the exposed surface of the water might help.
An aquarium pump bubbling air through the water might help and would use far less power (if the birds don't mind the bubbles).
A hole in the ground directly under the water container will allow the cold air to fall to the bottom, be heated by the ground, rise to the top, heat the water, and cycle back. The water container should block the top of the hole. The hole needs to be deeper than the deepest possible ground freeze to work. Cattle ranchers use this in remote places, called a "heat well".
Deep bedding. Done right, it should be nice and warm once you get a few inches deep. Partially bury a large trough in the deep bedding, so the bottom and some of the side is being warmed by the bedding. No more frozen water. No electricity needed.