The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Do it yourself chicken water heater

diy chicken water heater home made

It works!

Now I need to simplify the design. Maybe have the light automatically switch off during the day and when it's above freezing, or experiment with Roland's idea of applying heat through an electrical current directly to the nipple in question.

Visit our heated chicken waterer page for more details on designing your own.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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It got down to 13 degrees last night, so I'd say this was a very good test of the concept! It very rarely gets any colder here.
Comment by anna Wed Dec 8 16:43:22 2010
Funny, it was 13 degrees here, too, this morning.
Comment by Errol Wed Dec 8 17:08:45 2010
Maybe it was colder here. I broke our thermometer, so I've just been counting on what the weather station says in Nickelsville....
Comment by anna Wed Dec 8 18:03:20 2010

Yep, it's been downright cold around here. Our hot water froze up yesterday and it took most of the day to get it flowing again. Looks like I need to get back under there and do some better insulating.

I ended up buying a nifty little gadget that looks like an outlet extender, but has a built-in thermostat. It basically makes the outlet turn ON if it gets under 45 degrees and stays on until it gets above that temp. It would probably be on all the time outdoors in the winter, but works really well in our pump house powering a small space heater. It's call the Thermocube and only costs about $10.

You know, I should do a post about that...

Comment by Everett Wed Dec 8 21:20:49 2010

Ah, the joys of sudden winter. It seems like we're never quite ready for it. :-)

Mark was talking about something like your Thermocube. It's great to have a name and a price for it --- that'll make it a lot easier to find. I hope you stayed unfrozen last night --- it got down into the single digits here!

Comment by anna Thu Dec 9 09:22:46 2010

Yep, we stayed unfrozen. I have a space heater running on one of those thermostats in the crawl space and one in the pump house. I turn them off during the day and back on when it gets dark.

I should get one of those thermometers that records the high and low temp of the day so I know exactly how low it's getting here. The forecast says 13 degrees, but who knows... it could be ten degrees lower here in this little valley.

I hope y'all are staying nice and warm inside! We've had half the house shut off for the last week and are just heating the main room and the kitchen. We figure we're only in the bedroom to sleep, and we have lots of covers for that. But watering the chickens every morning has become a much less pleasant chore!

Comment by Everett Thu Dec 9 21:33:53 2010

Closing off part of the house always makes sense --- I'm surprised more people don't do that. We basically only heat half of the trailer, turning on the fan to blow hot air down the hall only when we're going to work in the back office.

I need to get another one of those thermometers too --- I manage to break them after about a year. :-/ I suspect we've been colder than the forecast says too, here in our shady spot on the north side of the hill.

So glad to hear you're not frozen! We've been toasty inside, and taking a bit of a break from working outside in the bitter cold. :-)

Comment by anna Fri Dec 10 08:50:19 2010

I found a great outer bucket to work with one of the Lowe's 5 gallon buckets like I've seen in your pictures. It's a metal 6 gallon bucket made by Bahrens (and it's made in the USA!!) that has plenty of room to fit as much of the heat tape as you'd like to use. If anyone is interested I can post their part number. I've had it for a couple years so I don't remember the price.

I've got everything in my living room now getting it assembled. Can I post pictures here with HTML?

As an aside, I am not seeing any new comments appearing on your Avian website with the Recent Comments link and have made several comments since Nov 28, which is the last date showing for a reply.

Comment by Heath Fri Dec 9 12:37:24 2011

I would love to see some photos! I believe to make them work here, you'll need to upload them to the internet somewhere else, but then you can put in the html code and insert them. Alternatively, you can email the photos to and I'll put them up for you.

Thanks for paying attention to the Avian Aqua Miser comments. I'm ashamed to admit I only moderate those once a week because there's just so much spam and so few real comments, and I seem to have forgotten this week. Comments are all there now and I'll reply to them shortly!

Comment by anna Fri Dec 9 16:57:03 2011
I added a comment on your Avian site with some pictures. They're posted through Photobucket so hopefully they'll appear ok.
Comment by Heath Sat Dec 10 16:22:10 2011
Thanks for the reminder over here to moderate over there. :-) I've posted your comment (and fixed the photos, which didn't come through quite right.) For anyone who's interested, you can see Heath's heated waterer here.
Comment by anna Sun Dec 11 11:02:06 2011

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