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

Frozen chicken nipple prevention

chicken water heater idea that works

The Ice and Easy did a good job keeping the water from freezing in the bucket, but last night it got down to 17 degrees farenheit, which equaled frozen chicken nipples this morning.

They both thawed out this afternoon when the temperature got around 25 degrees.

I installed a light with another layer of Reflectix to keep some of the heat within the nipple drinking area. We'll see tomorrow morning if this is enough to keep water flowing during this sub freezing cold spell.

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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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Try wrapping (coated) resistance wire around the nipples and run a current through it to keep them warm. Probably best to cover it up with some epoxy or liquid nails so the chickens can't peck at the wires.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Dec 8 13:48:30 2010
Mark would probably understand what you're saying better than I do, but wouldn't that shock the chickens when they go to drink?
Comment by anna Wed Dec 8 14:02:40 2010
The wire is coated, otherwise it'd short-circuit when you wrap it. And the resistance of the wire is pretty low compared to the resistance of the body, IIRC. If you want to be sure apply something non-conductive over the the wrapped coil (epoxy, silicone sealant, whatever) to make sure they can't be shocked.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Dec 8 14:51:02 2010
Heat tape works well in applications like water lines in preventing the water from freezing and splitting the pipe. I think it would be difficult to wrap the heat tape around the water nipples and not overlap the wire, overlapping the heat tape will burn the wire out and could cause a fire. It would be best to wrap the heat tape around the whole tank and insulate it well.
Comment by Zimmy Fri Dec 10 07:34:36 2010
Good tip about not overlapping heat tape --- I hadn't known that, but it makes sense. Chicken waterers are tricky because the nipple freezes up long before the reservoir, and you have to leave the nipple open so the chickens can drink out of it. Mark already insulated the tank and has a deicer in there, but that's not enough in really cold weather. The light is working like a charm, but isn't as elegant of a solution as we'd like...
Comment by anna Fri Dec 10 08:46:50 2010

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