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

Heated chicken waterer

Heated chicken watererWe outsourced our final chicken-related experiment to our readers.  Frozen water is one of the difficulties of raising livestock in the winter, so we solicited suggestions for turning our do it yourself chicken waterer kits into a homemade heated waterer. 

The suggestions were inspiring and diverse.  Heating elements ranged from heat lamps, aquarium heaters, and heat tape to stock tank heaters and gutter deicers.  But we loved the heated waterer shown here the best.  For $26, Lu Ann and Christian Shank created a chicken waterer that sandwiched heat tape between two buckets --- a very repeatable and elegant design.  You can read their description of the project here, and we now feature it along with some other heated waterer options on the instructions file that comes with our DIY kits.  Thanks for solving such a thorny problem, Lu Ann and Christian!

This post is part of our 2011 Chicken Experiments lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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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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If your waterer is located in direct sunlight, do you think that using a black bucket on the outside would reduce the electricity required? Do you have any sort of thermostat in the water to keep it from heating if the water is already warm?
Comment by Fritz Monroe Fri Oct 14 08:15:49 2011

Good, low tech idea to use a black bucket to capture solar radiation! We put our winter waterers inside the coop to keep them warmer, but if it was in the open, that would definitely make sense. (Maybe even in the coop a black bucket might grab more warmth? I'm not sure....)

The heat tape sandwiched between the buckets has a thermoregulator, so it kicks on at a certain temperature (maybe 40 F?)

Comment by anna Fri Oct 14 15:11:42 2011

If there is enough sunlight, build a solar water heater.

You can also build a solar hot air collector to keep the coop warm.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sat Oct 15 14:38:25 2011
Good ideas! I've never bothered to try to keep our coops warm in the winter since the chickens don't seem to have a problem with cold as long as they're dry. On the other hand, it is true that they need more food since they burn those extra calories keeping warm, so heating up the coop would lower feed costs.
Comment by anna Sat Oct 15 20:29:48 2011

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