Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Heated bucket waterer with aquarium heater

Heated bucket watererHere is what I used:

  • 2-gallon bucket with lid
  • 2 avian nipple waterers
  • Tetra submersible aquarium heater with automatic thermostat (50W for $14.99)
  • 2” cork or plastic plug for hole on top of the bucket (for cleaning and filling)

This is a very simple design that could be easily adapted to suit your own specifications. This waterer has been working great during these cold winter months [in Nebraska] for my flock of 5 hens and one rooster inside my non-heated chicken coop. We have not tested this outdoors, but it works well in the coop.

Make chicken bucket waterer

Step 1: Start with a 2-gallon heavy plastic bucket with lid and handle. In the bottom of the bucket I drilled two holes to insert the two avian nipple waterers.

Adding an aquarium heater to the bucket waterer

Step 2: Turn bucket upright. Using the suction cup on the Tetra submersible aquarium heater, suction it to the bottom of the bucket. This heater can be found at most pet stores – I bought mine online. This heater is completely submersible and has an automatic thermostat that keeps the water at 78 degrees. The heater has an indicator light that is red while it is heating and green when it is off.

Bucket waterer lidStep 3: Cut a hole in the center of the bucket lid, approximately 2” diameter. Fashion a plug for the hole out of cork (or I just used an aerosol can lid) with a slight notch cut out to accommodate the heater cord. The purpose of the plug is to keep the water clean and to also to make it easy to fill in between cleanings.

Step 4: Your waterer is ready to hang by the bucket handle. I used a rubber bungee to fix it to one of the wall supports in the coop and ran an extension cord to plug the heater into.

--- Marcella Haller

You've still got a week to pull together an entry for our homemade, heated chicken waterer contest!
We recommend our 3 pack DIY kit for making a heated waterer for up to 50 chickens.  The CD that comes with each kit includes complete instructions to help you build our favorite heated options without any trial and error.

The heated waterer we use in our own coop requires two buckets, a three foot length of pipe heating cable ($23), and the contents of our kit.  With a layer of chicken-friendly insulation, the waterer is good down into the teens.

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