Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Heated chicken waterer ideas

Kats engine oil heaterSeveral readers have emailed me ideas for creating a heated chicken waterer, but all of them say that they haven't tested the heaters on their flock.  That's good news for anyone wanting to enter our homemade heated chicken waterer contest since you're free to steal these ideas and run with them.

First, from Billy Ray:

Your quest to find a inexpensive water heater for the winter seems pretty easy to me. Grew up in Kansas and we had cold winters up there. Live in Dallas now since 1977 and it is much better here. Anyway a simple solution would be to buy a Kats engine oil heater  model #15200 [$11.99 at Northern Tool and Equipment] put it inside a copper tube and plug it into a timer.  Have to experiment with the on off time then insert it into the top of your bucket style waterer (wrapped in thermal wrap like for a home water heater) through a drilled hole and presto you're done. A more expensive way would be to buy a 35 dollar circulation type engine water heater and install it with a timer to run for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours or to keep the water warm but not let it freeze.  I have designed a simple method like this for a cattle water trough with the recirculating pump.

Heated horse bucketNext, Felice Quilici suggested:

Loved the post on Julie's pegboard watering system.  I have an idea about winter time problems.  What about an heated horse bucket and an home made wooden lid with a hinge in the middle to accommodate filling up the bucket as needed?

a two part, half circles lid with a hinge in the middle.  Hope that makes sense!)

Zoo med reptile heaterFinally, Naomi Meyer chimed in:

I don't want to enter this into the contest since it isn't a "design" but more of an easy quick fix. I have a small urban flock and reused a small stick-on reptile heater that we had from a previous pet on your waterer. It keeps the water from freezing but doesn't really heat it.

For those of you who might be taking any of these ideas and turning them into your contest entry, I would add the tip that you need to be sure to focus on the nipple since it's the first part of any system to freeze.  I look forward to seeing your entries!

Our homemade chicken waterer keeps the flock happy and healthy with clean water.
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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