Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Homemade heated chicken waterers

Two week old chicks using homemade chicken watererI've had a lot of emails lately about keeping chicken waterers from freezing, so I thought I'd share some heated waterer information to help us all prepare for the cold months ahead.  First of all, if you haven't already, you should read my tips for winter care of your Avian Aqua Miser --- simply taking the waterer in at night when you collect the day's eggs then putting it back out with the morning feed is often feasible if you have a small flock.

But bucket waterers are too bulky for daily carrying.  Is there a better solution?  Our homemade chicken waterer customers are ingenious, so I wasn't surprised to find several tips in my inbox:

  • Build your own heated bucket waterer --- This old blog post gives instructions for using a light bulb to turn your bucket waterer into a heated waterer.
  • Keep the coop above freezing --- If you have several chickens in a relatively small coop, you may need no more than a light bulb burning at night to keep the air temperature above freezing.  The light will have the bonus effect of increasing egg production during the winter months.
  • Add a stock tank deicer to your bucket waterer --- Barbara emailed to give me some facts on her experience with using a Model H-49 Submergible Bucket De-Icer from Farm Innovators.  She says, "I paid $49.69 for it.  A bit pricey but well worth it!  The only issue I have had was the metal coil around the power cord rusting in the water.  It is to prevent animals chewing the power cord.  Not a problem with the guinea fowl so I just removed it."

The photo in this post, by the way, came with Barbara's email about her deicer.  She noted:

I still love the Avian Aqua Miser.  I've included a picture of 2 week old [guinea fowl] keets and chicks drinking from them.  It keeps the water so much cleaner and so easy to make the waterer.  We started them using it when they were 2 days old with no problems at all.  Next time will try it out from birth!
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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