Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How much cold can the heat tape waterer handle?

Australorp and Sussex chickens

Heated chicken watererWe enjoyed an abnormally warm December, so our heated chicken waterer didn't get much of a test.  Then came January's arctic blast.

The first night of the cold spell, temperatures plummeted to 16 degrees Fahrenheit.  When I went out to check on the flock, one of the nipples had frozen up, but the other was still flowing.  The thawed nipple was on the side of the bucket facing the roosting area, so it's possible that the chickens' body heat was enough to warm that area very slightly.  Alternatively, the heat tape might have simply been closer to the bottom of the bucket on that side.

Frozen watererThat day, it never got anywhere near freezing, with temperatures hovering in the high teens to low twenties.  The second night, we got down to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which was far too low for the heat tape waterer.  Not only were both nipples frozen, there was a skim of ice two inches thick on top of the bucket.

We've got plenty more options to making the heated waterer stay warmer --- we were just waiting to see how this simplest option fared in cold weather.  A longer section of heat tape might help since it could wrap all the way around the bucket (as in Lu Ann's protype), and the bucket could definitely use an insulative sleeve.  We could even add a heat lamp facing the nipples, preferably one plugged into a thermocube so it only came on when temperatures approached freezing.

Or we might just leave the waterer the way it is --- there aren't many nights in our neck of the woods that drop below 16!

Our chicken waterer kits come with complete instructions on building this and other types of heated chicken waterers.
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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I am planning on ordering the 3 nipple kit after receiving my SSA check this month, and hope that it solves the spilled water problem in our chicken coop. I enjoy your informative tips very much, please keep up the good work.

Comment by Evelyn Qualls Monday evening, November 12th, 2012
Evelyn --- Glad to know we're helping! The 3 pack DIY kit will be a great choice for making a waterer just like this.
Comment by anna mid-morning Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Anna & family:

I was hoping my kit would arrive before Thanksgiving, but now I have even more to look forward to after the big day! Upon reflection, I bet when you receive glowing testimonials, every day is a day of Thanksgiving for you, AND the people who are so very pleased with your product. I cannot wait to use the nipples in the brooder cages. I am looking forward to much less mess. Thanks so much.

Comment by Evelyn Qualls Wednesday night, November 21st, 2012
Evelyn --- Your money order just showed up in our box yesterday, so your kit will go in the mail early next week. Unfortunately, the mails are always much slower than ordering online. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving anyway!
Comment by anna early Saturday morning, November 24th, 2012

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