Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How to make a homemade, heated chicken waterer

Homemade chicken watererMarvin Bartel wrote in this week to share his ingenious solution to the problem of frozen chicken waterers.  His description and photos were so great, I've reproduced the entire email here with just a few modifications:

Here in Northern Indiana it gets cold. I have a three hens  in a small insulated shed.  They use one of your drinkers.  So far this year it has been down to  7 degrees F outside and down to 15 F in the shed.

Homemade chicken waterer

Being a potter and expecting cold weather, I made a stoneware pot shown here under the drinker bucket.  It contains a 25 watt lightbulb controlled by a thermostat.  The water bucket has  wire and spring to secure it so it cannot fall off.

Heated chicken waterer

The yellow plug thermostat is designed to turn on heat tape to keep pipes from freezing.  It is permanently set to switch on at 38 and off at 50.  Search for: Easy Heat #EH-38 Auto Thermostat.  Amazon has them at $12.88 + shipping.

This is the base with the stoneware cover removed.  Inside the closed container it reached 50 degrees too soon and turned the bulb off before it produced enough heat  to keep the drinker from freezing.  By adding an inch of insulation between the bulb and the thermostat, the bulb stays on long enough to keep the drinker from freezing (thus far). The insulation is alumina-silica fiber insulation used in pottery kilns and space shuttles. Other fireproof insulation would probably work. The bulb uses a standard porcelain fixture.

Homemade chicken waterer

The closed warmer without the water container on top of it.  Any potter can make these.  A tinsmith could also make it from sheet metal.

Homemade chicken waterer

The drinker is mounted with a rubber o-ring seal. Inside the water pail it has a brass nut (sold to fit the little pipe under a lamp sockets).

We're always thrilled to see unique homemade chicken waterers like this one.  Marvin's base is very elegant because he's a potter, but I suspect less crafty folks could make something equally utilitarian with even less effort.  Or contact Marvin and commission him to make you a unique art base!

Since making this post, we've done a lot of experimentation with the best way to keep chicken waterers from freezing.  You can see my favorite heated chicken waterer here, which was good down to the teens last year.

We recommend our 3 pack DIY kit for making a heated waterer for up to 50 chickens.  The CD that comes with your kit includes complete instructions on this and other heated options to save you lots of trial and error.

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thank you, this helped me so much, such a great idea yet very simple to apply
Comment by Chickens early Monday morning, January 4th, 2010

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Cute chicken houses over on your website. :-)

Comment by anna late Monday evening, January 4th, 2010
How did you teach your chickens to drink from the nipple?...
Comment by Rosalyn Wednesday afternoon, January 12th, 2011
It's really pretty simple --- just take the old waterer out the night before then put in the new watererer the next morning and tap the nipple a few times. Our waterers come with complete instructions to help even the most recalcitrant chickens learn the new trick.
Comment by anna Friday afternoon, January 14th, 2011

Great That is amazing and so simple Thanks n God bless

Comment by Lora england Wednesday afternoon, April 20th, 2011
Lora --- You might be interested in checking out our other heated chicken waterer options. The new versions are even easier to build!
Comment by anna early Wednesday morning, April 27th, 2011
Anna - in your comment 2 on Dr. Bartel's post you complement his chicken houses on his web page. That caught my interest, so I went there for a look, but didn't find any. I also looked at what he cites as his earlier page, which might have been up when you made that comment (he keeps a link to it). No luck there either. He has some georgeous fireplace mantels, though, for those with such an interest. Can you direct me toward his coops, please?
Comment by Chuck Simon in the wee hours of Friday night, March 17th, 2012
Chuck --- I was complementing the coops of the first commenter, which you can see by clicking on his link, or at http://www.poshchicks.co.uk/.
Comment by anna Tuesday afternoon, March 20th, 2012

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