Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Insulated, heated chicken waterer

Heated chicken waterer

Heat tape on bucketSusie sent me some great photos of her heat tape bucket waterer, complete with an insulation layer and an easy-fill top.  The construction technique is based on this heat tape chicken waterer, but with Susie's own twist.

She started out with two buckets of different sizes.  The outer bucket was a freebie from the bakery section of her grocery store, where it once held frosting, and the inner bucket originally held bird food.

After installing the nipples (as described in our do it yourself kits), Susie wrapped the inner bucket with with a six foot length of heat tape.

Next, she cut enough of the bottom off the outer bucket to make a loose fit when it slid over the inner bucket and heat tape.  The photo below on the left shows the dry-fitting stage --- she later took the buckets back apart before moving on to the next step.

Cutting outer bucket

Insulating bucket watererNow for the innovative part.  Susie wrapped a layer of insulation around the inner bucket and heat tape, attaching the insulation with some duct tape.  She wrote that the insulation was "foil-bubble-bubble-foil (about 1/4" thick)".

Next, Susie put the outer bucket back in place (sanding off the rough edges so the chickens wouldn't peck at the loose plastic.)

Finally, she added a hose to the lid to make it even easier to fill.  The hose is about 3/4 inches thick and is held in place using a small hose clamp on each side of the lid.  Susie wrote:

By creating a length of hose on the bucket, I can fill from outside with a funnel (an old wine cork with a 'knob' on the end seals the hose when not being filled). The hose is a bit long until it is in its final place (may want to move it), then will be trimmed. The chickens are using and enjoying the un-frozen water!

Filling hose

So far, temperatures have only dropped into the low 20s, but I'm looking forward to hearing how Susie's waterer handles even cold conditions.

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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One small comment: the 2 small hose clamps on either side of the lid holding the tubing in place MUST be stainless steel...anything else will rust.

That last pic is sideways...it 'could' go upright, cropped if necessary. I started to get dizzy with the floor tiles running at an angle to the text, ha!

It's still working great, I'll let you know how it goes when we get a good cold snap. I'm pretty confident it will continue to work.

Comment by Susie Friday afternoon, January 27th, 2012

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