Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Simple, homemade, heated chicken waterer

Heated chicken waterer

Our homemade chicken waterers make it easy to leave town for as long as a week in the summer, but frozen nipples nix winter trips.  With the carrot of a visit to the Yucatan dangling in front of his nose, Mark set to work to turn one of our bucket waterers into a heated waterer that would survive winter's freezing temperatures.  The result is simple and works well, but still needs some tweaking to make it a bit more elegant.

Version 1.0 is shown above --- drop an Ice and Easy Deicer in a bucket waterer, plug it in, and wrap the bucket in Reflectix to hold in the heat.  This version worked fine until temperatures dropped to 17 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the nipples froze up.  If you live in a warmer climate, this may be all you need.

Light bulb heats chicken nipple

Version 2.0 added a 65 watt bulb in a metal reflector to channel the light and heat onto the nipples.  The extra warmth kept water flowing until temperatures dropped down to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, a rare occasion around here and one which seldom lasts more than a few hours.  This version is definitely good enough for our winters, and when we came back from our vacation we discovered the unintended side effect --- increased egg production due to the light. 

Mark's going to keep experimenting, though, because the light bulb uses more energy than we really need to keep the water thawed.  We'd also like the design to be more elegant and easier for the backyard enthusiast to put together.  Meanwhile, don't forget that you can win a 10 pack DIY kit if you come up with a better solution.  We look forward to seeing your heated chicken waterers in action.

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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