Heated Chicken Waterers

Heated Chicken Waterers

Heard heated chicken waterers can make life easier, but aren’t sure which to buy? Not even sure they’re safe? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

For people like us, who raise animals out of the comforts of a heated home, cold is a serious problem. If the temperature drops too far, water freezes. While some animals can break ice – with breath and a hot tongue, or a beak – there are limits to what these resources can do. And when temperatures plummet, dehydration can be a major problem for your fur or feather babies. 

One solution – heated chicken waterers – are a simple method of providing water to your flock. Today we’ll look at the kinds of heated waterers available for our chickens. 

Our Favorite Heated Chicken Waterers On Amazon:

Do Chickens Need to Drink Water?

Oh yes, chickens absolutely drink water. It might be funny to watch them – they fill their mouths and then tip their heads back – but water is an absolutely necessary part of their daily diet. Actually, an adult chicken will drink a few cups of water per day. Get a group of 20 chickens together, and they’ll likely go through as much water per day as a cow. 

Are Heated Chicken Waterers Safe?

Mostly, yes. You need to watch out for how hot they get, and how much electricity they draw. It’s best to look at your user manual and reviews online for the specific unit you’re considering.

Are There Different Types Of Heated Chicken Waterers?

Not including home-made, there are three different types of heated chicken waterers:

Automatic Waterers 

These waterers contain a basin that has one or more openings at the base that open only when chickens use them. These are generally clean, neat, and very hygienic. Depending on the valve, these waterers also avoid dripping water and frozen puddles beneath them. However, some parts are more prone to freezing.

Gravity-Type Waterers 

These operate under the same principle as the automatic waterers, save for one major difference: the distribution method. These jugs generally are attached to an open pan (also known as a “drinker”) that your chickens will drink from. Because they are open, you run the risk of your birds contaminating the pan. The drinkers are also pretty easy to break off. 

Open Pans Or Dish-type Waterers 

These are often a pan set out over a heated base. They run the same risk of contamination as the gravity waterers, which will require more scrubbing than, say, the automatic waterers. Elevating them off the ground in the heated base will help to reduce the muddying of waters. 

What Makes The “Ideal” Heated Chicken Waterer?

This is a complicated question. There are several key elements to consider:

  • How cold does it get in your area?
  • How many chickens are in your coop?
  • What material works best for you?
  • Should it rest on the floor or be elevated? 
  • Is it durable enough or will it freeze? 

Affordability is another concern. Some options – like batteries – can cost a lot over time. Some heated chicken waterers (especially the do-it-yourself variety) could put unnecessary stress on your wallet. 

How many chickens have you got? The answer to this will determine the size of your waterer, as you don’t want to be slogging out into the cold every couple of hours to refill the water of your birds. 

In other words, the ideal waterer will completely depend on your flock. Just make sure it’s durable so in the event that the water does freeze, the container won’t rupture or break. 

Let’s further explore these questions below.

How Big Should It Be?

As previously mentioned, a flock of 20 birds will drink about as much as a cow – that’s a whole lot of water to provide. If your flock consists of fewer than 5 birds, a single 2-gallon waterer should suffice. Most single waterers range in size from about a gallon to 3 gallons. The heaters in heated chicken waterers are very adept at cooling off smaller areas, but anything larger than that could run into problems with the law thermal equilibrium, which states that temperatures will seek a balance. 

In extremely cold weather, some heaters might prove insufficient in warming large quantities of water. 

With the addition of more birds, you will probably need more heated chicken waterers. Some sources recommend having on three-gallon waterer for every 10 to 12 chickens. 

What Kinds Of Automatic Valves Are There For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Nipples are a type of automatic valve that is fast becoming a preferred method of watering chickens on cold winter days. These are designed to not release water until your chicken pokes it with their beaks. 

Floating valves are small cups of water. When your chickens dip their beaks into the cup, they press on a floating valve that releases fresh water into the cup. This provides a constant set amount of water in this hanging waterer.

Should I Use Plastic Or Metal For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Ultimately, that is your call. Both materials are excellent in cold weather. Plastic waterers are durable and do not break easily. Galvanized metal also holds up very well in extreme cold BUT freezes faster than plastic. Both can be found with internal or external heaters, though plastic heaters usually have the heating element in the base. 

Should I Hang My Heated Chicken Waterers Or Lay Them On The Ground?

This is an important question, that depends, in part, on what you have available in your coop or in your pen. One clear benefit of hanging waterers is you can raise it off the ground, and your chickens are less likely to roost on them (which means less poop). Elevating the water from the ground reduces the chances your flock will poop in it. 

Ground-based waterers don’t have to be messy, however. A waterer set upon a heating pad can still get that required height and also remain equally clean to hanging heated chicken waterers. 

How Often Should I Refill My Heated Chicken Waterer?

The easy answer is “Whenever they need filling.” Since most waterers can hold upwards of a couple of gallons, they have a bit of staying power. Still, you should be checking your waterers at least once every day. That way, you can top off the containers when you see they need it, and you can see if they need to be cleaned. Your chickens might have made a mess of the waterers, and you’ll want to clean them up as soon as possible. 

Are There Heated Chicken Waterers Without Electricity Needed?

Some heated chicken waterers don’t require electricity, such as solar powered heated waterers. Others include battery-powered heaters. You can read this article here for an excellent how-to that breaks down a number of means of keeping your chickens hydrated – and all without electricity!

What About Solar Heated Chicken Waterers?

The simplest solution would be to have a large black tub that is not too tall for your chickens to reach. Place this into the sunniest part of the coop, and over the course of the day, the heat from the sun might prove to be enough to keep your flock hydrated. In colder climates, however, this might not work as well, and alternative heating might be required. 

Are There Do-it-Yourself Heated Chicken Waterers?

There are a number of sources out there across the internet that offer solutions for homemade water heaters. Here’s 2 that we like:

Where to Find Heated Chicken Waterers?

You can usually find them at farm stores, like Tractor Supply. You can also find them on Amazon here:

We hope this information about heated chicken waterers helps you keep your chickens hydrated and healthy, even through the bitter chills have arrived! Stay warm!

Keep Your Chicken’s Water From Freezing (Without Electricity)

Keep Your Chicken’s Water From Freezing (Without Electricity)

Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity in the winter.

 

When the cold arrives, I struggle to keep water from turning into a frozen block.

 

And without a water heater? Just that much more difficult.

 

I know many of you are worrying about how to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity this winter, so I wanted to share some tricks that have worked for me.

 

These tips will also work well if you have ducks, turkeys, quail, or any other kind of poultry.

 

So, if you’re worried about how to keep poultry water from freezing, remember that these tips aren’t just for chicken water!

 

Chickens- Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock AD (1)-min

 

Use a big water tub

 

Typically, the larger the bowl is, the longer it takes to freeze. With our 40 gallon rubber water troughs, they rarely freeze in winter.

 

If the top freezes, below that layer of nice usually rests unfrozen water. I just use the heel of my boot (assuming there’s no cracks in them!) to break the surface ice.

 

You can scoop it out and refill the tub so your hens don’t run the risk of falling in as they try to drink.

 

Using a large waterer to keep your chickens water from freezing isn’t always realistic, especially with younger chickens (such as pullets) that can’t balance well on the edge and might fall in.

 

But if your flock is older and they’re able to not get themselves into deadly situations, then using a large tub is one way to prevent freezing.

 

Use rubber or plastic water dishes

 

I mentioned above that rubber waterers are best for winter, and in most cases, it’s true.

 

Rubber conducts cold less efficiently than stainless steel, and it will take longer for your chicken’s water to turn into a solid block of ice. Rubber bowls also tend to be less expensive than stainless steel.

 

Plastic is another option although in my experience, it doesn’t retain heat from the sun as efficiently as rubber.

 

Which brings us to….

 

Black water tubs

 

As we all know, black absorbs the sun’s rays better than any other color out there.

 

So, black rubber water tubs are more likely to keep your chickens water from freezing without electricity than probably anything else out there.

 

If you’re not 100% sure how to keep your chicken water from freezing, then relying on heat from the sun is definitely more cost efficient than buying an electric water heater (and potentially safer).

 

Dark blue, purple, or burgundy would work as well, but steer clear of lighter colors.

 

Ping Pong Balls

 

I’ve had marginal success with this, but other people swear by it, so I wanted to mention it.

 

You can grab a packet of ping pong balls at your local dollar store and float them on the top of the water.

 

The idea is that as the wind moves the surface of the water, the continued movement of the ping pong balls will keep your chicken’s water from freezing.

 

Now, you’ll be relying on the breeze to do the work for you. And if your water tub isn’t deep, the ping pong balls will get stuck as the water freezes around it.

 

So, it’s worth a shot, but you might want to use the ping pong balls in conjunction with a black rubber tub.

 

Ducks

 

Believe it or not, if you keep ducks, they’re pretty good at keeping your chicken’s water from freezing.

 

Ducks automatically want to splash and play in water – keeping the surface constantly moving so it can’t turn into ice.

 

Again, a deep dish is required, and you will have to keep it full because your ducks will want to dunk their heads and bills into the water.

 

In most cases, the ducks will be fine if they get wet – they have down! And unless they’re young, they can figure out when to stop.

 

Hand warmers

 

I’ve successfully used commercial hand warmers (the kind you don’t open until ready to use) with small stainless-steel mason jar waterers.

 

In this case, using stainless steel waterers works best because the metal will conduct heat from the warmers, keeping the water just above freezing temperatures.

 

Just stick the heater below the metal bottom, and replace as needed.

 

If you have quail or smaller chickens that require only a mason jar waterer, this solution works well, particularly since smaller waterers will freeze much quicker.

 

Starting off with hot water

 

If you’re going to be gone part of the day and want to make sure your flock has access to fresh water for longer, you can give them hot H20 when you fill their dish.

 

Just make sure it’s not boiling, otherwise your hens might burn themselves.

 

If, throughout the day, you notice their water turning to ice, then refill the bucket with hot water.

 

You can also do this at night, although chickens are less likely to drink water in the dark, since they’ll want to get some shut eye.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you been worried about how to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity this winter? Which of these ideas will you try? Leave a comment below!

 

Keep your chickens water from freezing this winter with these genius hacks!