With winter here, you are preparing for harsh nights and chilly days. But one thing you might not have prepared for is the waterer. You soon find that water only lasts a few hours before it freezes over. So you do what anyone would do and start changing the water every few hours to keep it from freezing. But this can only last so long. The water is heavy, and it’s a complete waste. We are here to tell you here are our 16 ways to keep chicken water from freezing.
1) Ping Pong Balls
A cheap and easy solution to prevent chicken water freezing is to use ping pong balls. Yes, you read that right. If you have an open water bucket, you can place a few ping pong balls inside to agitate the water. Ping pong balls are so lightweight that they move across the water every time the wind blows. Even a light breeze makes the balls bob in the water. And the more they move, the less time it gives the water to freeze over.
2) Black Rubber Tubs
Our favorite way how to keep water from freezing without electricity is rubber tubs. But not just any rubber tubs. Black rubber tubs placed directly in the sunlight will conduct enough heat to keep the water from freezing. Our favorite one is the Little Giant Heavy Duty Rubber Tub because of it’s flexible and crack proof design.
Rubber tubs are good for more than just generating heat, though. These tubs are durable and don’t break under harsh frozen conditions. If your water freezes inside of them, they bend and release with ease. Unlike metal pans that have to defrost and bend under stress.
3) Salt Water Bottle
Another chicken owner’s secret is to use a salt water bottle to keep water from freezing. With this method, there is no need for a special winter chicken water container. All you need is a typical water bottle filled with salt water to place inside your existing one. The saltwater in the bottle produces a small amount of heat, which will keep your buckets a little warmer.
But there are a few tricks to using this method. For a standard 16 oz water bottle, you will want to fill it with 1/4-1/2 cup table salt and hot water. It also helps if your water bucket is 3 gallons or more. And remember that a salt water bottle in chicken waterer will need regular inspections. You might only save a few hours before needing to change the water again. And always check that no saltwater is leaking into the drinking water.
4) Sunroom/Green House
One way to prevent chicken water cups freezing is to build either a sunroom or a greenhouse. You can create a cheap and easy DIY sunroom from old windows arranged in an A-frame house. These small sunrooms go in direct sunlight to heat your water and provide a warm basking area.
The other option is to make a temporary greenhouse as a chicken run. It will provide a warm area for your chickens to roam and keeps their water warm. These houses are easy to make, and you might be able to use whatever run you already have.
5) Fish Water Heater
You might be wondering how to keep PVC chicken waterer from freezing. The best way to keep a PVC waterer from freezing and prevent melting is to get a low wattage fish tank heater. You will want to choose a heater that is plastic and not glass to prevent shattering. These smaller heaters are designed for tanks that are only a few gallons, perfect for our needs.
These heaters are cheap to run and can fit in any water container. Most of these heaters even have adjustments on them to keep them from burning your chickens. The only downside to this method is that you might have to run a long extension cord.
6) Heated Chicken Waterer
One of the most obvious of these 16 ways to keep chicken water from freezing is a heated chicken waterer. These waterers are large and last for years. We love the Allied Precision Industries Heated Chicken Waterer because of it’s easy to clean design. We also love that this waterer comes with a 6-foot long cord, making it more accessible.
7) Heated Water Base
For those of you who have metal water containers, you might wonder what your options are. For this option, a heated water base like the Farm Innovators Model HP-125 Heated Base might be your best option. You will need access to electricity in your run.
And of course, there are a few safety measures to follow. For instance, you can’t keep these in a coop because there is a fire risk. We also advise cleaning debris from the warmer daily. But all in all, these bases are great for any metal waterer.
8) Heated Pet Bowl
If you don’t have a metal waterer, you could always opt to buy a heated pet bowl. Often you can find bowls marketed for outdoor dogs for cheaper. These bowls need an electric source, but they are safer than metal water heaters. The only downside to using a heated dog bowl is that they are smaller than your typical chicken waterer. So it is best to use these for smaller flocks.
9) DIY Water Heater
Water heaters can be expensive. For some people, making your own DIY heater out of cement blocks is easier. All you need is a few tools
- Light fixture plus a 40-watt lightbulb
- Cinder block
- Flat stepping stone
Placing the light fixture and bulb inside the cinder block traps heat inside. And when you put a stepping stone on top, it creates a heated flat surface for your waterer to sit on. This simple trick will prevent chicken water freezing and saves you tons of money.
10) Insulated Waterer
In mild climates, you might not have to worry about freezing temperatures for too long. For winters like these, you can use an insulated waterer. These things are great because they trap heat inside, so if temperatures drop too much, your chickens will be fine. You can also use these insulated waterers with heated bases if the weather gets too nippy outside.
11) Tire Insulation
If you find that your insulated waterer isn’t enough, there is always to option to insulate it yourself. Using an old tire and bedding, you can protect your chicken water. All you need to do is dig a shallow hole in the ground wide enough for your tire. This step is essential because you will be using the natural geothermal heat to warm the water. Then you will place your tire in the hole with bedding to fill the gaps. Place your waterer in the center of the tire, and you are all set to go!
Are you wondering how to keep chicken water nipples from freezing? Some people use a small bit of grit to jam the water nipples. Doing this gives your waterers a constant and slow drip. With continuous movement, your water nipples have a very little chance of freezing over. Just remember to place a container under the drip. Otherwise, your run will have ice everywhere.
13) Hand Warmers
Do you have those hand warmers laying around that heat up when you open the pack? Did you know you can also use these to warm your chicken’s water? There are a few ways to do this. But the best way is to make an insulated waterer with this inside. The hand warmers will warm the space for about four hours. So while this isn’t the best solution, it does help for a while.
If you don’t already have a guard duck, maybe this benefit will push you to. Ducks can’t help but splash around in water once every few hours. Even in winter, your ducks will take a quick dip in the water trough. If you keep a duck with your flock, they will swim in the water enough that it will never freeze. Not only is this one of the 16 ways to keep chicken water from freezing, but it’s also beneficial for everyone. But before going out and buying a duck, it does come with different responsibilities. So only get one after you prepare yourself.
15) Start With Hot Water
Another obvious solution is to start with hot water. You don’t want to burn your chickens. But if you start with water at around 80-85 degrees, it should be fine. This method might buy you a few more hours before the water begins to freeze over. You might even get away with changing the water only twice a day.
16) Solar Power
Our final solution for winter chicken water is solar power. Solar energy gives you more freedom to use any method you want to prevent freezing. Whether you buy a solar heated water bowl chickens or use panels to power your existing heated waterer doesn’t matter. And your chickens will love the results.
What Method Do You Use?
Of these 16 ways to keep chicken water from freezing, you might have a favorite. Not every way works for everyone. And you might have your own unique way by combining a few of these methods. Let us know your secrets!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!