Well, we are still in the middle of winter in Upstate New York. For the first time, we have chickens to consider.
Gone are the days of relishing a big Nor-easter. Gone are the days of scoffing at near-zero temperatures. (Ha! We are hardy peoples. What’s a little snow squall?) Gone are the mornings of waking up to a blanket of the whitest snow and thinking only of how pretty it is. Gone, gone, gone.
I still enjoy the seasons and think snow is pretty, but I have a bigger weight on my mind now.
Our challenge has been finding the right way to keep them “watered” and to keep said water from freezing. At night we remove the water from the coop. Reason: keeping coop dry on inside is essential in winter to help avoid conditions that could cause frostbite on combs and waddles. Bekah, another chicken keeper and blogger, made the recommendation and we believe it’s a good one.
During the day, however, we put a waterer in the coop and a hanging waterer under the coop out of the wind. In the beginning, we were going out several times a day to clear out the ice and/or add a little warm water to the hanging waterer (in particular). Not ideal. The water could freeze pretty quickly in both places.
First, we bought a heated waterer base. Actually, it was listed as a “Universal Waterer Deicer” at Tractor Supply. I brought it home and opened the box. I took it out. It seemed… huge. No, this was not going to work. Back to Tractor Supply to return it before the item touched The Chickery.
Next up: a heated plastic “dog water bowl” per the recommendation of staff at Tractor Supply. This we used for a little over a week, but it mostly just collected dirt and feathers. It didn’t feel sanitary (enough). So we pulled that out. But, I do think for some set-ups it’s a viable, inexpensive option – it just didn’t go well with our coop run configuration.
As I had a coupon at Tractor Supply and bought it for just over $16, we kept the bowl. Who knows, we might find a use for it. You can also get it on Amazon.
Third time was a charm – we think. As I type this, it’s been a week of using the “Heated Poultry Fount.” This is working better. We ran a heavy-duty extension cord out to the coop run and the fount sits under the ramp to the coop. We wrapped plastic and tape around the plugs and work to keep the fount out of the elements (to some success). It’s not perfect, but it’s keeping the water from freezing.
I want to add that we still put a fresh waterer in the coop all day (although, I’m not sure if it’s really being used or if it’s just being filled with pine shavings for sport) AND we include a fresh hanging water under the coop every morning. And we check those both throughout the day to combat ice. Mr. Gordon was a little like… So, you are still putting out the other water? (After we installed the heated fount.)
Yes, Mr. Gordon, yes we are. I’m compulsive and you know it.
Here are some photos. Note, I’m showing you the bottom and the cap that you can remove to refill the water FROM the bottom, but I don’t do it that way. I take it apart and wash it.
So That’s What We’ve Done
What about you? How do you keep the chicken water from freezing if you are in a climate that gets as cold ours (or colder)? Share a tip / idea in the comments below! I’d love to learn some more good ideas!
In Other News…
Gert’s feathers are growing back in. Thank goodness! But don’t worry, the chickens still want to keep me on my toes. It seems that at least one other Barred Rock and two Australorps thought it would be amusing to do a soft molt in the cold weather. (face palm)
And finally… The Girls say hello. 🙂
February Blog Drop
This post is part of the February Blog Drop! You might also enjoy: