Thursday, January 19, 2017

Keeping Chicken Water Thawed without Electricity

There is nothing more important for a chicken's (or human's) health than fresh water.  Having constant access to fresh thawed water during a Michigan winter can become a bit tricky.

I've heard great things about heated waterers, - like this one - heated bases, - like this one - and even heated bowls - like this one - to keep your water in or on.  The problem?  We don't have electricity that runs to our coop so these are not an option for us.

What I have found are two solutions that *help* keep the water thawed for a longer period of time.  These are not fool-proof and will not keep the water thawed and fresh all day in below freezing temperatures, but I'm only having to go out every 4 hours or so to check the water, not every hour.

First up is a Salt Water Bottle. Take a small bottle (I used a small Gatorade bottle) and fill it 1/3 of the way with salt.  Fill the rest of the way with warm water, close tightly, and shake to dissolve the salt.  Place the saltwater bottle (make sure it's sealed tight!) in your waterer and fill as normal.  

The saltwater bottle will act as an insulator to the water and will slow the freezing process.  This does a decent job with the temperature is in the teens and twenties.  I checked on the water after about 5 hours in 13 degree weather and there was just a thin layer of ice in the trough with water available underneath the ice.  The ice was thin enough that the chickens could easily put their beak through it to drink.


Even leaving the waterer outside overnight, in below zero temperatures, the water never froze solid.  

Tip/Trick number two are these little heat packs. (Find them here.)

These stay warm for up to 10 hours and really help keep the water thawed when the temperature drops around and below zero.  I just activate one and place it under the spout of the waterer on the ground.

While neither of these methods will keep your water completely thawed, they do prolong the freezing process and keep you from thawing water out all day long.  If you have any other tips or tricks to keeping water thawed that does not involve electricity, please share them with me!

~ Sara :)

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