Winter is a hard time for everyone. It gets hard for our chickens too because low temperatures freeze their water and the coop gets cold too. So, are you wondering how to keep chicken water from freezing?
It is tough and hard to keep chicken water in aqueous form during winter. Chickens require access to fresh drinking water despite the weather.
For busy chicken owners who have other matters to attend to, I know how stressful it is leaving your girls worried that they may dehydrate because their drinking water can freeze any time.
So, what is the remedy to keep chicken water from freezing? That’s why you are here and this article will offer a solution.
Salted water bottles
Chickens do not need any salty water in their bodies. In fact, salt is very harmful and it can damage their kidneys when consumed.
However, salted water bottles are a good way to slow down the rate at which their drinking water will freeze.
You are wondering how? As we know, salty water takes time to freeze compared to fresh water. So, floating bottles with brine will disturb the water breaking the surface tension.
These bottles will stir up the water making slowing the freezing process. This will keep the water in liquid form a little longer making your girls have access to drinking water.
When using this method, kindly use plastic bottles and not glass or metal cans. Plastic is a poor conductor and will not contract cold the same rate at which metal or glass will.
Keep several ducks
As we all know, ducks are water loving birds and adept swimmers. These critters will not spare any open water source and will dare swim no matter what.
Ducks will swim and splash the water causing disturbance to it and reduce the rate at which it would freeze.
Do not be afraid that the ducks will catch cold and chill. Their feathers are water proof because they are coated with some oils these birds secrete.
Heated chicken waterers
Heated chicken waterers are another good way to keep chicken water from freezing. They work well for those people who are connected with electricity or use solar power.
They are a bit costly but are a sure bet that your yellow hens have constant water supply. These chicken rearing tools will not only keep the water in liquid form but also make it a few degrees warm.
Heated waterers are available on various online stores like Amazon or on any tractor supply store near you.
In order to use these types of waterers, your chicken coop need to be connected with a power source either electricity or a solar panel.
There are heated waterers that have a thermostat. These are very economical in terms of power usage because they will automatically go on when the water is cold and turn off once the water is warm enough.
Some companies manufacture heated bases where you sit your waterer to keep the water worm. However, caution is important because some chicken bedding like straw and pine shavings can catch fire.
Chicken water heater
This works very similar to heated chicken waterers. Chicken water heaters are submerged inside the water to heat it and raise the temperature above freezing.
These heaters too require electricity or solar power to operate. Some creative farmers use hot rocks and sink them in metal waterers but the amount of heat they discharge does not last for long.
For you to get better results with submersible heaters, I would recommend you to use them with bucket nipple drinkers.
This way, the birds will not cause damage to the water heater by pecking at it. Water heaters can be used in duck pools and dog food bowls.
Float ping pong balls
Ping pong balls are very common in the tropics because they are used to discourage mosquitoes from laying their eggs in water tanks.
These floating ball toys will constantly disturb water by moving around and breaking the surface tension. This way, the water will not freeze easily.
They work on a similar way salted water bottles work. All these balls require is some air pressure to keep pushing them in various directions.
Ping pongs are good to people who use large water troughs with a big surface area. Although these balls do not offer a permanent solution because the water will eventually freeze, your boys will have access to drinking water a little bit longer.
Change the water yourself
If you are thinking how to keep chicken water from freezing, perhaps this is the first method that will come into your mind.
Changing the water is very effective but the most tedious method of them all. It will require you to go and check whether the ice has formed.
If you find an ice layer on top of the water, you will have to remove it or pour out the water and put some more fresh and ice free.
This is very hard especially if you are occupied with other chores. It is time consuming and can cause disturbance to easily scared chickens.
Keep the water inside a heated chicken coop
Heating your chicken coop is very good if you do not mind about a hefty power bill. This raises the temperature inside the chicken house and makes it a few degrees warmer than the outside.
This method is very common in areas that experience long winters. Keeping chicken water inside a heated coop will winterize a chicken waterer and keep the water ice free.
There are many coop heaters and chick heaters to use. The most common and widely used is the infra-red bulb.
This bulb will not only raise the chicken coop temperatures but also provide some lighting. It is common in many chicken brooders.
Apart from bulbs, some people use traditional charcoal stoves to heat their chicken houses. These will too provide heat but it is not easy to regulate the amount released.
They can cause fire especially if a piece of burning charcoal falls on the bedding material. Burning charcoal also releases high amounts of carbon monoxide which can kill your black chick breeds.
Use hot water
Hot water is a good way to thaw ice and raise water temperature a little bit. This requires you to boil some water in a pot.
After the water is hot enough, pour it on the solid ice in the chick waterer. It will slowly thaw all the ice and turn it back into liquid water.
However, it is very important you check the water temperature because if it gets too hot, it can kill your chickens.
Also stir it using a spoon or a stick so that the hot water mixes with the ice cold water. Then dip your finger to test whether it is too hot for the birds to drink.
Break up the ice
This is yet another tiring task of keeping chicken water free from freezing just like changing the water during the day.
Breaking up the ice will only work if you are around and have time to keep checking the state of the water.
This method involves breaking up the layer of forming ice. Normally, the ice layer starts forming on the edges of the waterer and floats on the surface.
You will be required to break and remove this layer so that chickens have access water. Because ice will keep forming, you will be forced to do this again and again until dusk.
The waterer will also be required to be filled at some point because each layer of ice removed, means some water removed too.
This method will not work if you are the type of a person who leaves for work in the morning and returns late in the evening.
It is not a reliable method at all since you can forget to check the waterers or get occupied by other chores.
Breaking up ice will not work for those are raising chickens in a large scale. This is so because there are many waterers that will require a large number of people to keep checking on them.
Use larger troughs
Larger water troughs are another awesome way to keep chicken water from freezing. This is because these troughs have a large surface area than smaller ones.
They are also deep and deep waters take longer for cold to penetrate and freeze. Because of the large surface area, it takes longer for water inside a large trough to freeze.
Plastic water troughs are good than metal troughs. Metallic materials are good conductors of cold and the water will freeze out quickly than that in plastic gallons.
Black tubs or old tyres
Old vehicle tyres and black tubs are another cheap alternative. Any black material placed on the sun will absorb heat more quickly.
This method will help to keep chicken water from freezing outside because sunshine is required. It will help you make good use of the short hours of sun during winter days.
It will heat up chicken water warming it up and keeping it free from freezing. An old tyre can be laid down and a 5 gallon waterer put at the center.
The black surface of the car tyre will absorb heat and help warm up the gallon waterer. This way, your white rooster breeds will have water to drink this winter.
Shutting the chicken coop door
Leaving the coop door open will allow the cold air from outside in. This will lower the coop temperatures and affect the chicken water too.
The water will easily freeze because it will get cold. Close the coop especially if it is heated after you are done collecting those eggs for breakfast.
Also, ensure that the ventilations are closed because leaving them open will allow cold air in. You can reduce the ventilations and leave only a few.
Make a small green house
This is a small sunroom with glass panes and a water tub under it. It will attract some heat from the sun giving your chickens a warm surface to drink from.
The water will get warm by a few degrees and slow the freezing process. This method is cheap and economical more than using heated chicken waterers.
Get a heated dog bowl
A heated dog bowl will work equally the same as a heated chicken waterer will. It will heat the water a few degrees warm and keep it ice free.
It requires electricity or solar power to operate. If you chicken coop is not connected to electricity, get an extension and have your chicken water heated.
What are the best waterers for chicken in winter?
Winter is a challenging time for you and your girls. They will still need water to drink despite the harsh cold weather outside.
Features of a best chicken waterer
When buying a waterer for your chickens, there are things you need to consider. At the end of the day, you want to get the best value of your money.
So, before swiping your card, consider this;
Size matters a lot when choosing a waterer for chickens. You need a vessel that will hold enough water so that when you are away, you are sure your hens have water.
It will also determine the number of waterers you need for your flock. If you choose a small waterer and you have a large number of birds, you will be forced to refill it more often or use several waterers.
Ease of use
A good chicken waterer should be easy to use. This means that it should be easy to refill and empty it to clean for anyone.
It should have a handle to make it easy to carry it from one point to another. The lid should fit properly to prevent dirt and other impurities from contaminating your chicken water.
Although cheap is expensive, you do not have to spend all you hard earned money on a single item. Go for an item that you can afford.
Most winter waterers require electric power to work. It is good you check the amount of power the item needs.
It is indicated on watts at either on the side or it comes with a manual. Choose a chicken waterer that is economical in terms of power usage.