The Best Waterers for the Winter Months

For those of us who live in areas that experience cold or harsh winters, keeping fresh water available for your flock can be challenging at times. It never fails, when you think you have the best solution for your freezing waterer issue, Mother Nature throws a curveball with something like a polar vortex. We all know that “someone” who uses heat lamps over their waterers to help keep them defrosted.  But let’s face it; this is not the safest solution.  

Living in and raising poultry in northeast Ohio has taught me a lot about how to be prepared for “winter weather.” A few factors have forced me to learn what works best, so I can make sure my flock stays hydrated even in the most frigid of temperatures. I choose to have outdoor waterers for my flock to eliminate extra moisture inside the coop, which also brings added challenges as they are more exposed to the elements. Not having a water source near my coop, and having to turn my outside hose lines off due to the freeze leaves me with having to find the best options for my homestead.

Water Solutions That Work For My Homestead

The automatic electric heater base is a fantastic product that I use every winter. This year will be our 4th winter using the same heated base, so it has proven to be a well made sturdy option. We set a plastic waterer on top of it, but a metal waterer will work as well. The base does not get warm enough to melt the plastic but stays warm enough to keep your water defrosted during cooler temperatures. The electric heater base will keep water defrosted in temperatures down to 10 degrees. It is not the best solution for those that experience temperatures lower than 10 degrees.

Our winter temperatures do dip into the single and even negative digits. I have found that I need to have something more powerful on hand to keep the waterers from freezing. The chicken Waterer De-icer works fantastic and has never let me down. I have used it with my poultry as well as other livestock using rubber bowls and buckets. This option is excellent for temperatures dipping below zero. If you are using metal stock tanks to hold water for larger animals, I would recommend the Traditional Floating Heated De-icer. However, this particular de-icer is intended for use only in metal stock tanks.

Meyer Hatchery also carries a Heated 2.25 Gallon Nipple Waterer. This product is great for those that experience incredibly frigid temperatures, as it will keep your flock’s water defrosted down to -20 degrees. This waterer being smaller in size would be ideal for smaller flocks or as a secondary water source. The Three Gallon Heated Poultry Fount is another fantastic option for cold weather. This waterer keeps water defrosted down to 0 degrees. The great thing about this waterer is that it has a thermostat that only turns on when needed, so it is not continually running, which saves electricity and gives you peace of mind that your flock has fresh water.

What Others Suggested

We reached out to some of our customers on social media to see what their favorite waterer/system is in the winter.  We found that many people love using heated pet bowls. They are a good option since they are thermostatically controlled and only heat when needed. These work great for small poultry and for those who raise ducks or geese. Another perk is that they are super easy to clean! A great tip if you do not have access to water at your coop. Make sure to save your old juice or milk containers as since they work great for transporting water to your birds.

Lisa Steele suggested adding a few ping pong balls to your water bowl. As they bob in the wind, your waterer will keep defrosted a bit longer.

Some suggested keeping your outdoor waterers in a space where the sun will shine on it directly during the day. The sun is a great tool to utilize when you are not able to access electricity at or near your coop space. Taking a couple of old windows and making a tent around your waterer will also act like a sunroom keeping your waterer warmer. A few suggested simply alternating waterers. In the morning, take out a fresh waterer and bring the frozen one indoors to defrost. Once defrosted, you can then do the exchange again, allowing your flock to enjoy clean water at all times.

I hope this blog has given you some hope of fewer struggles with frozen waterers this winter and for many winters to come. Sometimes it takes a few different options to find the best fit for you and your flock. I wish you a warm and defrosted winter season!

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