Dual-purpose Chickens – 8 – Winter Water

In fall of 2014 I decided I wanted to raise some dual-purpose chickens.  My focus is on a breed that lays good eggs which can be incubated to raise “panfry” broilers, pre-Cornish-Cross size meat birds.  So, how do I keep the water from freezing?

One of banes of winter is frozen livestock water.  In the past, we’ve use 3 plastic 1 gallon waterers and rotated them throughout the day, bringing the frozen  ones in to thaw.  This was not an optimal solution.


I did some searching and was intrigued by an idea of using a tire to accumulate solar heat, and straw and a board inside the tire as insulation.  However, that would not work around here once the temperatures dropped well below freezing.


The idea I settled on was to use a concrete block with a light bulb inside, especially since the coop was going to be close to a power source.  It was easy to make.  Just an extension cord, a plugin light receptacle, a cooking tin, and a concrete block.  Put the cord, receptacle , and light bulb together and slid them into the concrete block.

base    light

To keep the block sitting level, either chisel a grove in the concrete block or sit the block on two pieces of wood and run the cord in-between the two pieced of wood.


And cover with a tin pan, to keep moisture away from the light.  Although I have metal waterers, I’m using the plastic ones as I think they handle the water freezing better.


I’m using a 60W bulb an it has worked pretty good.   So far this year,  most days stayed above 20 degrees , but  a few days were close to zero.  These days produced some frozen “rings” higher up in the waterer;  however, the tray stayed unfrozen and the chickens had unfrozen water to drink.    One thing to watch out for is that when the water gets close to being out, the waterer is lighter and easy to knocked off.


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