Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Chicken Water Heater

During the winter months, chicken care is pretty minimal.  The windows in the coop are closed for the winter and the interior of the coop is filled with plenty of straw and dry leaves.  Besides collecting the manure that piles up under the roosting pole, there's not much else to do on a regular basis except provide fresh water, food, and occasional heat.

The chickens stay inside most days with 24/7 access to the run.  I don't let them free-range without my constant presence because of many predators (e.g. dogs, foxes, hawks) roaming about with very little tree canopy cover for protection.  Last winter, egg laying continued even during the winter months because the coop is situated in such a way that they receive the early morning sun when it clears the hill and the sun shines consistently in the coop until around 3 pm.

This year we purchased a heated warming base for the waterer because we went on vacation for 2 weeks and didn't want the chicken sitters to hassle with frozen water dishes.  After reading reviews online, we settled on the Farm Innovators Heated Water Base for $47 at our local feed store.  One design feature I liked about this particular heater is that it is thermostatically controlled so it's not running constantly.  Jon did have to do a bit of wiring in the coop since the closest plug-in was about 25 feet away and the instructions specifically state to not use an extension cord.  In the coop it is elevated off the floor using 2 cinder blocks.

Two days after returning home, the night time temperature dropped to -5F with a wind chill of -30F.  For added precaution, we added a warming light aimed towards the roosting pole and closed access to the outdoor run for heat retention.

While we were away for 2 weeks, one of the barred rocks took a beating from the other chickens.  From the picture on the right you can see the missing feathers behind her comb.  Thankfully no blood was drawn, but we are watching her closely.  Opening up the main barn for the chickens to roam will hopefully quell some of the fighting.

I want to mention that we found this really cool handmade heated water base on the Flying T Ranch Blog using an old flat circular cookie tin and an incandescent light bulb.  As tempting as it was to make this, we didn't think it would be safe to leave it plugged in for 2 weeks straight in case of a fire; and asking the chicken sitter to turn it on and off would be another request.  We really do try and make it easy for the folks who watch our home and chickens while we are away.


Chicken Water Heater December 8, 2014 at 6:40 PM  

During the winter months, chicken care is pretty minimal. The windows in the coop are closed for the winter and the interior of the coop is filled ...

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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