Disclaimer: This includes heat, electricity, and water. Build at your own risk.
If you own chickens and you live anywhere that it gets below 32 F (0 C) then you will have experienced the fun of hauling chicken water. Well, no more for me! Adam craftily created a DIY chicken water heater. The water heater only required a few simple materials and the best part?! NO electrical knowledge necessary, short of being able to plug a cord in an outlet.
If you want to make your own chicken water heater we saw the idea somewhere online (This is why we should bookmark regularly) but ended up needing to modify it to suit our needs.
Chicken Water Heater
Supplies and Tools
Extension Cord*: One with a flat socket area works best
Pluggable Light Socket*
Light Bulb(Start with 40 Watt): And yes it has to be one of the old school, electrical hogging, hot masterpieces of bulb work. The new fangled LED, while great for energy savings, does not get warm enough to do squat
Flat Head Screwdriver or a Masonry Chisel*(If you are fancy)
Duck (duct?) Tape: Probably the best choice, we couldn’t find our roll so I think we used some packing tape
Metal Chicken Waterer*
4 Kids (optional): To “help” with the shopping
Step 1 Get Chiseled
Alright, I completely missed this step. I may have been wrangling one of the kids, cleaning out the laundry room, or making some sort of food. In this family of 6 it feels like someone is always eating. Luckily Adam takes care of dinner, but I tend to handle the snack portions of the day. Anywho, I asked for him to explain this step. Here is how he notched out a section of block so the extension cord can poke through:
I used a masonry chisel (because we have one), but a large flathead screwdriver will do the same thing. Just take patience when doing it. It’s not the kind of thing where you hammer a few times and you’re done. Spend about five minutes slowly making the shape, and you’ll ensure you don’t break the cinderblock as a whole.
Who knew we had a masonry chisel?!
Step 2 Make a Mix Tape
Dry fit the block over the extension cord and onto the paver. Note where the extension cord sits then do this very, very technical maneuver. Tape that sucker onto the paver.
I know that seems a little rigged, but this is for chickens…
Step 3 Plug and Play
Now plug in your extension cord and set the paver in a nice level place inside your coop. What’s that you say? Your extension cord is too short?! Roll that back up and make another trip to Lowes for the correct length. Now that your paver is in the coop and your cord is plugged in, place the cement block over the cord. If you chiseled enough space the block-paver combo should sit nice, flush, and fairly level.
All you have to do now is put a bulb in the socket and plug it into the cord. If the light comes on you are mostly there!
We have a metal waterer that covered the entire hole making sure no water could accidently pour into the hole holding the electric components. However, I am a nervous nelly with electricity so I made sure to check the fit, how hot the chicken waterer was getting, how hot it was inside the block, etc. I think you really should monitor it too! I personally want my chicken fried by KFC and not by accident.
We had to play with the bulb size and placement to get it warm enough to keep liquid water when temps dropped to 15 F (-9 C)
The very edge of the water still seems to freeze from time to time, but the heater keeps the water warm enough that the chickens are able to peck through it with no problem.
Surprisingly, even the little bantams were able to reach the waterer. The redneck chickens seem to have giraffe necks.