Here it is, my homemade freeze proof chicken waterer. Cheap to run, hygienic, easy and inexpensive to build. Using a bucket, a Thermo Cube, an electric stinger, some styrofoam board, wire and a roll of duck tape I built a homemade freeze proof watering bucket. I have thought about doing such for years but finally set down and did it this winter.
During several weeks of testing it has performed flawlessly, using very little electricity and keeping the nipple on the bottom frost free down to single digits. It never got any colder than 8 degrees during my testing so I am not sure how cold of weather it can withstand. That stated I have no doubt it can handle much colder weather.
There are some commercial alternatives that run $40 or more, but I find them lacking. Without insulation they cost much more to run, are more expensive initially and are not user serviceable. I am equipping my tractors with this homemade waterer for next winter, ending the sport of ice bowl chucking at my farm. I also prefer a chicken nipple to the open water design of other styles which creates a mess and isn’t hygienic. The homemade bucket waterer also holds a lot more water.
The backbone of my simple design is a Thermo Cube that controls the water heater. The Thermo Cube can be purchased at many stores and online for around $12. Anything plugged into the thermo cube comes on at 35 degrees and turns off at 45 working as an inline preset thermostat.
I will jump straight into the meat of the matter, here is how I built it:
Tools I used:
I started by drilling small holes in the top corners of the bucket to attach the wire. The wire supports the stinger, keeping it in the center of the bucket directly over the chicken nipple. This location ensures the chicken nipple does not freeze up, and also keeps the stinger in the water.
I also drilled holes in the side of the bucket for adding a fill hose and a hole for the power cord for the stinger to exit the bucket. Then a hole was drilled in the bottom for the chicken nipple.
I then wired in the stinger, I cut from the overflow hole to the outside edge of the bucket so that I could slip the power cord for the stinger into the hole. I then wired the stinger from the corners of the bucket supporting the stinger and keeping it in the center towards the bottom of the bucket.
With the power cord for the stinger now on the outside it could be plugged into the Thermo Cube. I glued the Thermo Cube to the bottom of the bucket before putting any foam board on the bucket. By positioning the Thermo Cube towards the bottom of the bucket under the layer of Styrofoam it was perfectly positioned to control the waters temperature.
I put a small piece of pipe around the chicken nipple at the bottom of the bucket. This helps to shield the nipple from wind, and also protects the insulation from curious chickens.
I then just started cutting the Styrofoam to size and gluing it to the bucket on every edge.
Once all the sides and edges were covered in Styrofoam I put a layer of clear tape over everything. Then I tested the design.
After Several weeks of testing the concept was proven. The setup uses very little electricity. On a 8-15 degree day it used less than a third of a kilowatt, or about 3 cents. When I put the killawatt meter on a stock tank heater it was running $1.50 a day in electricity usage. Not a fair comparison, but that gives you an idea.
With that done I needed to protect the styrofoam from ingestion by my chickens. About half a roll of duck tape latter I had a darker colored covering that should help keep the water warm. I should have sprung for black tape. I don’t think the tape will survive much more than a season or two, but until I devise something better it works.
My Youtube Video
Materials Links affiliate links:
I had purchased my stinger on Ebay for $3 but cannot find it at that price any longer. These links are affiliate links for the lowest prices I could find.
New Books Added to the Free Book Page:
Dairy Farming 1862
Dairying Exemplified 1787
Facts for Farmers; Compost, Animals, Buildings, Crops, Irrigation 1865
Disease of Domestic Animal and Poultry
Dairy Farming 1912
Dairy Farming 1911
Farm Appliances a Practical Manual 1913
How to Begin and Survive a Commercial Gamebird Farm
Feeds and Feeding 1916
Managing Cover Crops Profitably Hairy Vetch 2007 Pamphlet
Farm Implements and the Principles of their Construction 1859
Forage Crops Oter Than Grasses1900
Farm Economy A Cyclopedia of Agriculture for the Practical Farmer 1915
Farm Buildings With Plans 1917
Fertilizers How to Make Them -1885
Dairy Farming What Cows to Buy How to House Feed….. 1912
I have updated my for sale page to reflect the current season and having hatching eggs available. Eventually I will have these breeds available this year:
Black Jersey Gaint
Rhode Island Red
Lewis Barnyard Mix
After three years of trying to get Midget white turkeys to work for us on our farm we have given up. Our remaining trio had two go to auction and one ended up as Easter dinner. I really wanted the turkeys to work on our farm, but after a disaster with black head and infertility problems as well as character problems with the turkeys killing chicks and beating up on chickens we have had enough.