1) Start off with a tin can (this one is around 4 inches tall). You can pick these up at dollar stores or save them when you get chocolates and cookies :).
2) I bought a porcelain light socket with end fittings and use plugs that had been collected off appliances that no longer worked. For added safety you can also buy outdoor electric cords.
3) A hole is drilled through the tin can where a threaded light fixture nipple is passed.
4) I then placed double sided carpet tape along the inside wall of the can.
5) Last step! Add fire retardant insulation and test for a few hours in a safe place before installing in coop. I also added black electrical tape later on to the end of the nipple where the cord enters to help prevent chaffing of the wire.
On the first heated waterer I tried I didn't use insulation, and only installed a 15w bulb. It kept water open down to about -10C The one pictured below has a 25w bulb and insulation. I suspect it will keep water open down to around -20C
I've used my own heated waterers for 4 years now without incident.
6) Here is the waterer installed in the coop. It has been there for two weeks an has been on non-stop. It was -12c when I took this picture, and as you can see, the water is still open :) I also placed a step-up log close to the waterer for the bantams to jump up on. The water pan itself is made of a rubber material. If the water does freeze all you have to do is take a hammer to the pan to break the ice out...these pans will not crack or break and last forever. We have horse water buckets made of the same material that are 30 years old.
7) Here is another close up of where the cord passes into the tin. There's next to no chance for sawdust or other bedding to get into the tin.
Also remember, it is your responsibility to maintain the safety of your own coop at all times. If you are not comfortable with this method of keeping water from freezing in the winter, then don't use it! You take all personal responsibility if you use this idea.
Home Made Feeders
These are dead easy to make and very cheap.
Take a plastic bucket, cut 3-4 square holes about 1inch long and high near the bottom of the bucket. Next get a shallow dish of some sort, for the bantams I used large water catcher that you can buy for plant pots, and for the standards I used a large rubber pan, exactly the same as for the waterers just larger. Set the bucket in the pan and fill with feed.
Go back to Articles page