How To Keep Your Chickens Water From Freezing
If you’ve read any of my previous posts about winter chicken care, you’ll know that I am a firm believer in NOT adding electricity to the chicken coop. You can read Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop for more details on why not.
So, in the snowbelt of Northwestern Pennsylvania, how have I been keeping my chickens from going without fresh water all winter long??
For the past few years I have been giving myself a lot of work! I have two 3 gallon waterers that I have been swapping out throughout the day.
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I’ve also been bringing them in every night to thaw them out completely. And let me tell you, if you forget to bring them in at night those babies are rock solid!!
This was not fun! I don’t have a thick layer of down to keep me warm out there, and I was getting pretty sick of it.
But thank you Lord! I have found a new way! AND I don’t have to raise my electric bill or compromise my beliefs of keeping electricity out of the coop.
Now, this trick is not only a life saver. It is free! But, I will suggest that if you don’t have a plastic gravity waterer, you invest in one. I have had the most success with this!
So what is this magic trick that helps me from running myself ragged in the frigid temps? SALT WATER!!
No, I am not giving my chickens salt water. That would be bad, very bad!
I am making salt water bottles to insert into the waterers. One simple step. That’s it.
Find a 20 oz. bottle (mine was Diet Coke, yes I know not healthy, but we all have our vices), add 1/4 cup salt and fill with water. Close up your bottle and place it in your waterer. That’s it!!
The first day that I tried this, the real feel got down to -7°F (real feel). I checked on it throughout the day and it never once froze!
There was a thin layer on the top of the dish but the chickens easily broke through it to get a drink. And just to be daring, I left it out all night. And guess what? No ice!!
So, what’s the science behind this? Here’s how it was explained to me. While the colder temps are trying to freeze the salt water (which has a lower freezing point) it is pulling energy through the fresh water and therefore slowing the freezing.
This will not stop freezing. Tank heaters can’t even do that. But this does help in giving us less trips to the coop throughout the day.
Do I typically leave the waterer out overnight? No. Especially not on nights that I know that actual temps will be below 0°. But, it is a help on those nights of hovering temps if I can’t make it out to grab it.
So if you’re like us and don’t/can’t add electricity to your coop this will save you endless trips out to refresh the water!
Well there’s one winter problem taken care of! What about eggs? Do you have them all winter? Check out how we manage to here!
Try it out and let us know if it worked for you! What tips do you have to help your flock out in winter?
Looking to raise dual purpose chickens like us? Grab a copy of Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did for tips from brooder box to butchering!
This post was shared onOur Simple Homestead Hop