bwilliams... question about using crock pot to keep poultry water from freezing : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Searching the poultry forums I found an old post (12/11/00) by bwilliams saying that an old crock pot is used in their chicken house to keep the water from freezing. I've got questions!! How long did the crock pot hold up? I wouldn't think they would last long if turned on all the time. I'm very interested in knowing more about this. We live in N central Ohio... so the crock pot would get a work out. I know where I can buy heated 5 gallon buckets... I was just about to start searching for something smaller for the poultry. The crock pot idea intrigues me... I need to investigate how safe it is. I hope you see this post.. or someone else with 'crock pot experience' Thanks, Renee

-- Renee at briar creek (, November 28, 2001


Renee try a heated watereer that holds one gallon or less from you local feed store. They are electric generally.

-- Anne (, November 28, 2001.

Renee, Crock Pots are about a dime a dozen in the used stores like Salvation Army etc. so plug them in on site to make sure they heat at all and buy several at one time. Cheaper than the dog water electric pan I bought and it is giving me a little shock now, one year use. We are having a colder than usual winter so our water would be a brick without help. Maureen at Ravens Roost in Alaska

-- Maureen Stevenson (, November 29, 2001.

If by some miracle I EVER have electricity in my barn (where my coop is) I am wondering:

Don't the chickens peck at the extension cords?


BTW this is the best tip I've heard in a LONG while! Thanks for this practical advice.

-- Ann Markson (, November 29, 2001.

I don't raise chickens (yet) but I have an idea I like to have comments on. Instead of a crockpot or an electric dog waterer, How about using a pump (like what is used in a fish tank) to circulate the water. Arrange the pan on the inside wall inside the coop, with the pump mechanism on the other side of the wall (so the chickens won't peck at it), but still inside the coop.

Would this work? this type of pump is made to run almost contantly circulating water (which of course wouldn't freeze if it is circulating) an added benefit is, if wanted, the water could also be sent through a filter to cleanse it.

Just an idea I thought of -- comments please??


-- MissJudi (, November 29, 2001.

Renee, just a thought even on low a crockpot cooks food wouldn't this get the water TOO hot. I've never heard of anyone doing this so I really don't know. I think Miss Judi's idea of just circulating the water is a good one. I may get my husband to rig up something. This is our first year with chickens and it is already getting old having to go out in the cold just to change the frozen water. If my husband comes up with something I'll let you know. Good luck!

-- Lou Ann in KY (, November 29, 2001.

We've started simply dumping the water at night, and carrying out a gallon of hot water in the morning--no fighting the ice to do the refill.

-- mary (, November 29, 2001.

Like Anne said, you can buy a gallon waterer from a farm supply store for 19 dollars, the chickens will ignore the cord, keep everything connection wise well electrical taped, and use the heavy duty orange cords made for outdoor use. Elevate all connections off the ground with a small stone or brick outside to keep out of standing water.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, November 29, 2001.

I have been using the crock pot on low for 2 winters now. Works great! Only problem is the chickens want to perch on it and well you can guess the rest. I just change the water daily. They have not once pecked at the cord. I have the cord running to the ceiling which is plugged into a long extension cord which runs to our house. I can easily unplug the cord at night but haven't. As someone said, used crockpots are cheap. I use the older tall kind. I had this one on hand but when it dies, I'll buy a used one at a flea market/yard sale. I've seen them real cheap.

-- ugly (, November 29, 2001.

By the way, the water does not get too hot because the lid is not on it!

-- ugly (, November 29, 2001.

I own a heater for my bird bath. Why wouldn't that work for chickens? Keeps the water thawed in the coldest temps. I have had birds land various parts without damage to them (birds or parts).

-- Chris in PA (, November 29, 2001.

Read sissy's post called, "Neat Rabbit idea" recently. Her husband used those insulated things that go around coke cans for their rabbit waterers. Wonder if you could fashion some insulation around it after putting warm water inside?

-- Ann Markson (, November 29, 2001.

I do the same as Mary, Just take out a pail of warm water from the house in the morning for them. They will learn to drink it, before it freezes. Certainly a lot cheaper than running a crockpot and a lot safer. What if the water spills out, and it overheats?Or the cord overheats? I wouldn't chance it.

-- Kate henderson (, November 29, 2001.

JUDY... I don't know if a pump would work or not! Interesting idea. I don't need to keep a huge waterer in the coop.. only have 16 chickens.

I'm concerned about the days when the water freezes solid in a short amount of time. WINTER TEMPERATURES HERE...we usually have a cold spell lasting ten to fourteen days where the daytime temp is only 0 to 5 degrees. There are other 0 degree days here and there. Plenty of single digit temps and temps in the teens. (We get mild temps above freezing, too)

My *traditional* method is to switch to RUBBER water buckets/bowls for all outdoor animals when we start getting low enough temps to freeze the water. The rubber containers are flexible and I smack them with the side of an old axe handle until all the ice pops or breaks out.

ELECTRIC WORRIES: I have ground fault outlets in my horse barn and would have to run a heavy duty cord over to the coop and rig it up so it is tamper proof.

We have a large Goodwill store and their prices are getting outrageous. I never shopped for a crockpot... but never noticed any. I asked the clerks today. They said they will occaisionally get one and they usually are priced from $5 to $8. Maybe $3 if there's no lid-- which would be fine in my case.

Thanks for all the good ideas and cautions. Renee

-- Renee (, November 29, 2001.

I've heard of some people spraying their rubber water buckets with a cooking oil spray. They say it works well as the ice comes right out and animals don't mind the taste. I never tried it. Sounds expensive and I can't believe my horses would like the water. Chickens might not mind. I've also heard of people mixing (if I remember correctly) glycerine in the water to keep it from freezing. Supposedly it will get slushy--but not freeze solid. Someone else might know if glycerine is the ingredient. This also seems expensive and not tasty. Never investigated it. Renee

-- Renee (, November 29, 2001.

I use a large (5 gallon?) plastic pail with a warming unit embedded in it for my geese. This crew will eat anything, including the siding on the barn! The electrical cord came with a thin wire wound around it, but to better protect it, I put the cord through a length of pvc pipe to prevent the birds from chewing up the cord and roasting themselves before their time!

-- bluetick (, November 29, 2001.

We do not have electricity to the chicken house so we have to do what has been done for generations. Like someone said before, we bring the watering can inside in the evening and take out fresh warm water every morning. They all get a good drink all day. So far, it is only freezing at night. Will have to do this several times each day if the temp drops below 20. We gather the eggs at least 4 times each day when it is cold anyway so no problem with doing water at the same time.

-- Belle (, November 29, 2001.

I am in New York State where freezing temperatures also are all day, - -10 or lowerfor weeks at a time.So like the above post, if you are going out anyway couple times to get eggs, replace water than as well.

-- Kate henderson (, November 30, 2001.

About the water pump. That would help if you just get down to around freezing, but if you maintain a cold temp for very long the pump will freeze too. My goldfish pond has a heavy duty pump in it and it froze solid last year. I am only in Ok and not way up North like some of you. We do what some of the others do. We take a kettle of warm water out there every day. During the coldest days we go out there and pour some boiling water on top to make the top of the water drinkable at least for a while, several times a day.

-- Nan (, December 02, 2001.

Snow. I have given my chickens a chunk of snow (Yes, I give them water, too) on days when I will have to be away from home for hours. If the chickens can't be outside because of snowcover and the temp. is freezing I give them some snow ALONGSIDE their water. At least they have something wet to peck at before I get back towards evening to bring them more water. I find it interesting that my horses drink a lot less water when there is snow cover. If the temperatures are equally cold but there is no snow... they drink. Some people have told me that horses don't eat snow... but mine evidently do. Renee

-- Renee (, December 02, 2001.

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