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Dealing with frost for chicken drinks?

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  • Dealing with frost for chicken drinks?

    First proper frost has frozen our taps and the drinker.

    We use a water butt but that will freeze in prolonged frost.

    Any tips how to deal with this? I don't suppose there are any non toxic alternatives to salt you can add to water and keep it from freezing? Or should I try to give them hot water to warm then up?

  • #2
    I use the shallow flexy tub trugs so the ice on top can usually be broken quite easily. Failing that I just top the trugs up with a large bottle of cold water from the tap indoors.
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    • #3
      Don't use warm or hot water - the reduced level of oxygen will cause it to freeze faster, causing you more problems. Don't add salt to the water.


      Common Solution - Double the number of drinkers - Swap out frozen one 2 or 3 times a day. Metal drinkers are less likely to split when they get frozen. Many people switch to basins or the like in winter to make it easier to empty as they defrost.


      If you need to be away, you do get heaters to stop water freezing
      Last edited by 4Shoes; 04-12-2018, 02:04 PM.

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      • #4
        Float a ball in the top, makes the frozen bit easier to crack.

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        • #5
          I don't keep chickens myself, so only a thought here - would it be any advantage to put the main water vessel inside the coop and run a pipe outside to a drinker ? - that way the heat inside from the birds might help keep the supply above freezing.

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          • #6
            I check their water when I let the chooks out in the morning.
            Once it starts freezing, I put a 2nd container in their run and keep one empty and the other full. Take fresh water down every morning, filling one and emptying the other one at night when they go to bed.
            Something like that anyway!

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            • #7
              ^^^ snap
              "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nickdub View Post
                I don't keep chickens myself, so only a thought here - would it be any advantage to put the main water vessel inside the coop and run a pipe outside to a drinker ? - that way the heat inside from the birds might help keep the supply above freezing.
                It would solve the freezing issue but would (for me at least) be impractical as the coop isn't that large.

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                • #9
                  Main issue is our coop is quite far from the house and mains water, hence installing the water-butt and rainwater collection. I haven't found out yet how cold it has to be to freeze a water-butt but I figure it will freeze as it sits very still. Maybe on those days we just have to slog down with fresh water.

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                  • #10
                    Probably will only help fractionally but what about lagging your butt - bubble wrap, old wool blanket etc.
                    Leave a bottle/ bucket in the butt to take water out of the top (yes, I am enjoying say 'butt')

                    Unfortunately not much can be done about the tap side of things.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by d000hg View Post
                      Main issue is our coop is quite far from the house and mains water, hence installing the water-butt and rainwater collection. I haven't found out yet how cold it has to be to freeze a water-butt but I figure it will freeze as it sits very still. Maybe on those days we just have to slog down with fresh water.
                      If it's a plastic water butt they will often split if left to freeze too many times so covering it as NG had suggested may help.

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                      • #12
                        If it was closer I might get an aquarium heater and dunk it in, for brewing I have a temperature probe so can set it to an arbitrary target temp like 2C. But it would mean trailing an extension lead a long way. If we get a forecast of a week of freezing temperatures I might bother... in the UK obviously it's not reliably cold enough to bother with this stuff in most cases.

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                        • #13
                          I assume you check on the chooks every day - so carry a watering can of water with you when you do. No need for heaters and electrics!!

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                          • #14
                            How many birds are we talking about? can you not put bottles of water in a wheel barow (you can even get proper 50l wheelbarrow bottles if needs be) and take to from the house to the chooks?
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by d000hg View Post
                              First proper frost has frozen our taps and the drinker.

                              We use a water butt but that will freeze in prolonged frost.

                              Any tips how to deal with this? I don't suppose there are any non toxic alternatives to salt you can add to water and keep it from freezing? Or should I try to give them hot water to warm then up?
                              When we had hens in the garden I used to coat the drinkers in veg oil before filling with water, and dropped a bulb of garlic in the drink tray. The oil stops it freezing right to the edge and the girls would move the garlic which broke the ice.. only a real hard freeze caused problems

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