How to Keep Chicken Water From Freezing: 10 Hacks You Can Execute Today

how to keep chicken water from freezing

Are you dumping out frozen water several times a day at your chicken coop? It can become an annoying process, especially as the temperature dips below zero. 

Chickens need access to fresh water to stay alive and to produce eggs.

If you are wondering how to keep chicken water from freezing, we have the answers!

Luckily, there are a few methods you can try, not all of which involve electricity. While electric options are great, the location of your chicken coop may make that impossible.

Don’t fret, there is always a solution!

The Traditional Backyard Aquaponics System'

What You Will Need

You will not need every item on this list in order to keep your chickens’ water warm. Take a look through and see what method will work best for you, and you can go from there!

What You Need

  • Black rubber tub
  • Ping pong balls
  • Soda bottle
  • Table salt
  • 1 or 2 glass panes
  • Cinder block
  • Light bulb
  • Light bulb holder
  • Extension cord
  • Electric dog bowl
  • Ducks!
  • Aquarium water heater
  • Upside down chicken waterer with nipples
  • Heated chicken water plate
  • Heated chicken waterer

10 Tricks To Keep Your Chickens Water From Freezing Without Electricity

methods 1 to 6 are ways to stop your water from freezing without electricity - the remaining items makes use of electricity.

What should you do?

Its up to you - all options are simple, easy and low investment. Just choose whichever one speaks to you and take action! No time to waste when its this cold.

The Traditional Backyard Aquaponics System'

​​​1

Use a Large Rubber Tub

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

One of the best methods is to use a large, black rubber tub set in the sunlight.

While the metal tubs seem like a good choice, they will actually freeze faster than their rubber counterparts. 

Black rubber, on the other hand, absorbs the sunlight and heat, preventing the water from freezing for a bit longer.

Plus, the larger the tub, the slower it’ll freeze!

2

Ping Pong Balls

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Another great trick is to put ping pong balls in the rubber tub.

You may be skeptical that this will work!

However, the breeze moves the balls throughout the water, preventing ice from forming. Eventually, the water will freeze, but this makes it take longer.

This method is great if you are wondering how to keep water trough from freezing.

3

Salt Water Bottle

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Many people suggest putting a salt water bottle in chicken waterer to prevent it from freezing.

No, you aren’t adding the salt directly to the water. That would be bad for your chickens, so please don’t try it!

To make your own salt water bottle, take a plastic soda bottle, fill it with water and add ¼ cup of table salt.

If you are wondering what the salt to water ratio to prevent freezing is, there is no perfect amount as freezing will still eventually occur.

You can adjust the amounts of water and salt based on the size of your bottle and waterer.

After making the bottle, just put it into your waterer.

It isn’t a perfect science, but if you are wondering how to keep water from freezing in chicken coop without electricity, this trick might work for you!

Take a look at this article on The Frugal Chicken, if you’re interested in learning more about this method.

4

Start with Warm Water

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

As you refill your chickens’ water throughout the day, try adding some warm water to the bowl instead.

Lukewarm water will take longer to freeze, giving you a break from having to change it again.

Granted, warm water doesn’t stand much of a chance if the wind chill is in the negatives - it’ll still freeze, just not as fast!

5

Attract the Sunlight

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Another method for chicken owners who are wondering how to keep water from freezing without electricity is to create a sort of sunroom for your chickens.

Create one or two walls around your chicken water with glass panes.

The glass will attract the sunlight, creating a nice sunny spot for your water, which will slow down the freezing process. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your chickens and their water a bit warmer this winter, check out this easy-to-make sunroom from Sugar Mountain Farm .

6

Get Some Ducks

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Seriously!

You already have some chickens, so ducks aren’t a far stretch!

Ducks love to splash in the water, even when it’s cold. They will be fine; they have down to keep them warm.

So long as your trough is nice and large, the ducks will want to splash and play, preventing the surface from turning to ice.

If you’re considering adding some ducks to your flock, learn how to integrate them here.


Options for an Electric Chicken Water Heater

Ok - as I mentioned earlier, the remaining items make use of electricity....so you'll need access to power. Duh.

7

Make Your Own Chicken Water Heater

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

A quick search online will bring up dozens of ideas for a DIY chicken water heater - just make sure you are doing so safely.

Some of those ideas may cause a fire, such as the popular cookie tin heaters.

One good idea is to try a light bulb inside of a cinder block.

The rough surface stops the water container from sliding, and the cinder block won’t catch fire. Check out this step by step guide on how to easily make a cinder block heater.

8

Electric Dog Water Bowl

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

If your coop does have access to electricity, an electric dog water bowl is a great solution. They are rather inexpensive, durable and safe.

Plus, you don’t have to make it yourself!

9

Aquarium Heater

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Some people like to use a submersible chicken water heater.

You can purchase a small aquarium heater that sits in the water and keeps it warm.

Aquarium heaters tend to work best if you are using upside down or bucket nipple waterers. Using this method prevents the chickens from pecking the heater and damaging it.

10

Head to a Farm and Fleet Store

How Much Space Do I Have To Work With

Farm and fleet stores typically sell heated chicken waterers.

You can also find a chicken water heater for plastic waterers that looks like a metal plate that you sit the waterer on.

The major downfalls with these options are that they are pricey, and you will need at least one electrical extension cord to make it happen.

If you want to save money, try a different route.


WARNING: are you making these common chicken water mistakes?

You may wonder if there is an additive to keep water from freezing.

Chicken owners have tried everything from molasses and apple cider vinegar to wine.  

It is important to be aware that while many people may have used these additives, there is not much scientific research to back up claims that they are healthy, or even safe for your chickens.

Take a look at this article on ChickenWaterer.com, explaining this lack of evidence to support the use of apple cider vinegar as a water additive.

Many chicken owners have also asked how much salt to keep water from freezing, that they can add to their chicken waterer.

Unfortunately, it would take more salt than is safe for your chickens to consume to stop it from freezing.

Drinking salt water will dehydrate your chickens rather than hydrate them, so don’t risk it!

The safety of your chickens is paramount, but it is one piece of the puzzle. For more tips on raising your chickens, check out this ultimate guide.

Remember: keep your chickens’ water just that - water - and instead use one (or more!) of the options listed above.


Now you know how to keep your chickens hydrated in winter

Figuring out how to stop your chickens’ water from freezing is a trial and error process. What works for your neighbour might not work for you!

However, it is important to find a method that works for your flock so you can keep your chickens healthy and comfortable.

Give a few of these ideas a try and let us know what worked best for you in the comments.

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