It's that time of year again when temperatures at night dip well below freezing, and we are fast approaching a time when even the daytime temperatures won’t get high enough to melt ice. So what's a cash-deficient homesteader to do? DIY a chicken water heater of course! This is a super simple project, and bonus points, you can accomplish it for just a few dollars with just a couple of supplies.
Before trying this, we went over to Tractor Supply and purchased a heated unit, which of course doesn’t work for us, or really anyone who doesn’t think watering the chickens should be a difficult task. It’s a large unit with a VERY short outlet cord and a plastic plug on the bottom.
Issue number one is that stupid short cord. I mean it, it’s stupid short. As in the cord is shorter than the length of the container. Since the electricity to our coop is mounted to the underside of the elevated coop, when the unit is plugged in it hangs at an angle and all the water spills out long before the chickens have drank any.
Issue number two is that plastic plug ON THE BOTTOM. Who designs these things? Even if I used an extension cord to sort out the power access I still have to remove the unit from its hook, turn it upside down without spilling ice-cold water on my already cold self and then fight with a plastic plug while wearing gloves. Plus, let’s be honest, how long is that stupid plug gonna last?
So, long story short that water heater unit is a hard no for us. If you’ve been facing similar issues, not to worry! We have you covered with this super simple, super cheap DIY chicken water heater.
DIY Chicken Water Heater Supplies:
A large tin with a lid. If you don’t already have one left over from last year's Christmas cookies you can usually find one at your local thrift store.
A lamp kit or old lamp you can disassemble
A 40-watt light bulb (Don’t use LED, they don’t generate heat)
Tin Snips or a drill with a bit large enough to feed your bulb base through.
E 6000 glue
DIY Chicken Water Heater Instructions:
Mark the location you would like for your bulb fitting to rest with a marker.
If using a drill simply drill your hole, if using tin snips carefully cut out the section to be removed. You may want to wear gloves for this step as it is easy to get cut when working with sharp metal edges.
Slide in your light bulb fitting and glue it in place with E600 or similar glue if necessary. Depending on the style of fixture you are using, your kit may come with a washer/sealer making this step unnecessary.
Screw in your light bulb. Test the fixture to make sure it works, and that’s it! You can now take your new water heater out to your coop!
So, as you can see it just doesn’t get any easier or cheaper than that. I bought my cookie tin at the thrift store for $2, My mom actually had the light fitting in her junk drawer and we already had 40W light bulbs on hand as that is what we use in the root cellar to keep the temp a few degrees warmer on cold nights so the cistern and pump aren’t compromised by the cold. This brings my total cost for a water heater to $2!
If you try this DIY Chicken water heater tell us all about it in the comments below, and as always,