Breeds of Chicken
Breeds of Duck
Breeds of Geese
Predators and control
Who we are
Jokes and stories
Pictures of our birds
Sources of birds
Selling eggs and meat
Moulting - feather loss
Pages collated by
Jill Bowis of
started November 1999
Sci. Agriculture. Poultry
These pages are being made
up from the wealth of practical and technical knowledge that can be found
on the newsgroup. None of the topics are finished - they probably
never will be - we always have something to learn. If there is something
you wnat to know that is not here - get on the group and ask - they are
a really friendly group and no question is too simple - and hopefully if
it is complicated someone will be able to help find the answer. The group
is made up from all walks of poultry keeping from 2 birds in the city to
commercial egg and meat producers - and from all over the world.
What do you do to keep their water from freezing in the winter?
A -Actually, nothing.
I have a two piece plastic feeder, which simplyscrews together.
First thing in the morning,
I go and get it, frozen over (it never quite freezes totally solid), and
bring it in. The plastic is flexible enough that it doesn't break,
and running it under hot water from the tap thaws it out enough to open.
Refill with hot water from
the tap, and put back outside, along with the days food. The water
in the drinking ring cools off right away, and the bulk of the water stays
warm for a while.
A - I use a commercial Water
Warmer, Looks like an upside down Oil change pan. Electric,sits under a
Stack Type Waterer and is kept inside the Coop. No problem with fire
and it is surrounded by Wood shavings. Does a good job and has never
caused a problem. Cost was about $20- at feed store.
Do chickens need water at night?
I live in NH, and I'm trying
to come up with a system to make sure my chickens have water in the morning.
I"ve been putting their waterer in the chicken house with them when I close
them up at night, but I'm wondering what to do when the weather gets colder
A- All I have done in past years
is let the water freeze and sometime the next morning I would give them
fresh water. After reading up on the subject I find I have been doing it
all wrong. So....this year I will
leave one waterer in the chicken
house for them to use while the light is still on. I will take a outside
waterer in the house for the night. When I go outside the next morning
to let the hens out of the coop I
will take the waterer out to
them and trade it for the one that became frozen during the night. This
takes more effort than a water heater but is much cheaper.
A - We have made
a heated 'base' by installing a bulb socket, cord coming out the side,
in the bottom of a 5-gallon plastic bucket, then setting a metal waterer
(2 to 8 gallon sizes all work) on it - works really well until the temps
get below 15F. (Use a 75-100 watt bulb, not a heat bulb in there...)
For those colder temps, we place
a heat lamp above the whole deal. Danger is, last winter had a bulb
burn out shortly after I had filled a 5-gallon setup, froze solid overnight,
and water expanded to the point that the welding gave way, producing a
A - Moving to a warm climate
may be the most elegant solution. Other than that, putting in buried
plumbing and an automatic waterer with heater tape to keep the above-ground
parts from freezing is probably best for inside the house. Giving
the hens access to a year-round ice-free brook is also good, if such a
thing exists in New England. If you have plenty of water but no electricity
near the house, a continuously-running waterer will work. This can
be awfully expensive if you have metered water.
Insulating the ceiling of the
henhouse and using deep litter (which gives off a lot of heat as it composts)
will help keep the temperature in the house above freezing. This
is more important for the pipes than for the birds, but they lay better
if they aren't exposed to continuous below-freezing temperatures.
A - Automatic waterers
are useful because when cold weather is due you can fix the ballcock
so it continues to trickle all the time - this way it won't freeze. Otherwise
we have used milk churns of water carried out daily to the hens - and an
extra supply of watereres in case you can't get the ones in the field open.
Kemps Koops online
poultry store - feeders