17 Best Ideas About DIY Chicken Water Heaters

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Being a backyard chicken enthusiast is no piece of cake, you would agree if you too have been there and done that! As if breeding those little chickens wasn’t already a challenge, come winter and the woes double up. Trying to keep the chicken coup warm enough for the chicks, making sure the egg supply is still great, and most importantly – providing your chickens with freshwater supplies are just a couple of things to worry about out of a long, impending list.

Thus, after careful scrutiny, we have created this knowledge reserve to share with you in order to help with the daunting challenge of keeping the chicken water heated throughout winters at all costs. While some options involve a prominent starting investment and the presence of electricity, others are low-budget options you can conjure up at a thrifty price. Here we go!

​1. Cookie Tin Water Heater

Cookie tin water heater

​A very promising and highly economic way out of this one, cookie tin or any similar metallic container can be utilized to keep that water from freezing away in the cold weather. Easily under $10, one does not require any professional skills, all you need is

  • A cookie tin (made of metal), an incandescent light bulb preferably offering 40W and above, a small drill and drill bit from your garage, lamp assembly kit and just 10 minutes.
  • Drill a hole on any side of the container.
  • Thread the lamp assembly in through the drilled hole, tighten the screw here.
  • Fix the incandescent light bulb, power on through a light socket and there you go!
  • Now all you have to do is place the cookie tin atop a level surface for it to reach around the height of the chickens, place the waterer (metallic or plastic) above the tin and let the heat do its job

​The ideas from: the-chicken-chick.com

​2. Light Bulb Heater – Concrete Block

Light bulb heater – concrete block

​Another thrifty solution, the cinder/concrete block light bulb water heater can help you achieve the task at hand for just $5! No, not kidding! All you need to do is

  • Get hold of a half cinder block, a ceramic tile, a hammer and something like a screwdriver, extension cord, duct tape, a light bulb (25w, 40w or 75w), and finally a plug or a light socket adapter.
  • Create a notch with the help of a screwdriver and hammer at the already placed indentation.
  • On the ceramic tile, tape on the extension cord over which your light bulb is fastened. Plug the cord into the adapter or power socket.
  • Carefully place the block of concrete – make sure the cut you made is over the wire, so as to not chip into it.Switch on the power supply and place the waterer on top of this assembly. The easiest way to keep the water heated for your pet chickens! In case of extremely low temperatures, amp up the heat by replacing the existing bulb with that of higher wattage

​The ideas from: citygirlfarmingblog.com

​3. Clay Pot Water Heater

Clay pot water heater

​The clay pot water heater idea is the humblest and simplest of all. Al you need for implementing this low budget solution is

  • A clay or terracotta pot, a wooden base or wooden blocks for support, an incandescent bulb or even a working table light, and some electrical fixtures.
  • Simply string in a lamp cord along with the plug in and outlet through the base of the clay pot.
  • Place the clay pot along with the cord on top of the wooden blocks and fasten a bulb on the end of the cord inside the pot.
  • Turning on the power will heat up the ambient air along with the pot which can then be used for heating water by placing poultry waterers on it. This method of heating water is best suited for small chicken coops.

​The ideas from: backyardchickens.com Thanks phoneman40

​4. Aquarium Heaters

ViaAqua 50-Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater with Built-In Thermostat

​If you are looking for not such a do–it–yourself solution, the aquarium heaters are the best bet for you. They are cheap, easy to install and use and have inbuilt thermostats – which means you do not have to manually keep on changing the temperature

  • Order one of these online or buy from your local pet store. Keep in mind the volume of the waterer you intend this for.
  • Submerge the heater inside the water unit and plug in supply. It is as simple as that!

​You can check the price Here

5. Plug in chicken waterers

Allied Precision Ind 33 3.3-Gallon Heated Chicken Waterer

​This option is more like a trick and intended for those with no time on their hands but a wad of cash in their pockets. Electrical chicken waterers can be easily plugged into a power socket and are available easily at farm supply stores and also online on Amazon. The only problem with these is that they tend to fail you in a couple of weeks and are produced in very small sizes – around 3 gallons only. A solution could be buying separate units and installing them to cater to all your chickens

​6. Thermostatic heat tape around waterers

Thermostatic heat tape around waterer

​If you already own metal chicken waterers – this one is for you. All you need is a handful of equipment and just 10 minutes.

  • Grab your metal waterers of size 2 to 5 gallons in volume.
  • Get some length of heating cable pipes which are waterproof and easily available at the nearest hardware store.
  • Roll the heating cable all over the waterer and secure it in place with the help of some high quality insulating or electrical tape. Six to twelve feet of heating cable would be sufficient.
  • Once in place, plug in to a socket and secure the sensor in place. Make sure to never use a plastic waterer for this method. Reach out to an electrician if you are not fully satisfied with the insulation

​Thanks to: skeffling

​7. Heated pet water bowl

7.Heated pet water bowl

​A very easy, efficient, and cost-effective answer to the coop water heating issue is an electrically heated pet water bowl. Just a couple of things to keep in mind while implementing this pet bowl

  • Always remember to clean and rinse out the water
  • Do not dump the water in the coop since it may freeze and lower the ambient temperature.

​This method is remarkably simple and doesn’t just work for chickens but for all pets including dogs, ducks, etc.

​Check the price here

​8. Chicken water heater stone

Chicken water heater stone
  • A bucket, aluminum sheet, cement, road mix, glass fiber, a resistor and some wires is all you need.
  • Fasten the wires to the two ends of the resistor and fix them on an aluminum sheet.
  • In the bucket, mix the road mix, cement and fiber glass in equal proportions to function as strong concrete. Put a layer of the mix, then a circular mesh, then some more mix and finally the aluminum sheet. Make sure the power cord is left hanging out and finally cover everything with the last layer of concrete mix.
  • Let it set for a few days and you get a warm heated stone that can lift up your waterer while keeping the water inside it warm.*

​Thanks to: Laura Blodgett

​9. Poultry nipple waterers

Poultry nipple waterers

Image credit: Kathy Shea Mormino 

​Various poultry nipple waterers are available presently ranging from 3 to 12 outlets for simultaneous water consumption by chickens. You can use the previously mentioned heating cables and wrap them around these units to keep water warm and away from freezing. Wrapping them up with some electrical tape and putting some home foil all over can ensure safety and security. Refilling of these waterers is through your standard garden hose.

​10. Haul the water

​If electricity is something you cannot fall back on then the easiest but sadly also the most manual way to keep the water fresh and ice-free is by changing the water recurrently throughout the course of the day. It obviously is not the most efficient system, but what can you do? You can’t let the water just freeze there, can you?

11. Homemade poultry nipple waterer

Homemade poultry nipple waterer

​This easy method ensures that your chickens and other poultry get access to fresh and warm water throughout the year.

  • Take a plastic bottle and drill a 5/6” hole in its cap or base.
  • With the help of some silicone sealant, fix the poultry nipple in place.
  • You could implement the functionality of this bottle to a large bucket and fix a number of poultry nipples at its base.
  • Make two small holes in the opposite end of the bottle, insert a hanger into them and hang it so as to reach the height of the chickens.
  • This method is best for chicks and during winters, combining this setup with a humble cookie tin heater can avoid freezing of water.

​Thanks to: the-chicken-chick.com

​12. Black rubber tubs

 Black rubber tubs

​This method is the most eco–friendly and unconventional for a reason. It uses those scrap tires in your garage and the heat of the sun to keep the flock’s water drinkable. This helps to keep the temperature of the water just sufficiently over the freezing point and is also easy to clean and refill.

  • Grab hold of an old car’s tire and stuff its insides with some insulating materials like Styrofoam, or some other packaging goods.
  • Leave the tire in a spot where sunlight is frequent and let it heat for some time.
  • In the centre, place a few wooden blocks or bricks and then put a rubber tub on top of it. Let the two rubber items heat themselves in the Sun.
  • Pour water into this arrangement and let your poultry have clean drinking water for the rest of the day.
  • No electricity, no bulbs, no wires, nothing! Placing small floating balls in the tub will keep the water from freezing by creating waves on the surface

​Thanks to: Lisa

​13. Heated bucket chicken nipple waterer

Heated bucket chicken nipple waterer

​An amazing and long-lasting method for keeping water heated – entirely possible to achieve by oneself at home

  • You will need two 5 gallon buckets, some caulk epoxy or other adhesive and a long heating wire.
  • Drill a couple of holes at the bottom of one bucket (preferably black in color) and fix up poultry nipples into them.
  • Then wrap the heat cable all over the bottom of this bucket and make sure the wire does not overlap itself at any point.
  • Take the second bucket and remove its handle. Drill a big enough hole onto one side of it and cut the bottom of the bucket away as well.
  • Slide the black bucket into the second one carefully and pull out the plug and thermostat out of the drilled hole. Twist the buckets a little to secure them into place and get interlocked.
  • Use the epoxy to adhere the two buckets together, fill in water, hang it in the coop and turn on power to ward off freezing

​Thanks to: avianaquamiser.com

​14. Hot water from compost

14 Hot water from compost

Image credit: shtfpreparedness.com

​Whether you have a compost bin or an entire garage-sized area of it, you must be aware of the heat that is generated and dissipated from its existence. A method of heating up water from this compost heat can be devised effectively.

  •  In case of a compost bin, plug in a rod and wrap a water hose around it. You can spread out the water carrying hose in the compost pile if you have one too.
  • The hose will extract heat from the compost and transfer it to the running water, just like a geyser and you can use this water for your flock, coop, and other home errands

​Thanks to: http://www.shtfpreparedness.com/free-hot-water-from-compost-wheelie-bin/

​15. Automatic chicken water heater

 Automatic chicken water heater
Automatic chicken water heater 2

​Though automatic chicken water heaters are available in the market ready, you can make one for yourself from scratch and save money if not time

  • First you need a sturdy stand to place a really giant water container on.
  • Look out for some water containers – you could opt for metallic ones so as to incorporate the heating wires, or get plastic or recycled ones and use any of the above methods to heat the water. Another alternative could be buying electrically heated water containers.
  • However, a really large water container means more volume of water which would require a lot more time to freeze out. You may not need a heater if you live in a relatively less cold region.
  • Fix a tap in the front bottom side and attach a pipe or hose. Either implement a bird fount or a regular waterer at the end of the pipe; choose to heat or not.

​Thanks to Lee

​16. Heating device panel built out of soda cans

Heating device panel built out of soda cans

​A little heavy on the hardware front – see for yourself if you can manage the challenge.

  • You will need to either build or arrange a 2×4 feet wooden open box. Plywood would do too.
  • Next, you will need a lot of soda cans – to fill up the box. Drill a hole at the bottom of each can, this will act as a passage for air to pass through – like an air column.
  • Paint the cans black to soak in as much heat as possible. Black BBQ paint will do.
  • Using some adhesive, seal the box and fix the cans in columns until the box is full. Vacuum out the moisture.
  • With the help of some PVC pipes, build out a frame for your box.
  • You have just created a version of a radiator by yourself. Place this in your chicken coop, close to the waterer preferably to keep it warm.

​Thanks to: hemmings.com

​17. Flat panel radiant heaters or radiators

91hkaJyq9QL. SL400

​The last solution on our huge list is the use of a flat panel radiant heater or an oil-based radiator. Radiant heaters are easily available anywhere from $35 to $50. They have the added advantage of keeping the coup along with the water for them warm. Remember though, not to kick up the temperatures so much that vary drastically from the outside temperature. Place one such device in the vicinity of the waterer to ensure just the right warmth and freshness of the water

​You can check the price here

Hope this list was useful to you!​


My name is Jeanne. I'm a homesteader who loves to inspire others to return to their roots, learn new skills, and embark on their own homestead journey.

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