Make a Cookie Tin Waterer Heater. Under $10, & 10 minutes!

You can make your own waterer heater for use with either metal or plastic waterers. It will cost less than $10, cost pennies to run and you can complete the project in under ten minutes.
Winter brings many challenges for the backyard chicken-keeper, and frozen water is chief among them.  You can make your own waterer heater for use with either metal or plastic waterers. It will cost less than $10, cost pennies to run and you can complete the project in under ten minutes!

Make your own waterer heater for use with either metal or plastic waterers. It will cost less than $10, cost pennies to run and you can complete the project in under ten minutes!We had record-breaking, sub-zero temperatures for long periods of time in 2010 here in Connectictut and my waterers never iced over the way they used to without these heaters.  It doesn’t seem as though a humble, 40 watt lightbulb should be able to produce enough warmth to keep the water in a plastic waterer from icing over, but remarkably, it does!

It doesn't seem as though a humble, 40 watt lightbulb should be able to produce enough warmth to keep the water in a plastic waterer from icing over, but remarkably, it does!

Supplies:

  • 10″, metal cookie tin (available at most dollar & thrift stores & likely in your garage or basement)
  • lamp assembly kit (available oniline, at hardware & home improvement stores OR buy a thrift store/tag sale lamp and take it apart)0
  • 40 watt, incandescent light bulb (in deep-freeze conditions, use a 60 watt bulb)(in light of the government phase-out, some users recommend 40 watt candelabra bulbs or CFL bulbs, but I have not, so I cannot vouch for their effectiveness)
  • Drill with 3/8″ drill bit
Lamp assembly parts.
Lamp assembly parts

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Drill a hole in the side of the cookie tin.
2. String the pre-threaded lamp stem assembly through the hole & tighten the screw on the stem.
3. Screw in the light bulb. Voila!String the pre-threaded lamp stem assembly through the hole & tighten the screw on the stem.Screw in the light bulb.

TO USE:

Put the top on the cookie tin and place the tin on a cinder block or another level surface in the chicken run.  Plug into a GFI outlet. Place metal or plastic waterer on top of the water heater when freezing temperatures are anticipated. Disconnect when not in use or use a ThermoCube to turn the unit on when temperatures reache 35°F.

 You can make your own waterer heater for use with either metal or plastic waterers. It will cost less than $10, cost pennies to run and you can complete the project in under ten minutes.
It doesn't seem as though a humble, 40 watt lightbulb should be able to produce enough warmth to keep the water in a plastic waterer from icing over, but remarkably, it does!When I made my first cookie tin water heater, I found it difficult to believe that this device, which barely felt warm to the touch, could possibly do the intended job. I was only convinced the first frigid morning I went out into the run and found no ice ring to chip out of the waterer. You may have to try it to believe it too.

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Kathy, The Chicken Chick®SusanIndygowolfSarah Mherbdogs Recent comment authors
herbdogs
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herbdogs

The problem is the heat build up. Use a lower wattage bulb. If that doesn't help try using a larger tin.

herbdogs
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herbdogs

First I would not use a 100 watt bulb, too much heat. Nothing above 75 watts if your're having a problem with the bulbs burning out it is because of too much heat down size your bulb accordingly. Remember the smaller the tin enclosure the hotter it will get. Try to use one at least 10 inches tall. Heat rises so it wont cause any problems with the design. I used a popcorn tin which is about 12 inches tall and it works great and the bulb lasts just fine. When you assemble your heater locate the bulb closer to… Read more »

tlmindependent
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tlmindependent

This is one of the most helpful ideas I have seen since we began keeping hens about two years ago. FYI – I found my tin at a Dollar Tree for $1.00 🙂 Thank you so much for the great idea!

elvis
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elvis

I'm not sold on the water nipples. I switched to a regular waterer for the winter, I found the chickens drinking twice as much water as with the nipples. Makes me wonder. Any comments?

crazyhen
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crazyhen

Hi I am using one of these now and have been for 4 or 5 yrs. But it did ice up when the temp went to 4 degrees. but just on top. I have to watch mine to prevent it from getting to warm at 30 some degrees. I usually change the power of the light bulb in slightly warmmer temps. Warm water grows bacteria quickly so I add unpasteurized vinegar with the mother. This has been the best Idea ever for my hens.