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.

String the pre-threaded lamp stem assembly through the hole & tighten the screw on the stem.

2. String the pre-threaded lamp stem assembly through the hole & tighten the screw on the stem.

Screw in the light bulb.

3. Screw in the light bulb. Voila!

 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.

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.

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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KayMicheleKathy, The Chicken Chick®Wanda ArnoldArlene Recent comment authors
ADozenGirlz
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Happy to pass along the information. 🙂

Anonymous
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Anonymous

This is great! I bought a heated pet bowl for the regular sized chickens but its too deep for my little game sized chickens. Now I can use this idea for my little cuties! Thanks!

ADozenGirlz
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The shape of the tin doesn't matter at all. Let me know how it works for you this weekend!

Li'l Ned
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Do you think a square tin would work, or would round be better for even heat distribution?

Li'l Ned
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As an alternative to buying a commercial one for $48, I'm looking at this great idea seriously. Will pass along to the handy/manly sweetheart. Big chill predicted for this coming weekend. And I already have a tin.