Just a quick post to share what we did last winter to keep our chickens’ nipple waterer from freezing. We bought an immersible birdbath heater (see our Buyer’s Guide for more details). Because the element rests at the bottom of the bucket, near the nipples, the warmth not only kept the nipples from freezing, but also kept any drops that formed on the outside of the nipples from freezing.
This particular heater has a built-in thermostat that kicks in when the water temperature dips below 40 degrees, so it’s not necessarily running all the time, which is good for conserving electricity. You just have to make sure there’s always enough water in the bucket to keep the heater submerged.
How I installed a heater in our hanging bucket chicken waterer:
Set the element in the bottom of the bucket, near the nipples. . .
It was well worth the cost and minimal effort to install it. Which reminds me — time to do that again right now!