Tag / waterers

Chickens Coop Care Seasonal Care

Waterer Solution

Can you believe that I am already starting to think about winter and the girls’ comfort?  Unbelievably, despite this heat, fall is just around the corner.  In the Northeast, we stick out into the Atlantic on our man made island.  This leaves us subject to various winters with many different conditions.  Some are mild, never having temperatures drop below the 20s and others are brutally cold, reaching below zero.  This had a lot to do with my coop selection.
Some people are not advocates of small coops.  They believe that small coops can overheat in the summertime and stress the chickens.  Many feel they do not come with adequate ventilation.  My small coop has solutions to every naysayer’s concerns.  I have three windows in my 3’x4′ coop.  Above the nesting boxes is a transverse window that runs the length of the coop and in both of the front doors are windows.  These windows are covered with hardware cloth allowing for great ventilation during warm days and evenings.  In colder times, plexiglass inserts are available to keep the girls away from drafts.  The best part is that my girls stay nice and warm in the winter with their body heat.  They never need to be heated by an outside source and they have yet to experience frostbite.  Thank goodness.

 

Click here to see the girls’ coop

The only difficulty, in my opinion, is creating food and water solutions inside of the coop.  As space is limited compared to walk-in coops, I have had to be practical and creative when it comes to keeping food and water inside the coop.  Selecting a feeder was easy.  Currently, I use the Little Giant 3 pound feeder.  This feeder hangs off the coop’s floor and holds 2 days worth of food for my 8 girls.  Its compact size is great and it seems to have been made for the coop.

 

Little Giant 3 Lbs Plastic Hanging Poultry Feeder PHF3
Little Giant 3 pound feeder

 

The waterer on the other hand has been very challenging.  It is difficult to find something that the large Buff Orpingtons do not bump into and knock over, leaving the wood shavings soaked.  I have tried the 1 gallon poultry waterers that I use outside without success.  I currently use a stainless steel dog water bowl with a large rock in the center to prevent the girls from tipping it over.  It never tips, but the water gets very dirty quickly. It also takes up precious floor space.  Then, while searching the internet, I found this:
Little Giant Piglet Waterer

 

This was perfect for my girls! It is 9 1/2″deep, 6 3/4″ wide and 13 1/8″ high. It holds one gallon and slides into a metal tray that mounts on the wall. I ordered it online and can’t wait for it to come in the mail. I am hoping that this solves some of the issues I had with waterers as well as maybe some of yours too.
If you have creative solutions, please share them in the comments.  We are listening!

Update:  The waterer arrived!  You can read more here.

Photo Credits:  Miller Manufacturing, Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Cold Feet, Dirty Water and Monster Trucks

To say I am frustrated is a huge understatement.  I think that the chickens are also frustrated too.  I am having a dilemma with my waterers.  No matter the height of the waterers, the chickens keep scratching copious amounts of dirt into the water.   If I didn’t know any better, I would think that they are having monster truck shows in the run.  As the chickens drive these mini chicken sized monstrosities over the dust bath craters dirt shoots in the air everywhere. 

When I have been going out around 11am each day, I find a slurry of muddy sludge in the drinking part of the waterers.   It seems as soon as I refresh them, they are again filled with mud scratched up from the run.  The run itself is not wet or muddy.  In fact, it has stayed relatively dry because I have had it covered during the rain and snow.  When I clean the coop, I have been tossing the old shavings and straw into the run area as well.  It is composted rather quickly by the chickens and seems to be a source of busy work for them.  They love to scratch at the shavings and find goodies that were missed in the bedding when it was in the housing.

Today and tomorrow the weather is going to take a dive from the 20s to single digits.  I hope that the chickens are able to stay warm.  So far, without any types of heat in the coop, the chickens remain unfazed by the cold.  I do have to remember that our breeds are listed as “cold hardy”.  I also have to remember that I am a mammal and they are not.  They are birds.  They probably feel things differently.  However with this  weather, the waterers will likely need to be thawed a few times during the day.  I guess thawing the waterers repeatedly is one way to clear the dirt for now.  I am definitely going to have to figure out a solution come Spring.  At least when the snow disappears they will be able to free-range more often, taking their monster truck show on the road.