While there is still a bit of warmth in the air, now is a great time to winterize your chicken coop by installing a heat lamp and an anti-freeze watering station. Nothing is worse than having to go out into the cold to thaw out or replace your chickens water twice a day during the winter because it’s frozen.
To fix this frozen water problem, we picked up a terracotta pot with base, a lamp kit, and an extension cord splicer at our local hardware store (LOWES) for under $20. We like this lamp kit because it comes with the clamp already built in the kit. It’s a bit more money, but makes life so much easier than having to build one yourself. Just clamp the light to the side of the pot using a 40 Watt bulb to start. We used a scrap piece of cardboard on the clamp to avoid cracking the pot. We then placed 3 old bricks we had laying around on the property into the coop and placed the pot with light kit attached upside down. Finally, we put the chicken water bowl into the terracotta base and placed it onto the bottom of the pot. The bottom of the pot has a hole drilled into it which allows the heat from the bulb to heat up the terracotta base that the water bowl sits in. This heat from the light bulb warms the water just enough to keep it from freezing.
We also run an extension cord into the coop from our shop that we plugged into the splicer. From that we can plug in the heat lamp to keep the chickens warm and the light kit as well to keep the water from freezing.
As the temperature drops, depending on where you live, you may need a higher wattage bulb. We start with a 40W bulb and go up to a 60W if water still freezes due to extreme cold temps.