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thoughts on keeping water flowing, in winter,

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  • thoughts on keeping water flowing, in winter,

    my SIL is wanting to try to raise chickens, these are special chickens raised for there feathers, in fly fishing flys, and if things go according to plan, we may have a lot of chickens possibly in to the hundreds and possibly in the thousands, if the idea goes well.

    the problem is to use small waters would all we would be doing is filling and thawing waters in the winter time,

    the idea I have is to use, these watering nipples or similar, ksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649
    they screw into a pipe and usually some type of gravity feed reservoir. or in a bucket,

    The idea I have is to loop a line with with the nipples in it and then use a circulating pump to move the water, around the system and either use a small electric hot water heater feed by a small reservoir or just a small reservoir or a 55 gallon drum, and use a stock tank heater to keep the water thawed.
    the current building is a 30 x 30 foot, wood framed building, so depending on the set up could be 80 foot loop Winters can get cold, usually not much below 0F but we can have a few days some times a week or more, near 0 weather, and no extra heat or very minimal extra heat.

    between the circulation pump and some heat, maybe running it at 80 degrees,

    do you think it would keep the water flowing, with a hundred feet of line or more, most likely a pvc pipe, so I can drill and thread it for the nipples,

    of course in summer time, there would not be a need for the heat or the circulation pump.

    the nipples are designed for only a few pounds of pressure, or a gravity feed system with less than 10 feet of head,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

  • #2
    There are some fish pond water heaters to keep the storage tanks thawed, any koi or waterscape pond supply should some heating elements. Aquatic ecosystems out of Florida has some equipment that may be of interest. Both have tank fittings to attach to directly onto the sides of tanks (bulkhead fittings). They should have automatic fill valves as well although I'm not sure how well they would do in freezing conditions.


    • BHD
      BHD commented
      Editing a comment
      as far as keeping water?thawed in the storage tank, is not the problem, I can get stock tank heaters about anywhere around here,

      but the idea I want to do is to run a pipe with the watering nipples threaded in to it, and gravity feed them that would work great when it is not cold, but once it starts dropping to freezing and below, the pipe will freeze, (most likely it will be PVC, thus split and broke, if it thaws flooded, chicken house, so the thought is to circulate water through the pipe via a return line, 60 to 100 feet of line

      I really do not know the temperature of the water would be, but most likely below 90F in the storage tank, (most likely a small horse water tank), do you think if the water is being circulated do you think it will stay thawed and flowing?
      the coldest could be near 0f for a few days at night, and usually during those type of cold spells usually does not reach freezing in the daylight

      just trying to come up with a system that will keep the water thawed and reasonably energy efficient and reasonable labor free,, not 20 or 30 heated water bowls, (or rubber pans that would need to have the ice broke out of them and refilled three times a day),
      and a system that will work summer and winter,

  • #3
    Just throwing some out some ideas, i fear that insulating the pipe would be impractical unless it could be sleeved with a metal jacket to keep the critters from chewing up the insulation. But if it could be done safely maybe wrapping it first with heat tape would be sufficient.

    The "main" could probably be kept ice free but teeing off to the nipples more problematic. Just a small pond punp should be enough to keep the water flowing.


    • #4
      Just some ideas and questions I have after reading this thread.

      If your loop was run above the drip nipples so they fed downward then they would drain when the water was turned off so there would be no water to freeze. But, you might have a little water retained at the nozzle that could freeze and block the orifice. The warmer water feeding out from the loop 'might' thaw it out, you would have to experiment I think.

      If you were to run out a long line of drip irrigation if you installed it on a slope so that the lowest point was furthest from the control valve (whatever type that might be) you might be able to avoid freezing in the lines.

      Can you install the whole system so that it drains completely between each use? Don't leave any water anywhere except in the tank.

      Will there be any heat source in the building that you might co-locate the lines hear the heat and take advantage of the locally warmer area nearby.

      Can your watering tank serve two purposes? run a warming loop around the space (so no insulation) and feed your watering off of that. You'd need a make-up water line that would not be running 24/7 so that would need heat tape or something else to prevent freezing.

      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



      • #5
        Your idea sounds good with the circulating line, pump and stock heater. Should work good..

        But when either your pump dies, heater dies, or more likely you lose power 1 night, the system will freeze and be destroyed.

        They also make straight 20' lengths of pex. That would tolerate freezing better than pvc.

        Do the chickens manage ok without heat at 0 degrees or do they need heated space?

        Are they good eating if they freeze or a total loss and you can salvage the feathers.

        A city slicker trying to think country.

        phoebe it is


        • #6
          these chickens are winter harty, for short periods of time they should be able to handle lower temps down to 0 with out adational heat,

          in our egg laying chickens wife put a rubber feed pan with water in it and hangs a heat lamp over the pan, in a smaller 10 x 16 wood frame building,
          so the only heat source is the heat lamp, in that building, and the birds do fine,

          so since the building I am concerned about and future, is a 30 x 30 foot wood framed building, but we will have 6 pens currently init and will soon convert the other space in to most likely 4 more pens, thus 10 pens, and if we went pans, and a 250 watt heat lamp, that would 2500 watts to keep the water free, or thawed, (it is doable) but I can most like keep a small tank reservoir ice free for 250 watts and a pump for less than 60 watts,

          and in the future plan on two buildings at least 16 feet wide and 50' or more long, which house about 250 birds each, (these buildings), would incorporate some features that would reduce utility cost and heat needs,

          I most likely would put a drain on a low end,

          one of the things were using currently is a bucket water system that uses a 3 or 5 gallon bucket with the nipples under the bucket, and they hang,
          I think one could put a 100 or less watt bulb, mounted in the lid of the bucket, to keep the buckets ice free, and I would think the bucket warm the nipples would be free as well,

          but if one even uses 60 watt bulbs that for 10 units, that is still 600 watts, and on a building that would have 10 or so units that would be a 1000 watts, per building. or even more, and to get that down to 250 or so watts would be a big help, and by going to the circulating system one would use less wattage, and less labor under normal conditions,

          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


          • #7
            Heat trace.