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No Freeze Chicken Waterer
Michael Gutschenritter has a “no freeze” watering system for his chickens, and it requires no added heat. The secret is moving water.
“The water is flowing 24/7, so it can’t freeze,” explains Gutschenritter. “There is essentially a 2-in. deep river running down an open pipe that the birds can drink out of.”
Gutschenritter recently outlined his watering solution in a post to the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association members discussion page (https://pasturedpoultry.groups.io/g/APPPA). He agreed to share it with FARM SHOW readers.
His water source is a 100-gal. stock tank on a platform, which he refills by hose as needed. The actual waterer is a 4-in. pvc pipe with the top sliced off to create a trough. Water drains from the tank through a 3/4-in. valve to the end of the pvc pipe.
“The water drains into a hole in the top of a trash can that is sunk into the ground at the end of the pipe,” explains Gutschenritter. “A submersible pump in the trash can sends water back to the stock tank through a 1 1/2-in. pvc pipe. The water keeps flowing all day long from the tank to the pipe to the sump bin and back to the tank and so on, all winter long.”
Gutschenritter has used the system for 1 1/2 seasons and has fine-tuned it over time. He outlines a few tweaks that keep the water flowing smoothly:
• Insert filters at each stage to prevent the pump from getting jammed.
• Keep everything rigid so pump vibration doesn’t shake anything loose.
• Make a roof over the trough and an impermeable lid over the 100-gal. tank to keep out chicken waste and litter.
• Set the trough above a scratch-free, level surface for the birds to stand on to ensure continued access.
Everything about the system can be adapted to the size of the flock. Gutschenritter notes that the 100-gal. stock tank is enough to water about 1,000 chickens a day. Likewise, the pipe length is a matter of providing adequate access.
Gutschenritter added a 2 by 4 through the former grips of the trash can to brace the pedestal sump pump.
The running water system works for Gutschenritter and his wife, Courtney, as they maintain their layer flock at 3 Brothers Farm. However, he is quick to advocate making any changes needed.
“Get a bigger tank if you don’t want to fill so frequently,” he says. “Add a heater if you’re worried water movement isn’t enough.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Three Brothers Farm, N87W34229 Mapleton Rd., Oconomowoc, Wis. 53066 (ph 262 470-4429; 3brothersfarm@gmail.com; www.threebrothersfarmcsa.org).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1