Solar solution?

As I write this, the first real snow is drifting down in dense, tiny little flakes. It’s already stuck to the walkways and roads and the hammock we somehow never took down like it means business. In the last couple weeks the temperatures have dropped; the high today is 28* and the lows at night drop into the teens.

One of the reasons I chose hardy heritage-breed chickens is because they are sturdy gals; they are just fine with temperatures like that as long as they don’t drop below 0 for a few days in a row.

They still need water, though. And that’s where I run into problems. Because I’ve been running out with kettles full of boiling water three times a day (my girlfriends gigglingly accused me of “making them tea”) and still I’m afraid their waterers are freezing over too soon for them to all realize there’s new water and go hydrate themselves (they don’t call ’em “bird-brains” for nothing.)

We’ll probably end up getting one of those electric water heaters, but we don’t have electricity out at the coop. Josh doesn’t want to string an extension cord out of one of our basement windows because he’s afraid we’ll burn the house down, and I don’t blame him.

So… solar? Sounds like it might be expensive. Unless maybe it were passive, like a solar oven? A black vessel, covered with glass, insulated on the bottom?

Shortly after I took that picture the glass snapped – whoops! – so I replaced it with a double layer of acrylic.

… The water in it was frozen this morning, but it had hit 18* last night so that’s no surprise. I’m disappointed anyway, but trying to adjust my expectations for it down from “always provide liquid water” to a more modest “keeps the hot water I provide liquid slightly longer than their other waterers”. If I’m satisfied that the chickens have access to water for long enough each day, it will end here; but if I keep finding it frozen then I will have to go BUY something and probably risk burning my house down for six dumb chickens.

Who have actually already torn apart all of the exposed insulation under the vessel (as I expected them to). The stuff under it should be fine.

Stupid winter.

2 Responses to “Solar solution?”

  1. Mrs. Brent Parker Says:

    I have something you can try but it will only work in the sun. Does the coop get sun?

  2. diana Says:

    It sure does!

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