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rws
12-23-2009, 12:36 PM
I hope I don't get kicked off of here for asking this. :) We have a 6' X 6' chicken coop, and the water container is freezing overnight. No heat in the coop, but it is closed up fairly well at night.

I was thinking of getting a length of heat tracing and making a loop under the water container (metal pan) and setting the container on top of the loop. Then, running the remaining length of cable under the wood 2x4 to give the birds a little heat over night where they roost.

I think I'll be OK with the loop under the metal pan, but will the heat trace cable get hot enough to be a problem under the 2x4? It says it's safe for plastic pipe, so I would think it would be OK against wood.

JoeFin
12-23-2009, 12:47 PM
Not likely

They have a Heat Rating per foot written on the cable. Probably some thing like 10 watts per foot.

You will find they are really meant to be placed between the object to be heated and insullation for them to work properly. So you will need an insulated liner to place the watering trough in. You can also place the thermocouple sensor under the insulation to regulate the amount of heat. Check ebone for a line voltage thermostat with a bulb sensor of what ever length

http://cgi.ebay.com/JOHNSON-CONTROLS-INDUSTRIAL-THERMOSTAT-RANGE-0-150-F_W0QQitemZ380189045970QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defau ltDomain_0?hash=item58850874d2

Doozer
12-23-2009, 12:49 PM
Raychem is the good stuff, but you will pay $ for it.

--Doozer

IdahoJim
12-23-2009, 01:24 PM
I hope I don't get kicked off of here for asking this. :) We have a 6' X 6' chicken coop, and the water container is freezing overnight. No heat in the coop, but it is closed up fairly well at night.

I was thinking of getting a length of heat tracing and making a loop under the water container (metal pan) and setting the container on top of the loop. Then, running the remaining length of cable under the wood 2x4 to give the birds a little heat over night where they roost.

I think I'll be OK with the loop under the metal pan, but will the heat trace cable get hot enough to be a problem under the 2x4? It says it's safe for plastic pipe, so I would think it would be OK against wood.

Maybe buy a heated dog water bowl? I have to heat my dog's water all winter, and even with a piece of 1 1/2" Dow board under the bowl, it will still freeze lightly on the cold nights, especially with wind.

Tinkerer
12-23-2009, 02:04 PM
Yep heated water bowl is what I use and deep straw bedding and a roost off the ground so the can warm their feet if they choose to do so. The heated dish puts off some heat but if your worried make them a huddle box... or get a red heat lamp and a thremo cube to plug it into... which will turn it on and off a whatever temp it's preset for. If you have layers and they are not doing so give them a small flood light and turn it off around 9 pm they need some much daylight or they stop laying which will also add some heat to the coop. Do not use foam insulation anyplace the little buggers can get at... they'll eat it. :eek:

Chicken are very tough little birds as long as they are not in a draft... and the moisture / humidity can vent... they can take the cold.

Thremocube

http://www.jefferspet.com/ssc/product.asp?CID=0&mscssid=TPRTPNGWS14M9LGJX4RWAL1EJ09QB6P4&pf_id=0028415&cmkw=thermo%20AND%20cube
Lowes has them as well but the values are a tad different and only one plug in.

dp
12-23-2009, 03:14 PM
Route some plastic tubing through the nests and down into the water container. Circulate water through the plastic tubing. This will use the body heat of the chickens to keep the water from freezing.

:D

Mad Scientist
12-23-2009, 06:19 PM
Make wood frame. Place ordinary light bulb in it. Place water pan on top.

Black_Moons
12-23-2009, 07:36 PM
They make floating 'deicers' for water. Not sure how big your water tank is but its an idea. basicily its just a heating element with a thermastat and float

Don Young
12-23-2009, 09:18 PM
I have seen warming mats for car batteries that might do the job. They should be pretty sturdy.

Roy Andrews
12-24-2009, 12:27 AM
i would use 2 2X4's with a dado down the center then screw them together with the heat trace inside. it wont harm wood and is self regulating if it is any good. you mite also hollow out a board for their water bowel to act as a large insulator.

darryl
12-24-2009, 12:58 AM
I think your idea is fine. What you'll probably want to do is make sure the heat tape is clad on both sides with something, in other words it should not be exposed at any point. The heat it makes should be able to dissipate into something that it's touching, over its full length.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that you could run it in free air without it getting too hot to touch, not that I'm recommending that- I'm not. Point I'm making is that as long as it's touching any significantly sized object that can absorb the heat produced, it's not going to overheat anything.

Basically, you're going to pinch it between surfaces, so both surfaces will absorb heat. Is it going to be a detriment if the back surface absorbs heat? Then put some insulation in the sandwich on that side.

However you run and power it, you need to completely protect it and the power cord that's running it from being eaten or otherwise damaged- that's just common sense.

If you're concerned that local heating might be too much for the wood, just layer a strip of galvanized sheet metal or aluminum between the tape and the wood to spread the heat out widthwise a bit.

Paul Alciatore
12-24-2009, 01:17 AM
Different brands of heat tape have different ratings. I would get one with a fairly low rating. I have used the style/brand that you can cut to length and install the plug yourself. I can't remember the name but it is available in many hardware stores. It also has a metal shield over the tape which is a safety ground. I would make very sure that the chickens can not peck at the tape or the cords or you may have fried chicken one morning.

As for excessive heat, just do not allow the tape to cross over itself or be doubled up at any point: keep at least a one inch separation at all places. I have installed it on water hose with a single layer of thin fiber glass insulation between it and the hose and had no problems in over 10 years of use. I completely insulate over this with two layers of foam and completely wrap it with duct tape as it lies outside in the snow. No ventilation at all and no problems with excessive heat. The water just comes out a bit warm in the morning after sitting overnight.

whitis
12-24-2009, 09:30 AM
As long as you are running wire to your chicken coop, I read, in mother earth news IIRC, about a farmer who mounted a light bulb on the floor of his chicken coop to attract flying snacks for the chickens. Apparently, the results were worth the cost of running wire several hundred feet. An electric bug zapper that lays eggs.

A light bulb could provide both light and heat, though for safety reasons or optimization for each purpose you might want to implement those separately.

Any wiring should be protected from beaks. Birds think wires make great chew toys. Keep straw, sawdust, feathers, etc away from any light source that gets hot, like an incandescent bulb.

Heat, water, humidity, rain, flammable materials, thermal cycling and unattended operation are likely involved so be careful about safety of wiring and heat emitting devices.