Plastic vs metal heated waterer?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering' started by Lady_Alia, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Lady_Alia

    Lady_Alia New Member

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    I've read several places that you shouldn't use a plastic heated waterer that I need to get metal. Why?
     
  2. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

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    Good question. One I used for a few years is plastic and I never had any problems. You have me wondering too now.
     

  3. HarleyDog

    HarleyDog New Member

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    Well, I'm no expert, but am always leery of such blanket guidance. Sometimes things like this are based on semi-factual but possibly irrelevant issues (or rumors) such as some types of plastic leeching chemicals into the water, which morphs into a "don't use plastic" umbrella statement. But I'd think most every substance does that to some degree. Water is the "universal solvent" after all. So, your water vessels should be made of stone and bamboo, sealed only with the pitch of the Peruvian Mahogany tree. Now you're all wondering even more, eh?
    But as I gather information, I saw this link's story, http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/01/holistic-trinity-acv-garlic-and-de.html where they say Apple Cider Vinegar (you all add a little ACV to their water, right?) rusts metal or galvanized waterers. That would make sense. I personally stay with plastic. My setup is a five-gallon bucket with a rubber-gasketed "Gamma" screw-top lid (for easy access), with a faucet spigot at the bottom, short hose, and 28" or so length of PVC pipe with those yellow nipples. You can find the spigot/nipple combo for about $20 on Amazon. Yes, you can make it yourself, but life's too short, and you'd probably spend just as much and may not get it right the first time (have to buy and use the right glue for the PVC, for example). Then Lowes/Home Depot has a 6' or 12' Frost King pipe thaw strip (I like the 12' length. Seems long at first, but allows for a few wraparounds of the bottom 10-12" of bucket to keep it from freezing. It's thermostatically controlled so only comes on when you need it. Next upgrade is a quick-release hose to simplify taking the bucket away for cleaning a couple times a year. But since it's a sealed system, it really stays clean. Good luck.
     
  4. Lady_Alia

    Lady_Alia New Member

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    Lots of info there, thanks!!


    The last place I read to always use metal was in the bi-monthly publication of hobby farms chicken magazine. They were talking about winterizing your birds and one thing said heated waterers, metal only.
     
  5. HarleyDog

    HarleyDog New Member

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    I guess, depending on the heater, plastic could melt or otherwise deform/react to too much heat, so metal makes sense in that regard. But I definitely don't want my chicken's lips sticking to frozen metal on cold mornings! :p
     
  6. Lady_Alia

    Lady_Alia New Member

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    Lol good point!! Or DO we? Ya gotta admit, that would be kinda funny...well, after you got them unstuck!
     
  7. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    New plastic vs old metal;

    We have some old water fonts in our barn. The metal kind that are commonly seen, but pretty old and one is over 24" tall. They are still in good shape but we don't use them. They are made of a heavy gauge metal. I prefer the metal font/waterers.

    We purchased a new metal water font last fall and began using it again this year. It sits on a seperate metal pan that is thermostatically controled to provide a heated base for the font. I like it as it's easy to fill and feels pretty sturdy.

    We purchased a plastic font/waterer just Monday. We wanted another waterer in barn for during the day when the birds move in out of the weather. I don't care for the plastic. It is of course light weight, and I'd prefer a little more weight to hold it in place when low on water. It's difficult to fill since you have to turn it up-side down. The font itself twists into place on the base and there is a rubber plug on the bottom.

    I was concerned about the plastic base and decided to to place the waterer on a concrete pad about 24" in diameter and 3" thick. Our barn stall has a dirt floor with straw for a bedding base. I also placed the waterer close to the wall. (24" high concrete footer)

    Outside we have rubber buckets and 12" x 4" rubber "pans". These are the heavy rubber you see in the farm stores. Each night we turn these upside down and refill them with fresh water in the morning. They only work for water for a short time on winter days unless the sun is shining.
    We have three of the pans and two buckets.

    We have four ducks, and they are not good for keeping waterers clean. They usually make short work of our pans and buckets in the morning. I try to keep them away from the fonts.
     
  8. shickenchit

    shickenchit New Member

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    I take a cinder block, the grey concrete ones with two holes in it, I have an old vacuum cleaner cord (it's 18 ft long, and have other uses for it too like brooder, or emergency light at night when bulbs blow out) that I put a lamp receptacle on the end of cord, and in winter I plug in cord and run it into the hole on block, and place galvanized waterer on top of block and have never had water freeze. Just a thought.. May not work in below zero temps.. But it's fine here at 18-25 degree winters.
     
  9. Lady_Alia

    Lady_Alia New Member

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    I thought all waterers twisted off the base. How do you fill the metal ones?

    And that's one of my problems, ducks! They are in with my chickens, so there's no way for me to keep them away from my waterers. I didn't know if I should go with a heated dog dish or chicken waterer.
     
  10. CharlieEcho

    CharlieEcho Junior Member

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    Plastic vs metal;

    The plastic font waterer we purchased has a one piece translucent plastic font that twists into four points on the base. To fill it, it has to be turned upside down and a rubber plug removed.

    Our metal waterer has the inner "tank" and the font that slips over it. The font pushes in a rubber gasketed spring valve and one pin it slides or twists to lock down. I'm sure you are familiar with those.

    Tonight I placed a truck wheel with a round cooking grate over the wheel inside the hen house, and placed the metal water heater on the grate. The cooking grate is the type used on round Webber type charcoal grills. The birds can perch on the grate and reac the water easily.

    We have a seperate pen inside our larger pen and plan to move the ducks to the small pen at night. They can then have their own water and feed. During the day we have rubber water pans in the pasture for the ducks. At the end of the day those pans always have about a half in of mud in the bottom. We have a plastic wading pool under the rain-gutter down spouts for the ducks also, but that requires rain. They splash most of the water out.

    Pictured is the inside of our barn and the plastic waterer/font. The ducks rarely enter the barn.
     

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