Heated chicken waterers are a necessity if you live in a cold climate. In below-freezing temperatures, you need a chicken waterer that’s heated to prevent freezing so that your livestock can drink and stay hydrated. You can buy heated chicken waterers, but did you know that you could make one yourself?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best DIY plans so that you can be on your way to making your own heated chicken waterer without spending a ton of money. These plans are easy to follow and are similar in how they’re put together. Even if you’re a beginner at DIY projects, you’ll surely find one you can make with ease using a few simple materials and tools.

chicken feet divider

The 8 DIY Heated Chicken Waterers

1. DIY Chicken Water Heater by City Girl Farming

DIY Chicken Water Heater
Image Credit: City Girl Farming
Materials:Concrete half block, 1 large ceramic tile, outdoor extension cord, low-watt light bulb (40W), duct tape, 8 X 8 disposable aluminum cake pan
Tools:Outlet-to-socket light converter, hammer, screwdriver
Difficulty Level:Easy

This heated chicken waterer from City Girl Farming is inexpensive to make and can be completed in roughly 4 minutes. All you need are a few basic tools to get started. You probably already have most of the tools you’ll need lying around the house, and the rest can be purchased cheaply at any hardware store.

Ensure you use a 40-watt bulb for this project, as anything less will not prevent freezing. The duct tape comes in handy to prevent the light bulb from falling over, and the concrete block keeps the entire waterer in place. The aluminum cake pan will prevent dripping water from landing on any of the electrical wirings.

2. Avian Aqua Miser Heated Bucket Waterer with Aquarium Heater

DIY Avian Aqua Miser Heated Bucket Waterer with Aquarium Heater
Image Credit: avianaquamiser
Materials:2-gallon bucket with lid, 2 avian nipple waterers, a Tetra submersible water heater with automatic thermostat (50W), 2-inch cork or plastic plug
Tools:Drill, extension cord, bungee cord (optional)
Difficulty Level:Easy

This DIY heated bucket waterer with aquarium heater is simple to make. If you don’t have a submersible water heater, you can purchase one at any aquarium shop for under $15. The inventor has only tested this inside the coop and not out in the elements, so keep this in mind if you need a heated waterer outside.

This project only involves drilling a couple of holes for the nipples and submerging the water heater inside, being sure to use the suction to keep it in place. You will need to cut a hole approximately 2 inches in diameter in the lid of the bucket for the plug, which keeps the water clean. You can hang the bucket by a bungee cord if needed.

3. Homemade Heated Chicken Waterer from Mother Earth News

DIY Homemade Heated Chicken Waterer
Image Credit: Mother Earth News
Materials:5-gallon bucket, an extra bucket, poultry nipples, 3-foot pipe heating cable (heat tape), duct tape, chicken-friendly insulation
Tools:Drill, jigsaw, coping saw
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This homemade heated chicken waterer from Mother Earth News is effective, but it’s a little more involved. However, it shouldn’t be too much for the experienced DIY to handle. This project requires making cuts with various tools into two buckets, but it’s still a simplistic way to make your own heated chicken waterer. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, and you can make this heater inexpensively. Ensure you use chicken-friendly insulation, such as Reflectix, which is recommended by Mother Earth News.

4. DIY Chicken Water Heater by the Reaganskopp Homestead

DIY Chicken Water Heater
Image Credit: the Reaganskopp Homestead
Materials:Concrete block, concrete paver, light bulb (start with 40W), pluggable light socket, duct tape, metal chicken waterer
Tools:Extension cord (with flat socket area), hammer, flathead screwdriver
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This DIY heated chicken waterer is relatively easy to make. You’ll need to chisel out a small portion of the concrete block with a flathead screwdriver to allow the extension cord to poke through, but patience is a must in this step so as to not break the entire block. You can also use a masonry chisel if you have one, but a flathead screwdriver works just the same way.

The metal chicken waterer sits on top of the block with the light bulb inside the block itself, which is what heats the water. A useful tip is to not use LED bulbs but rather an old-school bulb. LED bulbs will not heat the water, rendering the whole project useless. The instructions are easy to follow and explain the process well.

5. DIY Heated Chicken Waterer from Instructables

DIY $5 Heated Chicken Waterer
Image Credit: instructables
Materials:10-inch tin can (one end open), light bulb fixture, light bulb (40W), scrap wood
Tools:Extension cord, jigsaw, screws
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This DIY plan requires minimal materials and tools, and you can get everything to make this heated chicken waterer for roughly $5. This project does require knowing how to wire a circuit, and you may need someone with this knowledge to help you to avoid an electrical fire. This project may not be easy for beginners, but for someone who knows their way around electrical gadgets, this DIY heated chicken waterer is cheap to make.

6. Backyard Chickens DIY Heated Waterer

DIY Backyard Chickens Heated Waterer
Image Credit: backyardchickens
Materials:Square cat litter pal, galvanized pan, brick or rock, aquarium heater, packs of horizontal nipples (five in each pack), 1 string or rope
Tools:Electric tape, carbine clip, rubber grommet
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This heated waterer from Backyard Chickens is more of a project for the experienced DIYer, and the instructions are not clearly laid out. However, photographs in the instructions help explain how to put the heater together. This DIY heated chicken waterer works much in the same way as the others, except it uses an aquarium heater instead of a light bulb to heat the water. The premise is the same, and if you’re comfortable with all the materials and tools needed for this project, you’re good to go.

7. Heated Bucket Chicken Waterer from Avian Aqua Miser

DIY Heated Bucket Chicken Waterer
Image Credit: Avian Aqua Miser
Materials:2x 5-gallon buckets, 1x 15-inch pipe heating cable (3 feet), 2 fender washers, caulk, epoxy. PVC elbow (optional)
Difficulty Level:Easy

This heated bucket chicken waterer uses an inner black bucket to reduce algae buildup, which is a clever feature of this heated waterer. This project uses a heated cable rather than a light bulb, and the PVC elbow is an option to make filling the bucket easier, allowing you to fill the bucket without having to remove the lid. The instructions come with pictures so you can see how to make it, which is helpful.

8. DIY Heated Chicken Waterer from Backyard Chickens

DIY Heated Chicken Waterer
Image Credit: Backyard Chickens
Materials:2 cinder blocks, extension cord, 25W to 30W light bulb, 6-gallon plastic bucket with lid, bulb adapter
Tools:Hand drill
Difficulty Level:Easy

This DIY heated chicken waterer by Homestead Lifestyle uses inexpensive tools and materials to make, and it keeps the water heated and fresh for up to 7 days. This project uses light bulbs and cinder blocks for the heat source, which is proven effective. Depending on the weather conditions and your location, you may need a stronger bulb, preferably 40 watts, for more assurance that the water doesn’t freeze. However, a 25–30-watt bulb will work well for just below freezing.

chicken divider


Making your own heated chicken waterer is more accessible than one might think. They are a must if you live in cold climates to ensure your chickens have water to drink. Most of these are effective at keeping the waterer free from chicken excrement and dirt because the waterers are off the ground. With a little time and patience, you can make a DIY heated chicken waterer in no time without spending a lot of money. Sure, you can buy one, but you can make your own for much less.

Featured Image Credit: Annie Theby, Unsplash