A reader in Minneapolis, MN, asked me if it would be possible to give a bit more feedback on the Cozy Hen Waterer. I thought that I could spin that into a more complete review of the product.
The waterer, manufactured and sold by Neora Inventors, LLC, consists of two nested buckets. Lining the outer bucket is a couple layers double reflective bubble insulation; at the bottom of the pail are two strips of styrofoam insulation to position the inner pail and the chicken nipple correctly. There is also a piece of reflective bubble insulation that is placed on the lid of the inner pail.
The chicken nipple assembly hangs about 1.½” out the bottom. There is also a length of light-gauge chain on the bucket’s handle; chicken nipple to the length of chain, the unit is around 21″.
The outer bucket measures about 10″ tall and, at the lid, about 9″ in diameter. The inner pail measures 7.½” tall, and at the lid, 7.½”. The inner pail also holds around ¾ of a gallon; there is a length of shoelace attached to the pail that forms a sort of crude handle, as well.
More Details. The basic concept of the waterer is to isolate the water from the elements. It does this with the use of insulation and the clever encapsulation of the nipple with an aluminum pipe.
Neora Inventors’ website states that, when using the 15W aquarium heater in the pail, the nipple temperature will only be 8° cooler than the bulk of the water.
Review. We haven’t verified the temperature measurement claims, but during our coldest stretches over the last month – around -9° F – the nipple stayed ice free; when tapped, liquid water was released.
For the most part, the waterer in conjunction with the 15W heater does what it Neora claims: it uses less electricity than a conventional fount, as well as keeping water ice-free and free-flowing. Minimizing electricity consumption, for us, was actually nearly as important as providing the chickens with liquid water. This might not be a huge concern for those with a coop with electricity from the grid. This was discussed in a bit more depth in the previous post.
There are a couple minor design-related items that could be unnecessary or simply in need of another iteration. First, the inner lid contains two holes; one for the power cord of the heater to exit, and the other hole appears to be for refilling the pail. In the picture, above, the inner lid is in the lower right corner. The heater cord hole is on the right side. The hole on the left, in my opinion, could be eliminated and a single hole be used for cord exiting and refilling. Second, the hole in the inner lid insulation, because of evaporation, ice forms on the underside of the outer lid. Eliminating this hole in the insulation would remove a place for heat to escape.
We had questions about how quickly the chickens would pickup the using the nipple – having only used a more traditional fount since we received them as day-old chicks. The hens turned out to be quick studies and realized soon after the new waterer was placed in the coop that this was now the dispenser of water.
As to the long-term, post-winter use of the waterer, it is still an unknown. I really like how wood chips and poop do not end up in the water as with a normal waterer that is placed near the ground; at the same time, the water requirements for the chickens will increase once we are into the summer months, as well as when we add more birds this spring.
Verdict. Small flocks (below a count of 8 to 10) in a coop with minimal ambient temperature control (such as our coop) could benefit from a Cozy Hen Waterer. Assuming the aquarium heater can last several seasons, the cost savings on reduced electrical consumption compared to a high-wattage heated waterer, may allow for the unit to pay its own way (to an extent).
Aside from the two design comments, above, about extra holes, the only remaining point that should be mentioned is the cost: $75.00 (includes heater). It maybe reasonable to think that with the possible research and development that went into their current/final design, that $75 is likely a good deal. But, if you ignore any cost savings on electricity (the heater was $12.50), paying $62.50 for a ¾ gallon insulated pail might be a tough sell for some people.