I don’t care what the calendar says, Winter Is Here. Which means one of the first essential daily chores of the Compleat Desert Hermit is to get liquid water to his chickens.
And from now until sometime in late February or March, that’s going to be an issue needing address because the waterers absolutely will freeze overnight. Normally you’d just get a heating pad to keep the bottom of the waterer above freezing – but off-grid, electrical heaters are usually a no-no. Seriously, one of the most useful technological advances for off-grid electrical systems was the compact fluorescent lamp. Heat takes way too much juice – and particularly when it’s expected to run all night long.
So, as with most things, I fall back on redundancy.
Even if the air temperature never gets above freezing all day, the sun will heat up that south wall until it’s uncomfortably warm. Replace the frozen waterer with a spare from the powershed – which seldom goes far below freezing, though it may not be warm enough to thaw ice – and put the frozen one on the pad in front of the wall. When you come back in the afternoon, it’ll be well-thawed and ready to clean and store in the powershed for the next rotation.
You gotta understand and take advantage of the resources you have, because they may be completely different from the resources you grew up used to.