When we first moved to the farm, we inherited a few chickens. We had no idea what to do to keep the water liquid. There seems to be a lot of ideas out there but we decided to use these heated bases. You need a galvanized poultry fount to use it. You cannot use plastic.
Keep a spare one. If you have one quit when it’s -30C, you will have to scramble!
The biggest challenge when it’s really cold for several days is trying to fill up the “poultry fount” (we use the term “waterer”) without creating ice. If you get water between the double wall of the waterer, the heater base will not be able to thaw it. Ensure you never get water on the heater base! That will cause the contact between the base and the waterer to have a gap and the device won’t work.
Our egg room in the barn is kept above freezing. We keep spare waterers in there in case we have problems. They are dry and ice free.
The heater base is on a thermostat so you can leave it plugged in all the time.
We have had one quit so far. It’s a bit frustrating that the prices on these items keep going up. However, it’s still a good product that has worked really well for us.