Ice free water dishes for winter

I have used a storm/hurricane lamp inside a chimney pot with a terracotta dish on top last winter, the lamp kept the water ice free during the day. I emptied the dish at night. Bird Bath Heater Parts required; Flat top chimney pot, Terracotta plant dish/saucer, Paraffin lamp, 2 thin slats of wood. Chimney Pot Flat roll top type, either new from About £82, or recycled see The Cotswold Reclamation Co Ltd prices start from £50 + VAT. Note; I do not have any connection with either of these companies, just found them on Google. The chimney’s I use are 24” high, you can have other heights, but remember you have to reach inside to retrieve the paraffin lamp by its handle. Do not use the louvered or serrated top type chimneys as heat will be lost. Terracotta Plant Dish Available from any good garden centre. I use 14” and 16” diameter dishes anything bigger and the edges around the rim may ice up. DO NOT use a plastic dish it will either warp or melt, or a metal dish it will get too hot (and boil the birds!!!). Paraffin Lamp Otherwise known as Hurricane or Storm lamps, these are available on line (Amazon, E-Bay, Gumtree etc), or from good camping stores and if you are really lucky Ex MOD Army surplice stores. There are several makes available Feuerhand, Brunner or Chalwyn Tropic, the prices vary from £15 to £35 depending on the make. I use Chalwyn Tropic 10” high lamps (bought some years ago from an Army surplice store), I find it warms the air in the chimney and the base of the dish to a sufficient temperature to keep the water in the dish ice free but not getting it too hot. DO NOT buy the cheap and nasty Chinese made lamps, they leak paraffin and the glass cracks/shatters form the heat of the flame, they are designed as ornaments only. Thin Slats of Wood Place one at the base of the chimney pot and other diagonally opposite at the top (held in place by the dish). This allows air flow to the lamp and exhaust of fumes at the top. (See photos below). Operation Light the paraffin lamp outdoors, place carefully into the chimney pot and let it sit squarely in the middle at the bottom. Put dish on top of chimney (and the top slat of wood), then fill with water; this kept the water ice free when the temperature dropped to minus 6 degrees. The birds are not worried about the paraffin fumes they bathe/drink quite happily. The lamp fuel should last for at least 8 hours, more than enough for the short winter days. At night empty the dish and stand it on its side so there is little ice formation in the dish, then remove the lamp carefully and extinguish the flame, top paraffin as required. Regards Brian Miles PS sorry photo's did not down load
  • Thank you Brian, thats a very good idea shame you could not upload the pictures but there are restriction on the size of the file your can upload.


    Strange you could upload them to another thread but here is your picture.