I understand liquids freezing and expanding. If I let your basic ceramic
bird bath out all year here in WI, would it crack? Showing my age now, but
I remember when milk was delivered to your door and if it froze, it never
cracked the bottle, it expanded out the top.
So if I have water in a bird bath and it freezes, will it expand upward or
sideways and crack the thing. Yes I know, but I don't want to run a heater.
I just turn the bowl part upside down for winter, its a heavy 3 piece
job, pedestal, bowl and an angel on top, all made of fine cast
concrete. If concrete, spawling (my spell checker gave up on that one)
is a problem.
If yours is concrete or stone and all one piece then definitely keep
water from freezing in it, take it inside or cover it in some way.
Plastic shouldn't be a problem unless it could blow away in a 'Noreaster ;)
Just an opinion. What will happens depends more on the shape of the bowl.
Sloped sides should let the ice rise. Steep, deep sides more likely to
I have a shallow one that I carved out of a piece of flat rock and it has
never cracked. I suspect it gets a good bit colder in WI and stays that way
longer than it does in KY.
I think if I were in your shoes I would turn it upside down and leave it
Nice to meet another person who recalls milk in glass bottles on the front
If you live in cold climates, you look for one with sides sloped and
smooth enough, that the ice will simply rise up as it expands. Or take
it down/turn it over in winter. Just a crust of ice is seldom a problem-
only when the sucker freezes solid. Yes, ice expands all directions.
That is why people throw telephone poles in pools they don't want to
empty- pole floats, and as water freezes, it pushes it up, getting
(hopefully) enough expansion room without blowing out the side walls.
(Seen it done, but never had a pool myself to verify it works.)
I guess I wasn't clear. I would like for the birds to have a water source
when it does warm enough to melt the ice, but I don't want to be making
trips out there to flip it back up and add water every time it does. It's
not always below freezing in winter.
I wonder if it would help to line the bird bath with black plastic.
We used to have artisan wells on the farm years ago. They ran all
winter without freezing up. Would there be some way to keep the water
moving? Circulation pump for a fish tank?
Depends on bird bath. It isn't common, but I have seen it a few times,
when basin had vertical sides. If OP is worried, he could just put the
water in a tin or plastic pie plate or serving tray weighted down with a
few small stones, inside the bird bath. Measure what he has, and visit
nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army, and a buck or two should turn up
something usable. In my experience, most winter birds ignore bird baths,
for the same reason I try not to step in puddles in winter. If they do
need water, there is always a drip or a puddle somewhere close by.
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