Ironically I didn't even need to use the huggy last winter. There were only three weeks where I considered it frigid and the water never froze up once.
UPDATE* two years later 2015 Dec 7th and it still working great!
UPDATE* end of winter/early spring 2014
This thing worked GREAT ALL WINTER LONG and we had a brutal winter this past year in Illinois than we've had in decades. The windchill was -20 and -30 many many times. Now mind you I kept this indoors as i did my girls all winter long and I did use my homemade insulated cover .... It's that gray looking huggy cover you see in the below photo. I think that is what really helped this product work so well when the temps where way below zero. It helped keep all that goodness that the built-in defroster gives off. I totally recommend this product as it really kept my girls in drink and saved me ALOT from having to trek out in the snow for daily water hauling ! I have only four girls and this amount of water lasted well more than a week before it needed refilling. Only thing is that once it's full and the bottom is re-attached it is a bit of a bugger to flip back right side up. You need quick, stealthy hands to flip and than grab the handle without the bottom unlocking and falling off spilling a huge splash all over... Other than that issue I still L O V E it.
~ ~ ~
GUESS WHAT ?!? IT DOES WORK!!! last night it was -2 degrees and their water was still free flowing! very happy bout that. i'm sure it also helps that i have their water located inside the coop which keeps it protected from the wind.
A week later and only one day did it have a small thin layer of ice starting to form and my girls were able to break that open with their pecking.
Today I went one step further and made an insulated huggy that slips down over it because quite often it does goes below zero here at night and the paper work does state this product really only good to zero degrees. What I did was I had saved the insulation blanket that my old kitchen dishwashing machine was wrapped in and used that. It was quite long, 4 ft. i think so I cut it in half . The insulation was encased in thin plastic like a garbage bag. I took duct tape and covered the entire one side of it with strips of duct tape (so chickens wouldn't pick at the insulation) and took it out there and wrapped it around and fastened it with more duct tape. I think this will work quite well for me.
Up until now I had been refilling their water every single day and when it froze changed it out three times a day. Even though I only have four hens am really glad this bucket holds 3 gallons of water so I only need to carry water out there about every fourth day now! It's becoming increasingly harder challenge for me to carry items and walk any distance doing both at the same time so this is really going to make a big happy difference for both me and my girls!
Also want to share an idea that i found here. This gal is so clever. Never would I have thunk this up on my own. It's a Cookie Tin Waterer Heater by Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick® !! If I hadn't already just bought my heated poultry bucket I definitely would have made this. Still might just for heck of it ! Always can use a back-up plan. Please visit her site. She's got photos and an instructable all ready made up on how to do this clever idea!