Smart Water for Chickens

We have been surprised and delighted to find that keeping chickens is lower maintenance than we expected. The only chore we try to pawn off on each other is changing their water. We have a standard metal waterer that they like to stand on, which means inevitably they poop in it. We could get creative with what we have, but even if we stopped them from standing on it the water still gets dirty. We wanted to try something with a smarter design, so we got online and ordered some poultry nipples.

I ordered from this seller on Amazon and received them almost immediately. It cost $11.49 for five nipples, including shipping. If you don’t have the ability or tools to put one together yourself, you can order a bucket with nipples already installed for $35 from The Garden Coop folks.

Then we went to our co-op to get a food grade bucket. Instead of buying something brand new, we paid 50¢ for a used peanut butter bucket. Ramona approves.

The order included handy instructions for “Mounting your nipples.”

The special tools you need are a drill, a 5/16 drill bit, an 11mm nut driver for the drill, and thread tape. Thread tape is in the plumbing section and costs about a buck. It makes the fit more snug to prevent water leaks. You can also add some silicone caulk, but so far this seems to be water tight. I pre-drilled the holes with a smaller bit first, because I have cracked plastic when drilling through it before. This bucket is pretty tough, though. I did run into a problem. My nut driver was the right width, but not deep enough to fit over the poultry nipple. I tried for awhile to screw them in by hand and it absolutely wouldn’t work. I finally had to jury-rig a socket from a wrench set and a screwdriver bit on the drill to get the nipples attached. Success!

The chickens are like this:

They started pecking at them in under a minute. Fingers crossed that they figure it out! We are leaving the old metal waterer in the coop until we are certain they all are experts at drinking water from a poultry nipple. If these babies can do it, I think our flock can too.


Filed under chickens

6 responses to “Smart Water for Chickens

  1. Awesome post… love it!

  2. Pingback: Google Alert – keeping chickens | Chicken Ark

  3. Neat! We have something along these lines for inside the coop ( and a huge rubbermaid storage container in the run, with milk crates next to it so they can hop up and drink. I think I am going to switch out the outdoor one for a real trough though, since the one we have isn’t really weatherproof.

    • misterkrista

      So do you have to dump out the rubbermaid trough often? They don’t poop in it? Somehow just having the little open area on the bottom of the metal waterer ours get all kinds of dust and dirt and feathers in there, even when it is propped up on a cinderblock.

      • No, I dump it out about once every week or so. There isn’t really anything for them to get on top of to poop down into it, and it’s about 2 ft tall, so they can’t kick straw into it. (They poop on the milk crates a lot, though!)
        When we had the inside waterer propped up, they always filled it with pine shavings and dirt and poop. Now we have it suspended from the ceiling of the coop so it’s pretty high up off the ground. I clean it out when it gets too dusty, but they don’t poop in it anymore. Maybe they’ve gotten more mature? I don’t know, but my life is much less gross now.

  4. LOL So cute for the chicken on smartwater box!

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