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.