Note: I’ve since built a different waterer with ABS pipe that is easier to manage. When I have a moment, I’ll put together a how-to on that build.
We were using a traditional gravity waterer to water our chickens. Unfortunately, chickens don’t really adhere to standards of hygiene that we’d like them to. The watering tray would be filled with feathers, straw, dirt and poop after a day of drinking and scratching in the run. The other downside was that it was providing water for the neighborhood rats. We also tried an automatic waterer that uses a float, but we still had the same problems with pollution and access, and the float would jam.
A nipple waterer solves the problem of hygiene by keeping the water supply apart from the environment and cuts down on waste. Building one is simple enough. You will need:
- one 5 gallon bucket with lid
- two to four nipple waterers (screw-in type with gasket)
- one 11/32″ drill bit
- electric drill
You don’t need to use a five gallon bucket specifically. Any clean, sturdy plastic container will do. The Home Depot variety has a handle and stores an ample amount of water.
You will need to devise a method of either hanging or mounting the waterer after it is complete.
Give your chickens a healthy boost by adding raw apple cider vinegar to the water. Add 1 tablespoon per gallon. It helps keep the water algae free and has trace nutrients beneficial to your chickens. Read more about it here and here.