Who knew that raising chickens would be such an opportunity to work on my handy-man skills. Our first chicken project was the brooder and last weekend I undertook the project of building a new watering system for the ladies. Why a watering system you ask? Well, let me tell you. While these girls are adorable, their housekeeping skills are abysmal. They get p*#p and wood chips everywhere... including their food and water. We have attempted to alleviate this problem by raising up the feeder and water as they grow, but the water especially was always filthy and in need of changing. In addition to that, they are eating and drinking a lot more now than they did initially so it was time for something with a higher capacity that would keep the water cleaner. Enter chicken nipples (I'm not kidding. Search for it on amazon. That's really what they are called). Chicken nipples allow you to build a watering system similar to what you might use for a rabbit or a guinea pig. Basically, the chickens peck at a metal piece that then releases a drop or two of water which the bird drinks. They just keep pecking until they've had their fill. The nipples come in two different types. The first type has threads, so you simply drill a hole in the bottom of a bucket, screw in the nipple(s), hang your bucket where the chickens can reach it and you are done. I opted for a slightly more complicated system. With the nipples that I ordered you drill your holes in a length of 3/4" PVC pipe, then attach that length of pipe to a hose which eventually connects to a reservoir of some kind (5 gallon bucket). Our finished system looks like this (the hot water heater is not part of the system):
|Finished watering system: The 5 gallon bucket feeds a 3' section of PVC containing 5 drinking stations|
I opted for the PVC pipe system because I wanted the reservoir to be located outside of the chicken enclosure. For now, we are using it in the brooder, but once the chicken tractor is complete and the girls have moved outside, they'll be taking this watering system along with them. I installed a 2'x2' section of pegboard along one wall of the brooder to allow for easy height adjustment as the chicks grow. This worked like a charm. I would love to say this was an original idea, but I totally borrowed it from somewhere on the internet.
|The pipe is zip-tied to a standard peg board hook.|
At first the girls were too busy eating to stop for a drink so we removed the food to see if that would help. Within a half an hour they were all drinking away. (we did give their food back)
|First one tried it.|
|And soon they all wanted to try. In true chicken fashion they always all want to use the same one.|
|Now they are pros|