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Friday, January 29, 2016

DIY Chicken Waterer - Super Easy

I've struggled a bit to find a chicken waterer that works well for my particular setup. The struggle became more real with freezing temperatures. I have no power to my coop or run and wasn't interested in starting now. What I needed was something that (1) I could easily add warm water to if it was frozen, (2) hung from a chain to from kicking yuck into it.

In my many google searches, I ran across this blog from three years ago onNatural Chicken Keeping: Comparison of Poultry Cup Drinkers. The information was so helpful and I liked how she put the cups on a five gallon bucket, even though she kept the lid and put the bucket on blocks. So I decided to follow her lead and make my own. 

Step One - Supplies: I started with ordering eight 300 Poultry Cup Drinkers from Cornerstone ($22.14 with shipping), enough for two buckets.

Then I grabbed two 5 gallon buckets from Home Depot. I got one that was white ($4.97) and an orange one (2.89) as well. The orange is cheaper than the white, but the white looks a little nicer.

Next, I needed the right tools. I have an electric drill, but not a drill bit the right size. I had waited until the cups arrived in the mail to size them to a bit. It turns out the 11/32" bit is the perfect size. Then I grabbed a tape measurer and a pen to mark the spot for the holes to be drilled.

Now we're ready for action.

Step Two - Measure and mark: The bucket is 33" around. With 4 cups I measured about every 8 inches around where I wanting the cups to be located. As far as the vertical placement, the water is pulled through the holes using gravity. So you will want them low enough to get as much water out of the bucket as possible, while still being high enough to let the bottom of the water hold any sediment that would float to the bottom. You don't want anything that falls into the bucket to clog the cups. Also, I learned that you want to place the cups high enough that when you set the bucket on a flat surface, the cups hover above the ground. If they extend below and the bucket has water in it, they'll snap right off (see my placement in the image below). So, the short story is - 1 1/2" inches from the bottom and every 8" around the bucket.

Step Three - Drill the holes.

Step Four - Holding the Poultry Cup at an angle I press it firmly enough into the drilled hole that it stays held itself. I then turn the cup, screwing into place, twisting it a little past when it is flush against the bucket to ensure it doesn't leak.

And that's it! After inserting all 4 cups, I take mine into the bathroom and do a water test run with the tub. You never know. Everything was in order and I took them to the coop to hang them up.

The orange one is hanging for the large hens to drink from in the main area of the run and the white one is balanced on boards for the 10 week old chicks to have in their area. Mike has been the only one I've seen drink from one of the cups so far, but I'm watching and hoping they all figure it out.

I did throw a water bottle full of salt water into the orange bucket to help with the freezing. I've found that it keeps the water from freezing for about another 5-10 degrees lower and the water around the bottle does not freeze, so it's not ever a solid block of ice.

Final Note - Total cost was about $17 for the white and $13 for the orange waterer. Worth every penny. See the final results in my coop below!