Chickens need a lot of water. A lot! And we like to sleep in late on the weekends (… ok who am I kidding, I like to sleep in everyday!) We also like to travel, and we don’t want to have to depend on friends and neighbors to fill up our chicken’s water twice a day (or more). So we decided that we wanted an automatic watering system. I found this tutorial online. I would do a little more research on these things. They are pretty simple, but for some reason, we had a hard time configuring this thing. We ordered our watering nipples from Amazon and once they came in, we got to work building our waterer.
We had some left over thin wall PVC from the feeder we built, so we cut it to size and assembled it. I drilled our holes for our water nipples.
They fit perfectly!
Then we used pipe dope to seal them.
Here’s our waterer with the nipples in. We decided to make it an “L” shape so there would be some storage room, therefore allowing it to fill up less frequently.
Then it sat for a week. We had a million other projects to do and this one got put on the back burner. But that’s ok. When we started this project back up, we started by burying 80 ft of hose from our pump house to the coop. That took a while. Burying it keeps it from freezing in the winter. All we will have to insulate is from the faucet to the ground and from the ground to the waterer. Once we got that buried, we started working on getting the waterer to work in the coop. Originally, we wanted to pressurize the waterer so we could just keep the faucet on and they would always have fresh water. This didn’t work. We just didn’t have the right items. Plus, it blew out a few of the nipples. So we had to figure out another way to get these babies some water. We settled on a timer system – same set up, but just on a timer and with a vent hole for overflow. We attached it to an inside wall and connected the water and when we turned it on, the chickens were so excited about this new play thing in their coop.
There was only one problem… well, three. Three of the nipples were leaking and wouldn’t stop. We know that, based on reviews, that nipples will leak if they aren’t perfectly vertical. But they were. So we were very flustered. Instead of waiting for more nipples to come in, we went back to the drawing board and thought up other ideas. We could rebuild the waterer with regular PVC and attempt to pressurize that system, but we figure that was too much added on work and we didn’t want to spend any more money. We ended up deciding to just let it leak, but on the outside of the coop. We moved it outside and under the coop so the chickens would have plenty of fresh water while they were free-ranging. This made perfect sense. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this earlier. They would need some source of water during the day, and why make them go in and out of the coop all day long just for water? They are babies now, and can’t use it to its full extent, but we still have the gallon waterer in the coop, and will continue to use it throughout their lives.
We decided to keep an extra hose as well out by the coop so we would have an easier way of getting water. This will also be our way to fill up the gallon waterer, as well as rinse off anything that needs rinsing off.
Our view from under the coop. It gives them, plus our renter’s chickens, plenty of fresh water.
So, although it was a very stressful project, I am happy to announce that it works! And, we don’t have to worry about the dripping causing mold or mildew or rotting in our coop floor. If you ever want to try an automatic watering system, be sure to have a good idea in place before attempting this project.