When you envision a refreshing drink of water, it is probably chilled to perfection and crystal clear. Having clean drinking water is of the utmost importance not only for us but also for our farm animals. Though most animals can be trusted to not pollute their waterers, chickens are a pretty consistent exception to this rule. They relieve themselves indiscriminately, paying no attention to where it is that their feces may end up, such as in their drinking water. This is a problem because it results in contaminated water which can in turn lead to the spread of illness.
Standard chicken waterers have an open bowl area which is convenient for chickens to drink but also poses problems in that chickens can actually get into the water or tower over it. Since gravity works on feces, a chicken defecating above a waterer turns into quite a mess. Instead of having the water below the chicken, perhaps it is time to turn the tables and put the water above the chicken.
Chicken nipples are one of the easiest and most effective means at providing clean water for poultry. Combine them with a lidded five gallon bucket or soda bottle and you have a self-contained water source that cannot be contaminated by chicken excrement. These containers can be filled with fresh, clean water and suspended in and around coops to give chickens constant access to healthy water rather than water that is dirty and potentially harmful when consumed.
In order to create your own such waterer, you will first need chicken nipples which can be found here. It is then necessary to have the correctly sized drill bit (11/32) in order to create the holes into which the nipples will go. Finally, choose between a large soda bottle (2 or 3 liter) with a screw on cap or a five gallon bucket with secure lid to serve as your water container. With these items on hand, you can begin the process of creating your new waterer.
In either the cap of your soda bottle or the bottom of your five gallon bucket, select the place you wish to place your chicken nipple. In that location, drill a hole; soda bottles will have space for only one nipple but five gallon buckets can hold up to four. These should be evenly spaced around the bucket so several chickens can utilize them at once. With your holes complete, screw chicken nipples in place. If you wish, Teflon tape can be added for an additional seal but the fit is usually good with an 11/32 drill bit.
With your chicken nipples in place, all that is left is to determine a location for placement of the container. Hang it securely in a location where chickens will be able to access it with ease, bearing in mind that height adjustments may be necessary for if/when you have chicks. Additionally, make sure the location you choose is convenient for you to access it for refills. It is also necessary to introduce chickens to their new water source as not all birds will figure it out on their own.
By utilizing a container with chicken nipples, you are able to offer clean water to poultry animals at all times. In addition to avoiding feces in the water, these containers prevent mosquitoes and other pests from taking over water sources. The effort and expense of a nipple waterer is well worth it for you and your chickens, but if you are concerned that your craftsmanship skills are lacking, you can always buy one already assembled. Regardless of how you come to own a nipple waterer, the benefits of having it are worth it for healthy chickens and time saved around the farm.