Tired of cleaning out the poultry waterer every day? We were too, that’s why we designed this simple DIY automatic watering system that provides fresh clean water year round . . .Raising your own chickens can be very rewarding, fresh eggs whenever you want them, fresh meat (if you’re so inclined), they eat the nasty bugs and ticks that hang out in your yard and they actually can be pretty friendly too. However if you work a weird schedule or have kids or like to go camping or travel… you might be holding off on getting them..wondering who’ll take care of them. Here’s how we built our own automatic watering system… that stays CLEAN!
We build this system because our hens were trashing their watering dish daily. I literally would get it scrubbed out and within 20 minutes, it would be nasty from a hen stepping in it or using it as a bathroom.
We also had the issue of wanting to go camping for a weekend (or an entire week) and trying to find someone willing to come to change their water twice a day. That’s a lot to ask of a neighbor!
So we came up with this simple, do it yourself watering system that cost about $20 to make and install. The majority of it was thrown together using scraps we had lying around.
Poultry Watering Nipples ( 1 nipple per 3 chickens)
Drill w/ 3/8″ drill bit
PVC Cement/Glue & Primer
Scrap wood or 1 – 2″x4″ few screws)
1 shut off Valve
PVC End Cap
Drill holes in the PVC pipe in a straight line. Be sure to leave plenty of room at the ends for the end cap and also in the middle if you’re installing a spigot.
You’ll want to space them about 6″ apart to give your chickens plenty of room. Insert the rubber grommets from the nipple waterers into each hole, then insert the nipple into the set grommets, at this point you may wish to apply silicone around each watering nipple as you set them.
This is optional, but we built ours 5 years ago and NONE of the nipples have ever leaked (knock on wood).
Glue the End Cap on the PVC pipe using PVC cement.
Attach a the fill/shut off valve. Cut the 2×4 into small 14″ pieces and make X’s using screws to hold them together.
These will provide the bracing to hold the waterer up off the ground to the height for the chickens.
You can plumb in a valve at the top of the pvc piping to keep the entire pipe closed, or you can leave one end open and just run a hose into it.
Our hose is set on a timer, it adds water every 3 hours for 5 minutes, keeping the pipe filled with fresh cold water.
Leaving one end open also makes it easier to flush out the pipe every few months for cleaning, or allows for adding vinegar (for worming) on occasion and also to prevent fungus or algae from building in the pipes.
We have 30+ chickens, we can fill their food buckets and leave them for 2 weeks unattended, without worry.
Due to the sheer size of this particular waterer (it’s 18′ Long) we added a Flush valve pipe in the middle so we can
occasionally power flush the pipe if desired
Keep in mind you can do this on a MUCH smaller scale using just 3/4″ PVC Pipe and a hose.
Here are the Poultry-Waterer-Instructions for that.
The chickens will VERY quickly catch on that water comes from the nipples when they press or peck them, there’s about a 3-minute learning curve per bird, then it’s monkey see, monkey do.
We use this watering system year round (in South Carolina) without any freezing issues, but if you live in colder climates, you might want to invest in a heat tape wrap during the winter months.