Bonafide Farm

Building a new horizontal nipple chicken watering system for the main coop

April 26th, 2014 § 2

The creation of the chick waterer went so well that I wasted no time in making a few more for the main coop. These would be permanent containers, so I used clear silicone to install the nipple waterers into a couple of recycled containers. Yes, I buy epsom salts in 10 pound tubs, about fifty pounds at a go. Don’t laugh. Farming really beats up the body!


These are actually pretty great containers because 1. they were free, 2. they’re opaque, which helps prevent algae growth, 3. they’re sturdy—if they held ten pounds of epsom salt they’d have no trouble holding ten pounds of water, and 4. they had well-positioned handles to make hanging easy.


The idea was to get rid of the situation below—hanging waterers that were the bane of my chicken-keeping life. The water got so dirty, downright filthy in the heat of summer, and when the chickens drank it down low enough the whole thing tipped, spilling the water out into the bedding and wetting the wooden floor of the coop enough to cause it to rot. The wet bedding is bad for birds, makes habitat for disgusting flies, and stinks. Plus, the one-gallon waterer needed to be filled twice a day in the heat of summer, and required frequent checking to make sure it hadn’t spilled.


With my new waterers assembled, it was time for some framing in the coop. I assembled a few bucks worth of supplies and fired up the drill.


First I put up some blocking, using a couple of scrap 2×4 pieces.


Then I cut a piece of scrap wood to length and screwed it in place on top of the blocking.


Finally I installed heavy-duty cup hooks to fit the width of the container handles.


And voila! A new chicken watering system!


I taught the chickens how to use the new waterers with the cranberry trick I used in the broody coop, and after a few weeks of use I am still happy with this system. The bedding remains dry, there’s enough water in the containers to avoid filing them every day, and it stays clean and fresh. Down the line I could even add more containers if I wanted. In all this is an incredible upgrade that solved the biggest, messiest problem of chicken-keeping, and I am happy with how it turned out. I only wish these new horizontal nipple waterers would have been available four years ago when I started keeping chickens!

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§ 2 Responses to “Building a new horizontal nipple chicken watering system for the main coop”

  • Dani says:

    It looks like you and I have the same waterer and the same problems with it!

    I ordered the horizontal nipples. They sat on my dining room table for weeks because I got distracted by the excellent weather and spent my time in the garden.

    A friend of mine gave me all her empty vinegar jugs, and now the birds have this:

    (I hope that link works.)

    Best wishes to you

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Awesome work, Dani! I hope you find your new watering system as brilliant as I did!

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