I originally watered my chickens with a $30-something metal hanging waterer I got at the feed store (which you can see at this post about the Mama Heating Pad Brooder). In under a year of use, the metal has already started to deteriorate from the constant water exposure. Due to leaving it on a cinderblock, it doesn’t usually get dirty unless someone goes crazy and decides it’s time to overturn everything in the coop, but generally speaking the water quality has definitely gone down with time and so has cleanliness.
Enter the chicken waterer nipples. My bestie at Shady Side Farm deserves full credit for this post, since after she very kindly brooded two Black Jersey Giants for me and decided I should take her Cuckoo Maran rooster too since roos aren’t allowed where she lives, she set me up with a milk jug chicken waterer and left me with extra nipples to make more. Making more so was stupidly easy, I regretted not doing it sooner!
To get the birds used to it is pretty easy if you have a few birds who already were raised using the nipples, and that’s how they got water to begin with. The other birds will watch and copy. If you’re starting fresh like with my older birds, I gradually had the waterer run low with the only water being from the jugs. If they’re particularly slow, you can dip their beaks into it like you sometimes do when you take chicks home so they know where water is, but mine have always been pretty quick on the uptake.
- Chicken waterer nipples (25 pack found here or 5 pack found here for about half the cost of 25 – my friend got 25)
- Thoroughly cleaned out milk jug
- Something to poke a hole with (drill bit, I used a tiny knife – just careful not to cut it too wide! 5/16″ is recommended)
- Something to hang the jug with – I used leftover hay bail ties
- Poke a hole in the bottom of your clean milk jug smaller than the nipple base, preferably on a corner opposite the handle if you’re hanging it from the handle in the coop or run so if the water gets lower it will pool to the side with the nipple
- Twist the chicken waterer nipple in, making sure the sealing plastic is flush with the base
- Add water, check for leaks – can use kitchen-safe caulk or the like if having any leaking around the plastic, but if it’s around the metal then the nipple is likely faulty
- Hang in barn/coop/run/wherever you choose. Hang so that the birds can be standing under it or to the side while they get their water. I have two heights for different sized birds since I have bantams in my flock with my big, fat Brahma.
- Much cleaner
- Doesn’t deteriorate at concerning and fast rates for the cost
- Less wasted water
- Multiple watering locations inexpensive to set up
- Uses plastic (which I’m not a huge fan of, but this may be one of those times it’s necessary)
- Small gallon jugs = supposedly more water refills (though honestly, due to the decrease in waste, I’ve found that I refill water less frequently, and my friend uses a 5 gallon bucket instead of the one gallon milk jugs I use)
Let me know if anyone else gives it a try! I’m a huge fan of the waterers myself!