Animals Chickens — 29 June 2013

I decided that I wanted to build a chicken watering system using watering nipples for the chickens.  My main reason for doing this is to prevent chicken poo from entering into the water.  If there is one thing I’ve learned so far is that chickens poop everywhere.  If there is any place a chicken can stand, then there will be poop below.

I’ve been using a small chicken water like the one pictured below.  This worked great with the chicks, but it did require often cleaning (daily), since they would sometime walk in (and poop in) the water trough.

Small waterer I used for the chicks

Small waterer I used for the chicks

I guess I’m a lazy, but I wanted something that I could fill with water and not worry about for a week or so, and didn’t require a lot of cleaning.

The chicken nipple watering system may be the answer.  Here is the model that I bought from Amazon:

Here is How I did It

Lets get down to business, this is how I build my chicken waterer.

Step 1 – Drill holes in a 2-inch PVC pipe

The chicken nipple instructions should tell you the size of the hole that you need.  I spaces them out about 8-inches apart, and put in 3 holes.  The package of chicken nipples came with 5 nipples.  I installed three, broke one, and have one as a backup.  If you have more than 6 chickens you may consider putting in more chicken nipples.  A one-to-one ratio of chicken nipples to chickens is not necessary.

I used a 2-inch pipe because I was worried that a smaller pipe would cause leaking at the nipple since the threaded nipples would be on a curved surface.

Step 2 – Insert chicken nipples

Inserting the chicken nipples was a little difficult.  I ended up attaching the nipples to a drill in order to insert into the pilot holes.  As I mentioned above, I ended up breaking one of the nipples using the drill.

Step 3 – Seal the end of the Pipe

I used a 2-inch PVC cap to close one end of the 2-inch pipe.  On the other end I used bushing reducers to change the size from 2-inch to 1/2-inch.

Inside the Coop

Inside the Coop

I used two 90-degree elbows to take the 1/2-inch pipe up and through the side of the chicken coop wall.

Step 4 – Create a standpipe for air to escape when filling

As the pipe is filling with water, the air needs to escape.  I put the standpipe just on the outside wall of the coop.  You could also put it on the inside (consider changing the 90-degree elbow with a tee).  The standpipe will need to raise to the water level in the bucket.  See picture below in step 6.

Step 5 – Connect a faucet to a 5-gallon bucket

The 5-gallon bucket will the the water tank.  I chose to place the bucket on the outside of the coop for easy access and to prevent the chickens from getting into the water.

In my first attempt I screwed the faucet directly into a hole I drilled into the side of the bucket.  The bucket wall thickness is very thin, and the connection was flimsy.  I opted to go with a bulkhead fitting instead. These are a little bit expensive, but they work really well.  Here are some pictures of how I connected the faucet to the bucket.

Here is the bulkhead fitting on Amazon.  These are also available at Lowes and Home Depot.


Step 6 – Connect the bucket to the 1/2-inch pipe with poly tubing

The bucket water tank will need to be placed higher than the 2-inch pipe with the water nipples.  This will allow the water to flow by gravity.

Since my coop has the nesting boxes on the outside of the coop, I am able to rest the bucket water tank on top of the nesting boxes.  If a shelf isn’t available, you may consider hanging the bucket from a rope tied to the rafters.


The transition fitting on the faucet allows me to disconnect the poly tube from the bucket.  I can then carry the bucket to fill with water.  I paid close attention to make sure the faucet does not extend below the bottom of the bucket.  This allows me to rest the bucket on any flat surface (easy for filling with water).

If I was really high tech, I could directly connect the water to a float in the bucket (like a horse or cow water trough).

That’s It

With a few items, the chicken waterer is finished.  There are a lot of ways this project could be modified to fit your coop.  Hope this helps!





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