Originally Posted by Mely75
I wish I had seen this before I put my open style water tray in my brood house. I've since put in vertical drippers with a small 1/2 gallon water source, but I cant seem to wean them off the open water tray.
I'm leaving both in for safety factor while I am at work, but I would really like to get away from the mess of the open watering style, any tips for this scenario.
Simple answer? If you know they know how to use the nipple waterer. remove the alternative. It only takes a chick (or chicken) a few minutes to figure out that water comes out when they trip the trigger. If they have a more familiar water source in there, they'll go for that every time instead. But I saw chicks stare at the underside of a leaf intently, and even though I couldn't see what they were staring at, they could....and one zapped that little droplet of water just as it dawned on me! If they can spot a drop of water on the underside of a leaf they can learn to trip the mechanism on a bright red horizontal or vertical nipple.
I was using the open waterer for my first chicks last year and cleaning constantly. And let's face it - wet litter and chicken poop stinks, I don't care who tries to tell me differently. They were about 3 weeks old and I was over it. I was whining to some of my friends on here and got an education real fast! Done. No weaning them off either. I was over it. Removed the open one, substituted the vertical nipple one, and they caught on right away. Did I worry they weren't getting enough water? Yep, for about 2 hours. But then I started hearing that little "click click" sound with regularity and knew they were hitting it well. So that was it. Now my old open waterer is gone and every chicken water container has nipples. I use a 5 gallon bucket from Lowes and put the horizontal nipples in it. I have a 2 gallon smaller one for the vertical nipples for the chicks. I brood my chicks outdoors in a "cave" with no heat lamp and as much as I'd like to I just can't watch them 24/7. I like not having to check every half hour to make sure their water isn't fouled or dumped. Last year's chicks are now a year and a half old, and this year's chicks are almost 7 months old and they are all doing great.
If for one minute I thought they weren't getting enough water or that they were dehydrated, I'd be the first to pull out the nipple system and put in an open waterer. (And would someone explain to me why the little spell checker dude hates the word "waterer?" Us chicken folk know that's a word!!) They do use an open pan when they are out in the yard. They share it with the dog. Out there I don't care if the water spills and they aren't kicking litter or pooping in it. And they have no trouble going back to the nipple waterer when they go back into the run.