In process of converting rain barrel to gravity fed watering system for chicken run. Like the title of the thread, how high should I mount the nipples? My birds are about 6 weeks old and getting water in the coop but I'd like them to have access to water outside with summer coming on and want to be ready when they're full grown. Thanks.
How high should I set my watering nipples?
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I would mount the nipples at around 2 inches from the bottom of the barrel.
Then raise the barrel to about bird eye level, and adjust the barrel as they get bigger.
I ran mine close to a foot high and that is for chicks that are still about 6 weeks from laying. I originally was all worried about that seeing that I used PVC pipe with no easy way to adjust. Unless there is something I'm missing, they can bend, be level, or raise way up when they want to and they seem to have zero problems using the 3 horizontal nipples I installed into a 1 1/4" pvc pipe.
I'm planning a smiliar system. You used inch and a quarter pipe? What diameter is your hose to the pipe? Did you seal the cap on the end with putty or is it just screwed on? I'm also thinking a foot high and if there are shorter or less mature birds, providing a brick or board as a "stepladder" for them.
The cleanout end is for a possible bristle brush cleaning once a year, however for everything to fit fine I'm almost too close to the food to make that happen easily. I intentionally planned on going through the wire and to the outside again for just such a situation. Sort of wish I had. Just after filling the unit with water, I found that I have two pin hole leaks in the 4" to 1 1/4" joint and in the nipple closest to that joint. The sand floor is slowly getting more wet. I just purchased some wet weld to try and seal it up while wet. You can also let the pipe hang lower on one end and higher on the other. They aren't that finicky. They can contortion that neck all sorts of ways to get what they want, including water. Just get it to where you think would be reasonable. I'm saying for a mature hen maybe 12 inches or so? Mind you, there are way more experienced than me, but I'm finding them to seem just fine. I call my system semi automatic, meaning, there is no hose hooked up to it. I fill it. That is due to a recent owner/builder not giving me an outside faucet on that side of my home. A fully automated system would be nice. Then I'm guessing you'd just hook up a hose bib to the feeding end, and turn it on. Consider heat tape like you put on roofs for snow, if you live in a cold area that the water could ice up on you. Then of course electrical is also an issue. I don't have an easy way to add electrical or full-time water. But I think we're good. Best of luck!