Thanks to all for the many posts on watering. I spent weeks reading them and researching various solutions before deciding what to do. My initial thought was an automatic bowl hooked up to the house like a dog bowl but it didn't solve the problem of the chickens making a mess in the water and in Texas the water could still get pretty hot. Reading about the nipples they seemed like the way to go but I didn't like using a bucket because of the plastic -- we're trying to produce organic eggs and so we wanted to avoid plastic as much as possible. Drilling a stainless steel bucket seemed like it might be tricky. Also there's the problem of having to bring ice out to the bucket in the summer and having to heat it in the winter. Since the chickens spend the day running in the yard I had the option of having the waterer near the house and I thought if I kept the water in the house the temperature issue would pretty much be handled. So I set up a 2 &1/2 gal glass aquarium and ran a stainless steel hose for an icemaker out the window where it connects to a 3/4" PVC pipe that I built a frame for. The PVC pipe has 3 nipples inserted. Originally I was going to use the stainless steel nipples but they seem to have more problems than the regular ones. The far side of the pipe has a ball valve on it to allow for flushing out the pipe. The water pressure comes from siphoning action since the aquarium is higher. BTW my initial thought was to hook up to the house pressure but the nipples can't work with this unless you buy an expensive pressure reducing setup (drip irrigation stuff can't bring the pressure down enough -- the nipples can only handle maybe 3 pounds of pressure). As it's already pretty hot we add some ice to the aquarium and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gal of water to prevent algae. So far it seems to be working well and the chickens learned how to use it quickly. I found it was tough getting the nipples started into the 11/32" holes but putting them into my variable speed drill made it easier to get them started biting. The white handle on the top has a built in level so that I can make sure the far side is down hill. The handle/level was more for my amusement to try to figure out how to make it but hey got to keep it fun right? Hope this is useful for someone trying to figure out what to do.
Edited by breakout - 6/6/12 at 9:23pm