4 Dollar Chicken Feeder Water

By BYC Support · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. BYC Support
    From Message Board member Kent in WA:
    "You can make free waterers and feeders for about $4. Check at your local grocery store. If they have a deli or bakery then ask for their buckets. My local Albertsons has all the free buckets you'll ever need. I've picked up a couple dozen 2.5 - 5 gallon buckets.
    Buy a 20 inch plastic planter base ($4) and drill 1" holes all the way around the base of the bucket. Bolt the planter base to the bucket. 5 gal bucket will hold about 40 lbs of feed. If you have lots of free buckets a quick waterer can be made from a 5 gal bucket in about 5 mins. You need a 2 inch hole saw bit, I use the one I bought for installing a door knob. Drill 2 inch holes all the way around the top of the bucket.
    Birds will be able to stick their heads in the bucket to reach the water. They will hold about 3 gals of water. Hey for nothing you can't beat that!"


    From Message Board member Utah:
    "I have used this waterer for about 20 birds. It sits on two cynder blocks (or however you spell it) - And in one of the holes in the block I put an extension cord with a 25 or 40 watt bulb screwed into one of those adapters that allows you to just plug it into the extension cord. It costs about $2.00 for the bulb adaptor, $3.00 for the cord, And below you see I have an oil pan that was $4.00, and the bucket with lid was free - it is a 6 gallon bucket.
    All I did was drill a half inch hole about 2 inches from the top of the bucket to allow water flow into the pan, and just pound the lid on for the seal, then place it upside down in the pan. The oil pans are about 4 inches deep so there is room for mistakes. And with the bulb underneath for heat, this works out great for my 20 birds. It lasts about one week with water."

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Also see our forum section on Feeding & Watering Your Flock

    Share This Article

Recent User Reviews

  1. rabbit0927
    "Love this idea"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 3, 2018
    I love it and can't wait to try it myself this weekend.
  2. Aceoky
    "Great ideas for less $$$!!!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 25, 2018
  3. Ted Cambron
    "Way To Keep It Simple"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 14, 2018
    I think the other reviews were unfairly critical. This article is clear and easy to understand. Could it be written better? Sure, but we're not editors in chief. We're chicken lovers! I really appreciate how easy it is to build your own waterer and feeder and this article shows you just that. Thank you.
    Aceoky likes this.


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. MichelleSoto
    This is a great idea, my girls are getting ready to go out into the coop and currently make a mess with their little feeders, plus I worry they aren't getting enough to eat! Thank you.
  2. TLCMidMichigan
    For a water supply I think I'll go with the metal can and a heater in the winter. Its too cold in winter here to end up with spilled water in the coop. Plus the mess. It only needs about 4-5 months heated.
  3. TLCMidMichigan
    For the 5 gallon feeder I will use the Gamma Seal. It snaps on and then your able to unscrew the lid to fill.
    Putting the lid back on keeps it clean inside. No droppings or mice entering it.
    Its available from Home Depot. They come 3 at time. If the bucket gets broken, just remove and place on another bucket.
  4. blr8t2
    Would this work the same for the waterer if you drilled a hole in the bottom of the bucket so you can take the lid off and fill it from the top? Or does the top not seal well enough to do that?
  5. La Casa de Pollo
    Absolutely it is hard to flip the 5 gallon waterer over. I had shoulder surgery last year and could not do it for awhile. The feeder is fine you just fill from the top. The waterer flipping would be tough with arthritis. They are so nice to have though for vacations and whatnot, you can set out several and know they have plenty and they are cheap to make.
  6. wasp64
    If it's upside down, when you refill it, isn't it quite heavy to turn upside down again or am I not understanding it? I have arthritis in my hands .
    1. newt13
      1 gal. of H2o weighs 8 lb. x 5 = 40 lb. instead of flipping it drill a hole into the lid and use the neck of a food or vitamin container that has a flip up lid or screw on lid with an opening of 1" plus using it to fill with. Silicone it on to the lid(can put in a piece of pvc pipe before the neck) Aquarium silicone is too much. DAP makes 1 (50% off sale=$3.00 Can.). Ask big box store which one?
  7. Fetterolf Farm
    For feeder, I used a road emergency cone over a flat dish. With a heated knife, I cut holes at the lower part of the cone, then heated the holes to be smooth and not sharp. I used super glue to glue it to the plastic dish, then I cut a ring in the top of the cone that allows me to poor feed into it. You determine the size of the plastic dish to match the size of the cone.
  8. Fetterolf Farm
    hi, for a small number of chicken, I used the same theory but with an empty gallon of milk, which has a screw on cap. poke a needle hole at the lowest level of the container side. tighten the lid just enough to let the needle flow to leak into any right size flat dish. Water will stop leaking when needle hole is covered with water.
    This lasted new days and chicken could not climb over it or get it dirty. you can super glue gallon to the dish to keep from knocking it when empty.
  9. stryker
    I use this type of waterer as well. I live in North Dakota and place a 250wt flat disk birdbath heater between the bucket lid and pan. The heater keeps the water liquid in the coldest temps. I love the setup. I have a little over 40 birds and have not had the bucket tip with the heater in the pan.
  10. misfitmorgan
    Well....i remember back when i was in school and the teacher gave you that paper and it said read all directions/steps before starting.....if you did all you had to do was put your name on the paper and underline or circle a word, if not you ended up being the one rubbing your head and patting your belly. So i bring this memory up because it seems a few of us still forget to read all directions/steps.

    "All I did was drill a half inch hole about 2 inches from the top of the bucket to allow water flow into the pan, and just pound the lid on for the seal, then place it upside down in the pan."

    Turn the bucket over then the seal will not matter. Don't worry i had the same moment of...oOoH!! lol
  11. RoamingAngel
    making the top feeder and bottom watering one today! thanks!! :D
  12. gander007
    Good idea and easy enough to make thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. La Casa de Pollo
    You put a cinder block under the feeder, cinder blocks typically have two hollowed out holes in them and you put the bulb in the hole.
  14. donnajeanne
    I'm confused as to where the light bulb goes???
      mumofsix likes this.
  15. arpyhh
    I love this idea!! Recycle Reuse Renew!
  16. seattlejohn
    thanks electric481. yes, i failed to address the need for an airtight lid. now it makes sense. back to the work bench.
  17. Twisted-Rooster
    Great Idea!! I like the feeder and waterers!!
  18. electric481
    Perhaps I should have proof read that before I hit "post". Please over-look my grammar errors.
  19. electric481
    It's a simple enough theory and all (Fluid Dynamics) but I also had the same problem. If you are using the bucket as it would normally sit and not the upside down version, here is what I have learned. A) You must have an airtight lid. Any air that leaks into the bucket through the lid will empty your bucket. The key is that the only air that enters the bucket is allowed in through the holes that are drilled into the bottom of the bucket. I bought a food grade screw on bucket lid with a small gasket thinking it would allow the entire bucket opening for easy filling, but....I am having a terrible time get an airtight seal. I even silicone around the ring that actually pounds onto the bucket allow the lid to be screwed on. Still no go. My next attempt will be to use a lid with a 2" threaded hole with a screw on lid (the type the you might see on a paint bucket. B) You have to also be sure that the holes you drill are not above the elevation of the drinking pan that you plan to sit the bucket into. On my first go round, I had my holes a little too high. In theory it would have worked (IF the ground where you set is PERFECTLY level). Otherwise the water can flow over the edge of the pan and not fully cover the hole(s) in the bottom of the bucket, allowing air to enter the bucket and therefore emptying the bucket. C) On a separate issue, the hole size that you drill in bottom of the bucket are not really critical (as long as the water in the drinking pan covers the entire hole when it is filled with water), but....super small hole can get plugged with debris from either inside or out. Too large of a hole can make a mess and leak more water the necessary if you are in a situation where you have to fill the bucket remotely from your watering spot and carry it to where it belongs. Okay, my fingers are officially tired :) Hope that helps. Good luck.
  20. seattlejohn
    i tried this technique, with a 5-gal bucket and a saucerpan from a large plant. but all the h20 spilled out over the rim of the saucer. what did i do wrong?
  21. allygb99
    for idrankwhat
    you cann use a fish tank hater=) if i had more than 2 chickens thats what i would do.
  22. idrankwhat
    I like this. Probably going to use this idea, simple and cheap.
    My coop is going to be too far from the house to run electric or water though. Not sure how I can keep the water from freezing in winter. Any ideas on that?
  23. SoCal Chick
    Great ideas! Thank you for sharring.
  24. La Casa de Pollo
    What watt bulb do you use?
  25. collardgreen
    I use this water bucket, without the light (I live in northwest Florida) dont have much of a freezing problem. This has worked great for me and I have never had a problem with my chickens knocking the bucket off. I have it sitting on top of a concrete block also. You will notice when the water level starts dropping in the pan to go ahead and refill it. I allowed mine to become empty right after using it the first time, my girls let me know very quick that it was time for a refill!! LOL
  26. chickenboy107
    i really like this idea
  27. bird dirt 40206
    ever had any problem with the water bucket getting knocked around or tipped over (especially when the water level is low)? electric socket below water would make me nervous.
      xdmsd3d likes this.
  28. kathyinmo
    Love these kinds of idea! Cheap and effective. Great ideas.
  29. mamahensantore
    Great watering idea. Does just keeping the buckets up on cynder blocks keep the water and food clean? I need an idea of how to keep the water and food clean from the hens scratching straw into the pans. Thanks for the idea.
    1. swinglady
      Yes it will! I have the water in the coop on a small broken fire pit brick, it isn't as tall as a cinder block I don't think but it works GREAT! I've only had shavings in it one time (I've only had them 3 weeks) and they instantly ran and started picking them out haha

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: