DIY Chicken Waterer - 3 compared

By PatchtoTable, Feb 26, 2017 | Updated: Mar 2, 2017 | | |
  1. PatchtoTable
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    A lot of the hassles of chicken keeping are caused by water and the type of waterer equipment you use.
    Dirty water that needs changing daily, muddy pits, smelly coops and rat infestations. These problems can turn backyard chickens into a huge pain in the ***!

    But I really don’t think it needs to be that hard - by choosing the right type of chicken waterer you can ensure your chickens have regular access to clean water without all the worry and effort. Access to clean water is essential for digestion, regulating body temperature and egg laying. A short disruption to the water supply can affect egg production for days. And on hot days chickens drink a lot more water to help regulate their body temperature. So in short, water is super important for happy healthy chickens and is often not given the attention it deserves.

    So whats the best type of Waterer?

    I’ve compared 3 types of DIY waterer based on 8 key features of a worry free waterer.

    I have also compared these DIY Waterers against a common commercial waterer:

    This aims to be a useful guide - to help you find the right waterer, for your situation - rather than definitive answer on the best type of waterer. The best waterer for you will depend on your own preferences and situation, such as: priorities, number of chickens, location, climate, type of block and type of coop. For each type of Waterer, there are also lots of variations in quality and design, so this review does not cover every possible product and brand, but instead is more generic.

    If your looking for a broader range of views, I have collated some of the most useful comments from the BackyardChickens forum and also from BackyardChicken product reviews:

    What Waterer do I use?

    I personally find horizontal nipples to be the best - especially in a backyard setup with a small number of chickens and where a no fuss and easy solution is what you are after. To share the design that has worked best for me I have created a detailed 30 page instruction manual on how to make and use this Waterer.

    Check out the FREE DIY Manual here:

    << www.patchtotable.com/diy-chicken-waterer-manual-info >>

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    8 key Features of a worry free waterer


    I have identified 8 key features of the ideal chicken waterer:

    1. Clean water: Keeps water clean and free from dirt, feed and green algae

    Easy access to clean water is one of the keys to happy, healthy chickens. Chickens have a tendency to flick dirt and feed into the waterer. Green algae also grows in the waterer when its exposed to the light. Changing dirty chicken water every day is not fun!

    2. Spill / drip free: Stops water from spilling and dripping out

    Leaking, dripping or spilt water can turn your coop into a stinky mud pit real quick. A wet coop is not hygienic and increases the risk of disease. And in winter, water on a chickens comb, feet and legs freezes in the cold and causes frostbite. With this in mind, a waterer that keeps your coop dry is super important.

    3. Pest proof: Keeps rats and mice out

    Rats and mice need regular access to water. If your chicken waterer provides an open source of water, you’ll soon have pet rats and mice to go with your chickens. Rats and mice come out at night and love to drink from and poop in chicken waterers. Rats and mice do a great job of dirtying your waterer which exposes your chickens to disease and means more time spent refilling and cleaning the waterer.

    4. Chicken preference: Chickens like to use the waterer

    Keeping your chickens well hydrated keeps them healthy and is key for egg laying. If water is difficult for chickens to get to and drink easily, they may not be getting enough water. A chickens preference is not just what they’re used to. The difficulty here is that chickens are wary of anything new - so it may seem like they don’t like a new waterer but this is just because they are not used to it.

    5. Reliable: Works consistently and without fail. Is it likely to stop working, can be easily knocked over or likely to spring a leak and run dry?

    A reliable waterer means less worry and less chance your chickens will go without water. This is especially important if you want to go away for a few days.

    6. Freeze resistant: Works effectively in freezing temperatures?

    In parts of the world that have freezing winters, keeping chicken waterers from freezing is a real challenge. Freezing waterers means daily de-freezing and checking.

    7. Easy to setup: Easy to set up and get your chickens using it?

    How much time does it take to make and setup? Is there a learning curve for your chickens?

    8. Cost: How much does it cost per chicken?

    This factors in the cost of the waterer on a per chicken basis. This factor is likely to be more important for those with large numbers of chickens, where the cost can really add up. On the other hand, this will be less important for someone who only has a few chickens and it looking for the most convenient and time efficient solution.

    Scoring


    Against each factor, I have given each waterer a score:

    Good (
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    ) Waterer has this feature

    OK (
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    ) Waterer partially has this feature or is neutral (not positive or negative)

    Poor (
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    ) Waterer does not have this feature

    Fountain Waterer (Commercial)

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    Chicken Water fountains are the most common type of waterer. The water container at the top comes twists off the base and is turned upside down to fill with water. Then once the base is twisted back on and placed in the upright position, the lip / saucer at the bottom fills with water. Water pressure prevents it from overflowing.

    There are different variations of this waterer. For example, some are filled from the top and are made from metal. Also some are designed with handles which allow you to hang them up, while others don’t.


    Factor

    Score

    Details

    Clean water

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    Because there is plenty of exposed water at the base of this waterer, it tends to get dirty quickly from the chickens flicking up dirt and feed. Raising the waterer on a stand or hanging the water reduces the problem, but is still a major downside with this waterer.

    Spill / drip free

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    These waterers are easy to spill and have to be kept on a level surface. If you hang up these waterers, they tend to spill when bumped by chickens. When moving the waterer for cleaning (they tend to get dirty easily), its easy to spill water out which can quickly turn your coop into mud pit or ice in winter.

    Pest proof

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    Because there is plenty of exposed water at the base of this waterer, rats and mice love it. Rats and mice are attracted to open sources of water and will drink from (and poop in!) it at night. Hanging your waterer provides a bit of a deterrent, but will not stop them. These waterers can also attract wild birds which can spread diseases to your backyard chickens.

    Chicken Preference

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    Chickens tend to prefer drinking from the these waterers compared to nipples, because they like drinking from a pool of water. It’s easier for them to get a good drink and it seems to be a bit more of a natural way for chickens to drink than the nipple waterers. Some people think that chickens get more water from these waterers compared to nipples. There is also no learning curve required for chickens.

    Reliable

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    Spilt water is a concern with these waterers, which means they could run dry quickly. Especially if they are not hung up, they can be knocked over and the water tipped out. However they don’t get blocked or jammed like nipples or cups.

    Freeze resistent

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    Like all waterers, stored water needs heating to stop it from freezing in cold weather. But compared to vertical nipples and cups, water will not freeze and jam in the nipple / cup.

    Easy to setup

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    These waterers come assembled and are ready to go. However if you decide to hang them, this can be difficult because of the weight of the water. And because the water gets dirty quickly, they usually need regular cleaning and refilling.

    Cost

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    Cost $10 to $30 USD on Amazon, which is a lot more expensive than the nipples, however they can accomodate a lot more chickens and come as a complete and ready made waterer. They often say these can accomodate more than 30-50 chickens, however I think this would be a stretch. However, they are still an cost effective option, especially if you have lots of chickens.


    Where to buy them?



    This style of waterer is easy to find at your local pet / produce store

    You can also buy them online - Check these ones out at Amazon:


    Horizontal (side mount) nipples


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    Horizontal nipples are a relatively new type of waterer for backyard chickens. They are called horizontal nipples because they are installed on the side of the water container (facing sidewards / horizontally).

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    It has a tapered thread which makes it easy to install without drips. There is a black o-ring on the inside (end of threaded side) which seals the water out of the nipple while its not being used. To use the nipples, chickens push on a metal spring loaded rod which breaks the seal and lets water out onto a very small cup for the chickens to drink from.

    My personal preference personally find horizontal nipples to be the best - especially in a backyard situation where no fuss, time efficient is what you are after. To share the design that has worked best for me I have created a detailed instruction manual on how to make and use this feeder.

    Check out the FREE DIY Manual here:
    www.patchtotable.com/diy-chicken-waterer-manual-info
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    Factor

    Score

    Details

    Clean water
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    The waterer is fully enclosed, so no dirt, poop or feed can contaminate the water.

    Spill / drip free

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    There is no dripping and water cannot be spilled out - which means a dry coop. A very small amount of water may drip out while its being used by chickens. Because its fully enclosed, you don’t have to worry about water being spilt.

    Pest proof

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    This waterer is fully enclosed, so there no chance you’ll get rats or mice drinking and pooping in there.

    Chicken Preference

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    There is a learning curve for the chickens which means some initial effort to teach them how to use it. Some people are not able to get their chickens to use horizontal nipples. Other people have chickens that take to horizontal nipples almost instantly. For some tips on introducing chickens to horizontal nipples, check out:
    <<
    DIY Waterer Manual (section 6. Use and Maintenance)>>

    Reliable

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    They are reliable and unlikely to fail. And you also don’t have to worry about the waterer being tipped and spilt, because the water is fully enclosed.

    Freeze resistent

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    Resistant to freezing, because horizontal nipples have an o-ring which seals the water out of the nipple, compared to other nipples which retain water inside the nipple. Like all waterers, stored water still needs heating in freezing conditions. But compared to vertical nipples, water will not freeze and jam in the nipple. In really cold conditions the water that drips out while its being used by the chicken may freeze and build up on the outside of the nipple, which can cause it to freeze up from the outside over time.

    Easy to setup

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    Easy to install because they are used on the side of the water container. Unlike vertical nipples, the waterer does not have to be hung up, which can be tricky because of the weight. This means the waterer can be setup straight on the ground or on a stand, which makes installation much more simple. Nipples should be placed at head height.

    Cost

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    Horizontal nipples are about 6 times the cost of vertical nipples. But they are still cheap at about $3 USD each. However, this might be an important factor if you have 100’s of chickens and are on a tight budget.

    Where to buy them?


    Horizontal nipples are tough to find in local pet or produce stores.

    I have found Amazon to be the best and cheapest place to buy them - and they ship to most countries around the world.

    <<Check them out on Amazon here>>

    Vertical (gravity) nipples

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    They are called vertical nipples, or gravity nipples because they are installed on the bottom of the water container (facing vertically / downwards) and work using gravity. When not in use, gravity keeps the metal seals closed which keeps water from getting into the nipple and leaking out of the nipple.To use the nipples, chickens push on a metal “Push Pin” which:
    1. Pushes open the metal seal which lets water into the nipple from the water container
    2. Breaks the inner / bottom seal which lets water out the bottom of the nipple.

    Chickens then catch the water in their beak as its released. Because there are 2 seals, water is caught inside the nipple when not in use.


    Factor

    Score

    Details

    Clean water
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    The waterer is fully enclosed, so no dirt, poop or feed can contaminate the water.

    Spill / drip free

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    They sometimes stick open, which causes them to drip. These nipples also leak when used, because they let out / drip a fair amount of water which will make your coop wet.
    Because this waterer is fully enclosed, it’s spill free.


    Pest proof

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    This waterer is fully enclosed, so there no chance you’ll get rats or mice drinking and pooping in there.

    Chicken Preference

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    Chickens may prefer them more than horizontal nipples because the water comes out quicker. Chickens learn how to use them relatively fast, though not as fast as with the water cups.

    Reliable

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    They are more likely to stick open and drip than horizontal nipples, which makes them less reliable. They are also more likely to leak around the thread, because the thread is not tapered like the horizontal nipples - however any problems can usually be fixed with a bit of plumbers tape. You also don’t have to worry about the waterer being tipped and spilt, because the water is fully enclosed.

    Freeze resistent

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    Because water sits in the nipple while they are not being used, they will freeze up in very cold weather. This means regular checking and de-icing to make sure your chickens have water.

    Easy to setup

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    These nipples must be installed at the bottom (underneath) the water container you use. This means hanging the waterer is your only option, which can be tricky because of the weight.

    Cost

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    Are cheaper than horizontal nipples - about 50c compared to $3 (about 1/6th the price)

    Where to buy them?


    Vertical nipples are tough to find in local pet or produce stores. I have found Amazon to be the best and cheapest place to buy them - and they ship to most countries around the world.

    Check them out on Amazon:

    - 25 pack (40c each)

    - 10 pack (50c each)

    Water Cups

    They are called Water / Drinker cups because chickens drink out of small cups that are filled from the water container. There are 2 types of cups described below. This review is based on the push valve cups (type 1), however I have also added some comments about the float valve cups (type 2) where there are key differences between them.


    Type 1: Push valve / tongue

    These are filled from the water container when the chickens push a valve / tongue. These are installed on the side of the water container.

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    Type 2: Float valve

    Another variation is cups with a float valve that automatically refills the cup when it empties and shuts when the cup is full to avoid over flowing and spills. These are installed underneath / at the bottom of the water container.

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    Factor

    Score

    Details

    Clean water

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    The waterer is fully enclosed, so no dirt, poop or feed can contaminate the water. A small amount of water sits in the cups, which can still get dirty from the chickens scratching and kicking dirt, coop litter, feed. You also have to make sure your chickens can not sit or perch above them so they don’t poop on them. Exposed to the sunlight you will also get green algae in the cups.

    Spill / drip free

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    Don’t drip at all and will keep your coop dry. For the push valve cups, on rare occasions they can sometimes leak when dirt and feed get stuck in the push valve which causes the water to continue to flow out.

    Pest proof

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    A small amount of water sits in the bottom of the cups, which could still attract rats and mice.

    Chicken Preference

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    Chickens tend to prefer drinking from the cups compared to nipples, because they like drinking from a pool of water. It’s easier for them to get a good drink from the cups and it seems to be a bit more of a natural way for chickens to drink than the nipple waterers. Some people think that chickens get more water from cups compared to nipples.

    With the push valve cups (type 1), the chickens have to learn to push the tongue / valve. However because water sits in the cup, chickens tend to learn how to use them more quickly than nipples. There is no learning curve for the float valve cups (type 2), because water is automatically refilled into the cup.

    Reliable

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    They are fairly reliable and unlikely to fail. The benefit of having water in the cup is that you can quickly tell if they are still working and have not run dry or blocked up. You also don’t have to worry about the waterer being tipped and spilt, because the water is fully enclosed. However, for the push valve cups (type 1) they do sometimes leak when dirt and feed get stuck in the plunger which causes the water to continue to flow out. In this case there is a chance they could leak and run dry.

    Freeze resistent

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    Not suitable to use in freezing temperatures because they freeze up, even with a heater in the water container.

    Easy to setup

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    The push valve cups (type 1) are easy to install because they are used on the side of the water container. This means the waterer can be setup straight on the ground or on a stand, which makes installation much more simple. Water cups should be placed at head height. The float valve cups (type 2) can be tricker to install because the cups are installed at the bottom / underneath. This means hanging the waterer is your only option, which can be tricky because of the weight.

    Cost

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    Push valve cups are about 3-4 times the cost of vertical nipples. But they are still cheap at about $2-3 USD each. However, this might be an important factor if you have 100’s of chickens and are on a tight budget.

    The float valve cups (type 2) are more expensive at about $7 USD.


    Where to buy them from


    Check them out on Amazon:

    Valve / Tongue Style

    Float Valve:


    I hope this helps you find the best chicken waterer to suit you

    - Marcus
    www.patchtotable.com



    Forum Comments and Product Reviews

    If your looking for a broader range of views, check out the backyardchickens forum and also from backyardchicken product reviews. I have summarised some useful comments below:



    Water Fountain - Pros


    ladyrsanti My flock is only 13 weeks old and the nipple water bucket even younger but they used it fine after I installed it, within an hour. The nipples work great so far, though they haven't seen winter yet so I can't say. The only issue I've had is that once they were old enough for the run, and I put a water dish outside for them, they quit using the nipples and will "hold it" until they get outside in the morning. I can tell because the water level in the bucket never drops and they run outside and drink for five minutes straight every morning. You'd think the nipples were torture at this point. Clearly they have a preference.

    wyandottes7 With this said, my birds do seem to prefer other types of waterers. They drink from the nipple waterer, but whenever they see puddles of water, they run to it and start drinking. I don't think that they are dehydrated, they just seem to prefer other water.

    sassysouth I tried the cups and the chickens keep dirt thrown up in them. I tried the nipple drippers and they leaked like crazy. I am back to using the standard 1 gallon Harris Farm drinker, which stays dirty. There has got to be some great ideas and inventions out there. Help a chicken momma out.

    tinybirds I use one of the metal dog auto-waterers from tractor supply. It attaches to the hose and then I just dump it out every day to keep it clean. It doesn't work with small chicks though since they would drown so if they are still not adult size I put some rocks inside to keep the water from being too deep.

    michael-oshay Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. Some members swear by the nipple waterers, but I was never able to get them to work like they were suppose to. I personally like the galvanized waterers with heater bases under them to keep the water from freezing in the winter. You can see one of the base heaters at https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/no_freeze_heater_base.html. They work very well. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your waterer.

    RedReiner
    Pros: hanging, keeps the shavings and poop out of it
    I hang all mine and never had one come apart, You do need to make sure you have it twisted in the slots tight. Setting it on the ground defeats the purpose, Hanging keeps them cleaner. I hang mine with double ended snaps and have never had any issues. They are 5.99 at TSC and other feed stores, not sure why 9.99 on Amazon. Perfect size to hang in large brooder boxes for older chicks, they cant sit on them and poop in the water as they swing to much when a chick attempts to roost on the edge.

    applebutter14
    Pros: is cheap, hangs good,
    Cons: it leaks when you flip it over to put it down
    i bought one this year, and it was really cheap, less then $10.00. it works really good, too. i had to hang it because my birds would knock it over. and it leaks when you flip it over to put it down, but once it is down it stops leaking. it is very good!

    By GardenFae
    Pros: Inexpensive, heavy duty plastic, easy to clean, easy to fill
    Cons: Swings a lot when hanging (prone to spills), if not level, may leak
    I've had this waterer for my girls since they were only a few weeks old and it works great. Got one with a red base and a feeder to match. The feeder hangs in the run, the water sits next to it on a stack of pavers. I tried hanging the waterer, but in my small run the chickens will chase each other under/over/around the base and set it swinging especially if it's not very full, and then I have to clean up wet bedding and refill the water. I work all day; I can't be checking water levels every few hours. Instead, setting it up on 12" pavers works for me and the height is easily adjustable as the birds grow. You do have to get it relatively level as if the water in the base gets up over the clips that hold the bucket to the base it will leak out through those clips. Found this out the hard way when I set it askew on some pine shavings and soaked the floor under my brooder box. I transport it upside-down to keep it from spilling and only flip it before opening the run to put it in; this works well for me but it's not very heavy even when full so carrying by the handle is also quite manageable. The top has 4 'legs' which do double duty as a stand to keep it steady when filling/setting upside-down and a deterrent for perching birds.

    Both feeder and waterer are very easy to take apart and clean and go back together quickly, and although smaller chicks can perch on the edge the pullets are now way too big for that. I've found that keeping the handle up dissuades smaller pullets from trying to climb on top as well. The mature birds don't bother trying.

    Overall, this is a good value for the money and a great fit for a tiny flock - any bigger and I'd want more capacity but one gallon is a good size for my four birds. I'm looking forward to seeing how it lasts through the winter.

    By MyLittleRedCoop
    Great waterer for a small flock
    Pros:
    durable, easy to clean, inexpensive
    Cons: None
    Love this waterer.
    It's perfect for 3-6 chickens. If you have more than that, you will either need 2 or you will need to refill more often.
    As with many bell waterers, there is a bit of a learning curve to perfect the flipping technique. The trick is in the direction of the flip. Flip so that the tabs are being held in place and not able to slide out of their "pocket".
    I don't use the handle to hang it by. With any twist-on bell style waterer, if it is bumped while hanging, there is a potential for the bottom to come loose and fall off. For that reason, it's best to support it from underneath. I put a couple paver stones under it to provide a little bump up and prevent bedding from getting kicked in.

    Water Fountain - Cons


    smileygreen64 One of my coops water has been empty everyday the past week or so. I have three leghorns in that pen and I couldn't figure out how they were drinking so much more than the other pens, so I watched them for a while today. My rooster is spilling the water on purpose. I have hanging waterers and he will take a drink or two like a normal chicken and then jump on the rim and spill it out and drink off the ground. Has anyone else ever had this happen? I guess its not a real problem. I am out there everyday, so I just fill it back up. It is a little annoying though. Any ideas on how to stop this? I sat it up on a block while I was out there and he just knocked it off.

    Family-farming I used the ridiculous red and white waterer from TSC that you have to flip upside down to fill everyday for a year.

    ageewax
    Pros: Hanging, fairly sturdy, easy to put together, limited spillage when you get the hang of it
    Cons: Fills from the bottom (has to be completely empty to be refilled), still more leakage than with a metal waterer
    So I really prefer the double walled metal waterers. They are study and the filling method is more efficient. With this plastic waterer, you have to wait for your chickens to run out of water or dump out the last bit of water to refill it. That bothers me - I don't like wasting water. But the top fill plastic waterers break. And I need to give my chickens apple cider vinegar. So such is life. As far as plastic waterers go, this one is probably the most reliable one you'll find. Reliability beats convenience for me. I can't have this thing breaking while I'm at work. It does tip and spill a little, especially when flipping. But I have yet to have it come apart while flipping it over. As the waterer gets closer to empty, the more likely it is to tip and spill even when hanging. So you have to keep it relatively full so that the weight of the water keeps it steady. Unfortunately, you can only fill it when it is empty unless you want to get a little water on you. So it's up to you.

    N F C
    Pros: Can hang to keep coop litter out
    Cons: Bottom has fallen off several times
    Like being able to hang the waterer and it's helpful to be able to easily see the level of water in the tank. The problem we've had with this is that several times the bottom has fallen off right after filling, dumping water everywhere. Also, it's way too heavy (for me anyway) to put 3 gallons in it and then try to hang up again so we just put in about 1-1/2 gallons and then keep our fingers crossed that the bottom doesn't fall out while trying to re-hang it.

    Horizontal Nipples - Pros


    wamtazlady I love the horizontal nipples. Their water is always nice and clean. Made and gifted 2 waterers just like mine to 2 neighbours as they loved mine.

    goosegrrl Which nipples did you use... horizontal or vertical.
    IMO the vertical nipples are awful. The horizontal nipples with no cups are much better.

    bento Chicken Nipples are awesome! I use the horizontal ones on the side of buckets. No more poop in the water.

    chicknanny13 Wish I knew of them sooner, I LOVE THEM! Using the horizontal water nipples on a plastic container, I live in Hawaii so don't have to deal with Winter Weather. Clean water!

    88sub4x4 I started out with vertical nipples and it was great until freezing weather hit. I switched to a 3 gallon bucket with horizontal nipples and use an aquarium heater and harbor freight fountain pump hooked up to a thermocube and haven't had any freezing down to 15* F which is as cold as it really gets by me. The water always stays clean and no leaks or spills.

    chickencanoe You can't beat nipples for providing clean water. It is a bit of a learning curve though….. The seal in vertical nipples is external to the water supply so they'll freeze faster than horizontal nipples with the seal inside the water reservoir. They are definitely worth it. A well designed system prevents having to fill and carry founts every day and if heated, eliminates lots of work in winter. Just be careful to test the system daily to make sure it is still providing water. Make sure the system is designed so there isn't a vacuum or the water won't flow.

    foodfreedomnow If you haven't tried horizontal nipple waterers, check them out...they made a world of difference in my brooder, which had several terrible water spills before I moved to nipple waterers.

    wamtazlady I've used both horizontal and vertical nipples. They're both much better than any other watering system I used. I use horizontal nipples in winter attached to a 10 gallon plastic tote and with a stock tank deicer that is safe to use in plastic for my winter water. It only needed filled once a week for 15 chickens and stayed thawed down to -22 F. I tend to use vertical nipples and a bucket in the warmer weather. The clear tote gets too much algae growing in it when it's warm. Am trying a black tote that will keep the light out and put it in a shady area this summer with horizontal nipples and will see if the water gets too warm or not. Has never taken my birds longer than 2 hours to figure out how to use the nipples. As long as the nipples are the only water available they will use them. Even my neighbours' chickens learned to use the waterers at my house rather than go home to get a drink.

    bento Definitely look into water nipples. They are great! It's much cleaner and no more water spills. I use a horizontal nipple that's hooked up to the side of a bucket. I clean and refill the bucket every 2 weeks or so. I leave it in the coop as well.. The summer gets pretty hot and humid here in Orlando.

    marilynszoo I've used both horizontal and vertical nipples and definitely prefer the horizontal ones. The vertical ones do sometimes stick and drip. For keeping the water from freezing I use a birdbath de-icer in the bucket; works great!

    chicknanny13 I use the horizontal nipples on a plastic container w/lid, LOVE IT no more dirt/shavings in the water.

    ronp I use horizontal nipple waters. I keep them inside the coop. I placed a pizza pan under the water to capture all dribbles. My bedding remains dry.

    allboutchickens After manufacturing buckets with the vertical nipples I've transitioned to the horizontal nipples. I use them for my own backyard flock and will never go back to the old buckets and bowls. I'm wondering, however, why ther

    trout5437 Got my horizontal nipples in today and rigged up a gallon waterer for my 4 week old chicks...man they took right to it!!! No more poppy dirty water!!! Yea!!!! One of the best inventions yet!!! My Dominiques love it!!!! who ever came up with these should be a bizillionare !!!!! lolol..no more dirty water or cleaning out water tray twice a day from chickens scratching and throwing stuff every where!!

    aart Horizontal nipples do not leak as much as the verticals and they work better with heaters....there's some drips when they drink but not enough to soak bedding in coop. Horizontal nipples are much less susceptible to freezing as the seal remains submerged in the warm water.
    ....and they drip less.

    faraday40 Love these horiz. nipples! I used the vertical ones last winter & noticed that although the submergible deicer stopped the water from freezing, the nipples froze when we got down to the single digits. We're in the middle of a cold spell with daytime highs below zero (& wind chills -25'F). Not only can my chickens drink but the horiz nipples leak far less than the vertical ones. Last winter I had a pan below the waterer to collect the ice slick & had to knock out the ice every couple days. This year there's so little dripping, that I removed the pan completely.

    meepbeep My hard water will cause vertical nipples to start dripping within a few days time when in use, the only way to stop them from dripping after a few days is to take them apart and soak the ball bearings and sometimes the entire thing in vinegar or some other deposit remover and reassemble/reinstall... I could fill it up and if left just hanging without use it would not drip, but as soon as it's actually used and the hard water starts to flow through it, forget about it, the scale will build inside the nipple and on the ball bearing and they will start dripping in short...

    My horizontal nipples don't suffer this fate, or at least I have not experienced it as of yet...

    As for small chicks and their ability to use horizontal nipples, I have had day old chicks figure them out and get them to work, never underestimate the 'pecking' ability of a day old chick, remember they just pecked their selves out of an egg with little to no room to move... With that said I always monitor the day old chicks and verify they are using the nipples if that is going to be their only water source, if I see any having troubles i'll put in an open water bowl with marbles for a few days... I also put in open water for the first day of shipped chicks just so they can more easily and rapidly re-hydrate themselves, then i switch over to the nipples...

    iwiw60 My horizontal waterer with the mini stock tank heaters are really living up to their name. Two nights ago it dropped to FIFTEEN BELOW ZERO and no problems whatsoever. Last night got down to -4....water's flowin' !!! I'm a happy camper!

    thegeekysheep I've been using vertical nipples but I want something that will allow me to set my buckets down on the ground if needed, and I've also heard they don't freeze as easily as the vertical nipples. I had a problem with that this year, even down here in Georgia.

    mainechicklet This system is awesome! I put 4 HN in a 2 gal bucket and within a MINUTE, half of the 16 had figured it out. Within an hour, everyone had it down. I'm putting together two more buckets, an additional one for this group who has some bullies. And one for my other coop. It's such a joy to look inside the bucket and see perfectly clean water. Now I'm stocking up the freezer with ice cubes for the hot summer days. Thank you all for your suggestions!

    crazytalk If your poultry nipples can't handle a couple feet of gravity head, I wouldn't trust them at all. They're poorly designed. and will eventually just start leaking on their own. More pressure should make them seal better, not worse. The horizontal nipples are much better designed than the vertical ones (as they're spring loaded). They don't leak, at all.

    I did some research and it looks like some of the cheaper vertical nipples are supposed to be used at under 1 psi, which means even a 5g bucket is pushing it (and the PVC vertical tube waterers are way too tall). I have absolutely no idea how you'd maintain a poultry farm while keeping your nipples to less than 1 psi - your holding tanks would have to be huge, wide, and low - like kiddy pools - unless they're using pressure regulators or something. The horizontal ones are rated from 8-10 psi, which is about 20 feet. Basically, don't use the vertical nipples.

    faraday40 I made a switch this winter to the horiz nipples in my water bucket. So far I like them! They drip less during use than the vertical type & are positioned more inside the bucket. Although my water never froze last winter, the vertical nipples iced over when we got down below 8-9'F. The drips of water also froze causing an ice slick below the water bucket. So far so good. The hens drank from it right away. It’s easier to refill. There’s less dripping as the hens drink. (I was able to remove the pan below.) The water stays clean & I simply refill it once a week when I clean it. (The submergible heater only turns on when the water temp goes below 35’F.)

    The only thing I don't know yet is if my set up will freeze when below zero. I know the heater will keep the water inside the bucket from freezing, but the exterior of the nipples may freeze.

    mmmooretx I do not have a coop or chickens yet, but as an engineer the design is simple, very clever, and it appears that they will work fine. What I do like about the horizontal over the vertical is the ability to set the bucket down without a prop for filling.

    melinda48 We use these exclusively and love them! neat and clear- no chicken poo in the container as there is no container. We have two set-ups and the girls love them!

    melissatxrn I use the horizontal ones that Rich sells. BEST decision I have made regarding chickens. They do not leak, they stay clean and I don't have to haul water everyday. I would recommend them to anyone. They will save you tons of work. My chickens were using them within an hour.

    syclone I have used the horizontal nipples with great success. Even with -5 deg F temp they didnt freeze with the heater. makes watering so much easier. I used a Tidy Cat bucket and put nipples in about 2" from the bottom and stack it on top of a second bucket that has chicken mash in it. No wet mash to date.

    Adacombe The horizontal nipples are far superior for resistance to freezing, I switched from the gravity ones because they were freezing even with 2 heat tapes on my pvc pipe system. I haven't had an issue with the horizontal one's freezing at all with the use of a heat tape, and I am in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Look up our weather from December to February here and you'll be impressed. -30'C to -40'C. (-40'F) Rich is also a very helpful guy if you have any other questions.

    Pawtraitart You'll be happy with them! The buckets in my coops with the horizontal nipples never freeze even when it gets well below zero.

    Chad-o My horizontal nipples have been installed for 3 1/2 years no springs have worn out yet. No stress of any type, Chickens are always going to waste water the horizontal nipple keep that to a minimum. Since only the back tip of the valve is in the water and the nipple itself has none. They are less likely to freeze. The other thing I have had vertical nipples freeze open. That can't happen with horizontal nipples.

    LoneOak You just need to follow the number 1 rule for teaching any chicken to use a nipple system. Completely remove all other sources of water, tap the nipples and let the birds see water dripping, they will soon figure it out. If after a day of going thirsty when you show them the water they will immediately go to it. Don't worry if you notice your water consumption going way down as their is so much less waste you will think they aren't drinking.

    Follow rule #1---Completely remove all other sources of water!

    chickenrehab I had great success with them yesterday with my newly arrived chicks. This is what I did, as I was taking them out of the box one by one to inspect them I would hold them in front of it before I put them in and gently touch their beak to it or tap it will my finger while they were watching me. One caught on, and within minutes all 15 where using it. I did have a couple slower ones that I showed them how to us it twice but I just sat and observed until I was sure they had all caught on. It went great. I agree that people do not give chickens credit for their smartness. LOL

    kristaschics15 I didn't do anything, they figured it out within a few minutes because curiosity made them peck at it.


    Roddycn1216
    EXCELLENT... EXCELLENT PRODUCT!!
    5 stars
    Pros:
    Keeps water spotless. Chickens took to it quickly. No wasted water. Keeps bedding dry.
    Cons: NONE!
    I got these after reading some reviews on Amazon! I initially bought the vertical ones which leak like CRAZY even with silicone applied around them! My 7 week old hens were accustomed to the vertical nipples so I introduced the horizontal nipples on a cooler day and took away the vertical ones. I went down and checked on them constantly to make sure they knew where there water was... by that time they were thirsty so I stood there and pressed in on the nipple to make water come out and JOILA, they figured it out! I am trying to keep it to a 4 bird per nipple ratio to make sure everyone has plenty of access too! I am also using these for my Dominique's which are just 2 weeks old and they figured it out IMMEDIATELY! When using in a brooder it might be wise to make sure they are a couple of weeks old to make sure they are strong enough to push in the nipple to get water :) If you don't have a 11/32 drill bit... a 3/8 drill will work fine... the BF had to improvise and use a 3/8 but I still haven't had any leaks and it's a nice tight fit! Another thing when you choose these nipples as opposed to the vertical nipples.... if you have the vertical nipples you have to stand and hold up your container as you fill it with water... which is pretty hard for me to stand and fill a 5 gallon bucket for a long time. I also like that I can just set these on a concrete block instead of hanging them because when the chickens are super thirsty and everyone is pecking at a nipple the bucket starts to swing and it's harder for them to drink. HOPE THIS HELPS!!

    #1 product currently on the market
    By LoneOak
    Pros: Work great from the start, chickens love them, neat clean easy installation.
    I've used nearly ever water system currently avalable for small chicken operations and these are the best. They install super easy and because of the tapered threads (something no one else has) they don't leak. They stay clean as water doesn't stay exposed to the elements and the birds go right to them from the start. It almost seemed like it was already in their brains that if they pecked these then they could get a drink. My birds have even stopped drinking from the muddy puddles when it rains. I have a couple pans that I give my birds treats in that stay in the coop, They used to drink all the water out of these when it rained, last week I had to drill some holes in them because rain water was filling them up for the first time and the birds wouldn't touch it.

    When I installed my system I posted a thread and put a bunch of pictures in it so folks could see how I installed them. If you would like to see it click this link, Brand new Horizontial Nipple Water System for A Really Old Coop. I hope you enjoy!!

    Great Product, I will never use anything else.
    By MelissaTXRn
    Pros: Easy to install, Stays clean, NO poop in water
    Cons: NONE!
    All of my chickens were using these within an hour. Very easy to install and maintain. The best product in my opinion. NO poopy water...YAY!!!! I bought 5 for $13.00 Very Affordable too.

    TOTALLY HAPPY WITH THIS PRODUCT
    Posted 3/22/15
    By Tazbeaux
    Pros: Easy to use, don't drip, installs in a bucket or pvc system, Chickens always have clean poop free water. Daily water changing is a thing of the past.
    Cons: None at all
    After doing lots of online research I settled on purchasing a 10 pack of these nipples. I am so glad that I found these, they work great! I initially installed 3 nipples in a heavy duty 3 gallon bucket with a lid and hung it in my chicken tractor The chickens started drinking from it right away. It is so easy, I just fill the bucket and my 10 chickens have clean water for about a week. My bucket is transparent, so you can see when it needs refilling and the bucket always stays clean. I just set up another pen and used 3 nipples on a pvc pipe attached to the wire with zip ties. A 5 gallon bucket hanging outside the pen supplies the water. I like to travel so having a weeks worth of clean poop/dirt free water is a life saver. It also makes caring for the birds a much easier task for my neighbor that looks after them while I am gone.

    LoneOak These things are really durable and work great and so far with about 6 months of use have been flawless. They don't break and they don't stop up and the birds have no problems with them at all. I just set up my brooder pen last week with a two nipple system using these nipples and the week old birds I've got in there have already started getting curious about them. I expect they will be using them just as soon as they get big enough to move the spring loaded nipples. These nipples don't drip nearly as bad as the standard red ones either so I think they would be ok to use inside and not worry about wet spots underneath.

    sd38-2 I just introduced my 4 isa browns to the horizontal nipples. They were drinking from a plastic fount now i am using a bucket waterer with horizontal nipples. To my surprise they figured out how to drink from the nipples with in minutes of me putting the new waterer in their run.

    slingshotandLAR Within 10 minutes of putting it in the coop the birds had it figured out, when I first put in i held down one of the nipples so they could see the water dripping out that was all it took they understood. I only have to water them once every 5 or 6 days now and they always have clean water.

    Pdirt Horizontal style PROS (photo of this style here):
    same pros as the vertical with the bonus that I expect to be able to use my more energy efficient stock tank de-icer instead of the aquarium heater installation uses standard bit sizes 3/8" or smaller and no teflon tape required (nipples self-seal with hand tightening)
    best part is virtually NO LEAKS when in use as birds slurp up all the water instead of trying to drink from a "dripping faucet" as with the vertical nipples can set the bucket directly on the ground even when full of water, can mount the waterer on blocks or can be hungThe horizontal ones allow them to drink in a more natural position but require frequent flicking of the metal lever to release the water.

    debp I didn't get my horizontal nipple drinkers until my chicks were 7 weeks old. They immediately went over to investigate and starting drinking from it. I have a large metal font outside and they use that, too - i.e., they have a choice all day and still use both sources. I love the horizontal drinkers, as I can have water in the coop without worrying about the floor and bedding getting wet. And with a covered 5-gal. bucket, it lasts and stays clean for days.

    chickens-r-us I bought some horizontal nipple waters off of EBay and made 2 waterers and put them in the runs, my 1 month old chicks were used to vertical waterers and took to it right away. My older hens took longer a couple of braver hens came over to see what I was doing so I kept flicking the steel thing and they took a few sips but didn't seem real interested. I did rule number one took all other water away. They all seem to be using it now. My main reason for using the HN is winter,hoping for less moisture in the coop and no spilled water. It gets very cold here -20 and -30 F is normal last winter -40/-50.

    boggs The nipples themselves are great, my 5gallon bucket has a lid on it so no flies, poo or dust just good clean water for them. You also don't have to worry about it tipping over and spilling.

    wamtazlady I've used both horizontal and vertical nipples with no problem. I prefer the horizontal nipples because they are easier to keep thawed in the winter. The one advantage that the nipples have over the cups is that the cups would freeze easily in the winter. So if you are in a cold area and using cups you will have to change to a different watering system for the winter. Easier, IMO to just go with a system that will work year round.

    pdirt An update to my original post of this thread...having had used both vertical and horizontal nipples for the past several months, through freezing and 100+F temps.The horizontal nipples have my vote except on one front...cost. Here's a chart based upon my own experience, your mileage may vary: It seems to me that each bird is able to get more water more quickly out of the vertical nipples and that they tend to prefer those nipples over the horizontal ones, I presume for that reason. With the horizontal nipples, each bird spends more time at the nipple (or more frequent trips to it) to get enough water. With 55 birds, we have 3 buckets and a tiny pond. One bucket has 3 vertical nipples in it and the other two buckets have 2 horizontal nipples. There is a very tiny yard pond (about 3' diameter) 50 yards away from the buckets that they frequent quite a bit, too. The actual cost of an all-horizontal nipple setup would be much more than a vertical one. Because not only are the nipples themselves twice as expensive but it it requires almost double the number of nipples to water the same amount of birds. But since I have to haul water from 60 yards away every time, I like the convenience of filling the buckets every two weeks instead of every 5-7 days. If we had a water line next to our coops, I would just install an auto-fill system. If I did have an auto-fill system of buckets and the buckets were not inside the run, I would probably just go with the vertical nipples, because I would need fewer nipples and the cost would be much less. It *is* only a few bucks, of course, but why spend more than necessary? As for the chunk of ice that builds underneath the vertical nipple bucket in the winter, since the run is filled with dried leaves, hay and wood shavings, I have found that I can just use a pitchfork to pry up the chunk of ice and toss it outside the run. One more added benefit of the horizontal nipples: Since the birds are not dripping water all over their faces and breasts (like the vertical nipples do), they stay dry. No biggie in summer but in winter I'd hate for them to fall ill due to wet feathers and skin. We did lose two chickens early spring to unknown causes. This fall, we will butcher most of our chickens and keep 15-20 for laying and breeding stock, so I suspect the two horizontal nipple buckets, with 2 nipples each, will be more than enough to keep them full, since I now I have two heat devices to keep the water thawed.

    Horizontal Nipples - Cons


    Chickens-really Yes......I had two nipple water Buckets.......I was so excited to hang them up and have the Birds using them.....No way.....They would peck if I touched the thing....No go! Silly Birds........I gave up and they still drink from the regular water bowls.........I gave them to a friend and their Birds use them......

    ljc01 I gave up as well. No matter what I did, they would not use them.

    Pdirt Horizontal style CONS:
    Birds are slower to adopt to the new nipples since they are used to the vertical ones (both styles are red in color) but I expect this to be only temporary (similar results when I first introduced them to the vertical nipples)
    cost is about 2x the cost of vertical ones.

    meltx I had trouble with those exact nipples (horizontal). Not enough water coming out of them and the triggers seemed a bit "sticky" to me. Like it was hard to press them in. So I unscrewed them and put in vertical nipples for my 8 wk old orps. The vertical nipples can leak but I'm putting some plumbers tape on the threads to keep them from leaking as much.

    Vertical Nipples - Pros


    meltx I had trouble with those exact nipples (horizontal). Not enough water coming out of them and the triggers seemed a bit "sticky" to me. Like it was hard to press them in. So I unscrewed them and put in vertical nipples for my 8 wk old orps. The vertical nipples can leak but I'm putting some plumbers tape on the threads to keep them from leaking as much.

    coffeychicks I have the vertical nipples. From my day old chicks with mommy hen chicks in brooder and in the main coop. All figured them out within a day. But they are awesome. No mess in the water. No shavings in the water. I have a 5 gallon bucket for each coop. And the brooder is a Gatorade bottle with a nipple attached.

    nubbard I love the chicken nipples! I hate changing out poopie water.

    Pdirt Vertical style PROS (photo of this style here):
    keeps water clean
    fill up a large bucket only occasionally rather than daily for our 12 birds
    with an aquarium heater can be used to at least -9F

    The only other comment is a bit of wash in terms of pros and cons. The vertical ones I think allow the birds to drink more water with less effort but also require them to crane their necks in awkward positions to do so.

    Vertical Nipples - Cons


    hbohm74 I'm currently using vertical nipple waterers for my 3 week old chicks in the coop. The waterers don't leak on their own but when the chicks drink from them they are splashing water all around into their sand bedding! Has anyone else had the problem with the vertical nipple waterers making a wet mess?

    RonP Mine does not drip at all, until a bird drinks from it. Then all bets are off, sloppy drinkers...

    j3707 I think the nipples are great for outside watering. I've found they tend to leave a wet patch of litter from stray drips when used inside. Sometimes the nipple can get stuck in the up position and leak a fair dribble.

    pdirt….they dribbled a LOT of water onto the birds and the ground, but only when the chickens were actively drinking from them. Supposedly this problem can be reduced (but not eliminated) by raising or lowering the bucket to the correct height. But that only works if your entire flock are the same sized chickens. We have roosters, bantams, regular large fowl and usually some pullets...all different sizes. One bucket height would be ideal for reducing dribbling for one size of chicken, but not for the others. They also froze way too easily in winter (even with a bucket heater).

    We switched to horizontal nipples and were MUCH happier with the result. They dribble probably only about 15% as much as the vertical ones did (and I didn't even notice until winter when a small mound of ice appeared after 2 months of freezing weather). Plus, they've never frozen on us (down to -9F so far).

    mountain-peeps Many people love nipple waterers and say they work wonderfully. They have never worked for me though. I tried it and my girls became weak and dehydrated because they couldn't figure out how to drink. But if you start your flock while they are young, then the nipples should work just fine.

    meepbeep My hard water will cause vertical nipples to start dripping within a few days time when in use, the only way to stop them from dripping after a few days is to take them apart and soak the ball bearings and sometimes the entire thing in vinegar or some other deposit remover and reassemble/reinstall... I could fill it up and if left just hanging without use it would not drip, but as soon as it's actually used and the hard water starts to flow through it, forget about it, the scale will build inside the nipple and on the ball bearing and they will start dripping in short...

    crazytalk If your poultry nipples can't handle a couple feet of gravity head, I wouldn't trust them at all. They're poorly designed. and will eventually just start leaking on their own. More pressure should make them seal better, not worse. The horizontal nipples are much better designed than the vertical ones (as they're spring loaded). They don't leak, at all.

    I did some research and it looks like some of the cheaper vertical nipples are supposed to be used at under 1 psi, which means even a 5g bucket is pushing it (and the PVC vertical tube waterers are way too tall). I have absolutely no idea how you'd maintain a poultry farm while keeping your nipples to less than 1 psi - your holding tanks would have to be huge, wide, and low - like kiddy pools - unless they're using pressure regulators or something. The horizontal ones are rated from 8-10 psi, which is about 20 feet. Basically, don't use the vertical nipples.

    Pdirt Vertical style CONS:
    The nipples don't leak when not in use but leak quite a bit in use=wet/moldy bedding below the waterer
    requires an aquarium heater to keep nipples from freezing rather than a more energy efficient birdbath or stock tank de-icer
    can't set bucket on ground lest risk damaging nipples
    requires a very specific size drill bit & teflon tape to insure proper fit and no leaks

    Water Cups - Pros


    Loneoak Very little water actually stays in the cup and that is one advantage to keeping them clean. When the birds drink they push the yellow valve sideways and just enough water flows in for them to drink and a little bit will remain in the bottom. After you have filled the cups manually yourself a couple times and the birds have drank that water they will go back to the cup looking for more. One of the birds will realize that there is a little water left in the bottom and go for it, in the process of getting that last little drink she will push the valve and more water will flow into the cup. Another bird will then see that there is water in the cup and try to drink it from the other side, she will hit the valve and a squirt of water will flow into the cup. Pretty soon they will be standing on both sides of the cup taking turns drinking that last little puddle in the bottom and for some reason(them pushing on the valve) that little puddle is always there.

    LoneOak Yes, several people here use them and are real happy with them. I have 10 myself and they work great, stay real clean as well. There is a little learning curve mostly to the human but the birds catch on how to use them rather quick.

    LoneOak Just leave a little water in the bottom of the cup and when the birds go to drink it they will magically push on the float and more water will pour into the cup. It won't take but just a few minutes and all your birds will be drinking out of them. That is why the cups are so nice, they don't keep a lot of water in them to become dirty and cruddy. If you don't screw them in real tight you can spin them sideways and manually run some water in to flush em out when they do get dirty. You can always remove them by the clips designed to hold the cups on and clean them off the valve. If you keep them mounted high enough the birds won't kick dirt and stuff up into them and they seldom need cleaning, when it does only takes about 20 seconds each.

    Family-farming Watering cups have been a life saver! I used the ridiculous red and white waterer from TSC that you have to flip upside down to fill everyday for a year. Now I have 4 watering cups attached to a 5 gallon pickle bucket. I was able to find the watering cups on ebay 4 cups for $11.95 with free shipping, and I was able to get a free food grade pickle bucket with lid from a local cafe. They were extremely easy to install, less than 10mins start to finish and having been preforming perfectly! My chickens learned how to drink from them right away. I removed there old waterer and they were triggering the yellow plunger for water in no time. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone looking to water some chickens and is tired of having to do so everyday. The water stays clean, last for days, and does not ever spill in our coop.

    BellevueOmlet I prefer cups because the chickens can see water and have a nice source to drink from but both work pretty well. They are pretty much interchangeable other than the height.

    Lillyanna We have both in our coop. The chickens tend to prefer the cups.I have not noticed them dirty. However, under the drippers I put a "pit" with screen over it so the sand did not smell funny.

    Potato Chip I like the cups because I can see the water sitting there and know that nothing has blocked up, or run out, or leaked away.

    BellevueOmlet I like the cups. I used nipples in the past and my chickens just did not drink enough water. They seem to like drinking from a pool of water better and now I know they are hydrated.

    apps I've got the cups and just hooked them up to a large plastic drum like the home brew people use. It quite large and with six birds I only have to fill maybe once a month. My faverolles use it quite happily. Only thing I find is once a week I give the cups a quick squirt with the hose to keep them clean.

    bcjc1982 I think they are getting more water this way then they do with the nipples.

    The cups are awesome!!!! I just bought a pack of two and it works great for my big chickens. They can't put their heads in it with out making more water come out. I have been using it for about 2 weeks now and have had no problems what so ever. The only thing I have noticed is it doesn't work very well for my 8 week old chicks they have much smaller heads so they have to actually push down on the lever on purpose and then wait for a enough water to come out. They aren't very patient with this so I keep a regular water can in their separate area that the big chickens can't get to. They say up to 12 chickens per cup which I was pretty wary of but my five adult chickens do absolutely fantastic no fighting over whose turn it is to drink or anything they come get a little and move on and I have only one of the cups mounted right now. I mounted it on the side so I just have the 5 gallon bucket sitting on a cement block. No water waste no worries can give them 5 gallons of water at a time. I prefer them over the nipples by far.

    hbohm74 I read that the water cups only work with adult chickens, as baby chicks don't have the pecking strength to push down the yellow lever. My 3 week old chicks are using vertical nipple waterers now, but I will be transitioning them to cup waterers. I think the cup waterers won't drip as much water, and it seems a more natural way for chickens to drink than the nipple waterers.

    howard e Mine did exactly the same. Fill the cup once, they find it and drink from it, draining the cup. To get to the last drop at the bottom, they will eventually nudge the yellow lever. They get another drop.....and another and so it goes. BTW, I have buckets setup with one of these and one horizontal nipple. The birds prefer the cups 100% to nothing. When they have access to both, the only time one uses the horizontal nipple is when there is a crowd standing around the cup. On the other hand, I have found that when it is cold enough to freeze up the water, these cups freeze up pretty fast. So the birds then switch to the nipple and yes, the know how to use both. That was before I put the bucket heater in. Waiting for a cold spell to see what happens to the cups when the bucket has a heater in it but my guess is it will still freeze up. The horizontal nipples don't seem to have that problem.

    Ljc01 I use them. Keeps the water clean. The chickens had no problem learning to use them

    BantamLover21 I use them, and generally like them. My chickens learned how to use them quickly and the water is kept clean. The only problem with them is that sometimes they leak. This typically happens when a shaving or other piece of dirt gets stuck up in the plunger mechanism, causing water to continue to flow out. Sometimes it happens for an unknown reason, though.

    bantamlover21 I use both the nipples pictured, and the water cups pictured for my chickens. Both have their drawbacks, and their advantages:
    Water Cups
    Pros: Chickens (even my tiny bantams) quickly learn how to use them. They seem to enjoy using the water cups; some are more harsh on the cups than others when drinking from them (my roosters yank at the yellow plunger, while the hens daintily sip). Easy to clean, sturdy, don't drip.
    Cons: If they get dirty, they overflow and cause all of the water to leak out. To solve this problem, I usually use my fingers to "plunge" each cup; that helps dislodge dirt in the plunger mechanism. They seem more prone to overflowing when they're filled up high.

    Nipples
    Pros: Chickens learn how to use them relatively fast, though not as fast as with the water cups. I've never had an incidence of the nipples leaking. Don't seem to get dirty, and are very durable.
    Cons: Chickens don't seem to like using them much. They drink enough to live, but not as much as they want, or so it seems. In the summer in particular, if I offer them water in a dish, they gulp it down as though they are dying of thirst--I suspect that they don't really drink enough with just the nipples. Also, you have to watch the level of the water in the waterer carefully--if it gets lower than the tops of the base of the nipples (the part that is normally submerged in water), then the birds can't drink.

    Although the leaking is annoying, I prefer the water cups. I've only used them one year, though, so I don't know how they'll fare when it gets freezing outside. I think that any type of heater that could prevent the water from freezing would work, but I guess I'll have to see.

    bantamlover21 There are many types of waterers, all with advantages and disadvantages. Some work great for some people, and terribly for others--it varies depending on your situation and birds. I personally started out using a waterer a lot like the one Mountain Peeps suggested. It worked pretty well, but I began to have problems with it leaking, and it was constantly getting dirty. So, I did some research on other waterers and came across the nipple waterer. I purchased a few nipples, attached them to a large pitcher, and hung it in my chickens' run. They quickly started experimenting with it by pecking at the nipples, and learned that they could get water from it. Those particular chickens have been using a nipple waterer for two years without any problems. The water stays clean and I've never had problems with it leaking. However, I will say that the chickens don't seem to like the nipple waterer as much as a regular waterer, and gladly drink other sources (rain puddles, dishes of water, etc.). I have not had any cases of dehydration with them, though, and all of them continue to be good egg layers.

    For another group of my chickens, I decided to use a different type of watering system: an automatic, cup-based waterer. In the coop are two large containers with lids that feed water into plastic tubing, which leads down to automatic water cups at chicken-level. To get water, the birds simply press yellow plungers in the water cups, which fills the cup with a small amount of waterer. I've been quite pleased with that particular automatic watering system, though occasionally, it does leak for no apparent reason.

    Both waterers are relatively easy to keep unfrozen in cold weather. I have a small submersible heater in the nipple waterer that keeps the water thawed until temperatures get below 5 degrees F. or so. When that happens, I just bring the birds out water several times a day. My automatic cup-based watering system is kept unfrozen since it is in a mildly heated coop. I think a submersible heater would work fine in it too, though.

    Wyandottes7 I also use the water cups pictured. Every day or so, I just wipe out the cup with my finger or with a paper towel. They don't get as dirty as normal waterers, so daily cleaning isn't quite as necessary (at least for me--your birds might get the cups dirtier). Its still a good idea, though, to clean the cups every day, as the chickens often coat the cups with a thin layer of fine dust and kick in some wood shavings. Overall, I find the cups very easy to clean and use. I'd definitely recommend them!

    ljc01 My chickens would not use them (horizontal nipples). I went with cups and they work great for me.


    Water Cups - Cons


    wamtazlady Cups won't work at 20 below 0. Otherwise I'd consider them.

    Scott-h Oh, they'll freeze but they say it doesn't hurt them.

    AlvarezAcres I just started using these cups and so far really like them. However, this morning I realized the water in the cups had frozen, although the water in the bucket was fine. I use a bottom heater that the bucket sits on. Any advice?

    Coop_da_ville with the cups just be sure if you are going to use them your chickens can not sit or perch above them so they can stay clean.

    Jmagill Make note that the cups are way harder to keep from freezing in the winter and require more cleaning.

    camkim The only negative of the cups is pine shaving or small pebbles that the hens kick up end up in the cup.

    socks I bought bought some cup waterers because I was concerned about nipples leaving wet patches in my bedding (well, the chicken bedding actually), It's taken us months to get it together and a few day usage has made me realize it isn't the solution either. You see, I was concerned about clean water but the cups get dirty each day and they are a @#$%! to clean out so no point. Plus there will be the problem of freezing in the winter.

    Flyin-lowe They do freeze up easily.

    Wingdwolf56 I had to keep pressing the yellow tab for a day until they figured it out. It took 2 days before they all got it. Now I have a problem trying to keep the cups from freezing. I put a submersible heater in the container but the cups still freeze. I bought a trough style heated waterer but the girls dirty the water within an hour's time. I prefer the cup waterer to any other and would like to find a way to keep the cups from freezing.

    pdirt I have not heard from anyone here on BYC (I've read a LOT, hours!) who have successfully used the watering cups in freezing temperatures. I think I may have read from one or two who live in more temperate temps than we do, where it dipped in the mid 20's occasionally, using a heating device, without much ill effect. But even if they did have a freeze-up, it would be short-lived, not days or weeks on end like we would have here. Like I said in my recent post, I see the main drawback to the horizontal nipples is they cost 2-4x as much for an adequate watering setup, but have many more reasons why they are superior to the vertical nipples.

    These comments and reviews were copied from these threads which you might find useful:


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  1. LovetoCheep
    While there are definitely benefits to horizontal nipples to me the benefits don't outweigh the cost difference between horizontal and vertical nipples. When you have a large number of birds on your hands I find that the savings of vertical nipples more important than a little dribble. A factor that can be eliminated if you find good quality nipples. I've been using Peck-o-matic waters and I see little to none.
  2. Hbohm74
    This article is awesome! I already posted a link to it in one of the forums! I only wish I had this when I first started to DIY my chicken waterer.
  3. LoneOak
    Very good informative article and I appreciate you using some of my forum post from a couple years back. I still have the same system on the old coop with the rain water barrel on the back. It has never failed to work not even one time. There is one pipe joint at an elbow that I have left unglued that pops apart once or twice a year when it freezes, I try to cut off the valves when I know the temp is dropping below freezing. When everything warms up all I have to do is push the fitting back
    together and turn the water on.
    Due to some health issues (bad back) I don't have as many birds as I once did and don't use any of the cups I referenced in some of my post but I still have them and would use them in some situations if I were to ramp back up to a large flock. They have their place but the horizontal nipples are by far the best system ever for a small to medium size flock of chickens.
  4. mainechicklet
    As an update on using the horizontal nipples: I LOVE THEM!!! I've been using them for two years now and I would never consider anything other than horizontal nipples. I am using the same white buckets and the same nipples. I set a plastic plate on top with a flat rock to prevent the wind from blowing it off. In the winter I submerge deicers into the buckets and the water is always clean and thawed, regardless of the temperature. Yes, if given the choice, my chickens prefer to drink from an open dish or puddle, but they don't mind at all the nipples and use them constantly. Love Love Love them!!!
  5. N F C
    Informative article! It's helpful to have the comparisons all in one place. Good job!

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