Lake Norman Coop De Ville Water System and Feeder
Part of our goal when we designed our coop was to have feeding and watering systems that didn't require daily maintenance so that if we wanted or had to go away for a weekend the girls would have plenty of food and fresh water and we wouldn't have to rely on friends and neighbors.
We got great ideas from several coop designs we reviewed and here's what we came up with.
For the Food System I ordered a trigger from www.triggerhappychickens.co.uk/. We wanted a single trigger system and here is my original design. It consists of a 5 quart bucket that I bought at Ace Hardware. 1" X 4" boards for the base, a piece of 5/8" plywood for the bucket shelf and 1" X 2" strips for the supports and bucket trim. I drilled a 1.5" hole in the center of the plywood piece and a .75" hole on the center of the bucket where I inserted the trigger. The food drops into a 12" terra cotta planter base. The height from platter base to bucket shelf bottom is approximately 12" as well. We tried to find a height that discouraged the girls from sitting in the base. The girls took to it in less than 15 minutes.
The bucket we originally used had to be replaced because the lid was very hard to get on and off to replace food and it eventually broke off the rim of the bucket. It was replaced by another type of 5 Quart bucket from Ace Hardware which has worked great for some time. We also stained the feeder white to match the coop.
Made a couple of modifications to the feeder. I had a problem with a couple of the girls getting on top of the feeder bucket. I took some of the leftover hardware cloth and fashioned a ring that fits over the bucket with a piece of threaded rod, two nuts and washers. That fixed that problem I also had to increase the diameter of the hole in bottom of the bucket from 3/4" to 1" since we changed from pellets to Countryside Organic Feed.
The Watering System
This system consists of a 2 gallon bucket, a thru fitting which we bought at tractor supply, plywood base, 2 L brackets, 1/2 inch PVC pipe, valve and fittings, stainless nipples and PVC T's that fit the nipples from FarmTek. I drilled a 2.5" hole in the center of the plywood piece which I cut on one side to match the round bucket and square where it meets the wall of the coop. I cut a hole in the center bottom of the bucket and installed the thru fitting. I then put together the various PVC pipe and fittings using PVC glue which I let cure for 24 hours before installing in the coop. The nipples are approximately 18" off of the sand. Our girls are full size Hy-Line Browns. Here is the finished product which the girls took to immediately:
This system has worked great since day one and I only have to refill water every 3 or 4 days. My next project is to add a bird fountain heater for the winter.
Thanks for taking the time to view this article and please let me know if you have questions regarding the construction of these two systems.