I guess the best way to do this is to list all the features then explain how it works and how to build it.
So here is my winter friendly chicken nipple waterer. it utilizes a 13 gallon family size cooler, a heater, a circulation pump, drain, and insulation.
incase you didn't know the benefits of chicken nipples, the chickens get cleaner water than a from a bowl, it has much higher capacity than a bowl which results in less maintenance. and with this design should use less power than an uninsulated open bowl water heater.
this is my storage tank, its a 52 quart (13 gallon) family size cooler. why did i go so big, well i needed a cooler with a drain built in, this saves alot of work when building and raises reliability. off the drain is a supply hose that leads to the pvc that the nipples are on, i used foam pipe insulation to wrap the pipe for winter then duct taped over it all to keep chickens from pecking at the foam and it is another layer of insulation. inside this feed pipe is a smaller pipe that goes all the way to the end of the pvc just before the drain.
the small pipe inside attaches to the small aquarium pump shown and pumps water down the small tube to the end of the line in the pvc pipe and returns on the outside of the small pipe and inside of the larger pipe back to the cooler.
during winter as the tiny pump runs i will put this bird bath water heater inside the cooler, its safe to operate directly against plastics and it is thermostatically controlled and only uses 50 watts! between the foam insulation of the pipes and the cooler, freezing shouldn't be a problem.
since chickens can't catch every drop they get out of the nipples i have a catch tray under the nipples, its a goat feeding trough from tractor supply, works well. at the very end there is a valve and a drain i adapted so a garden hose can be attached easily. i drain it every week or so just to freshen the water.
So now for the details:
click the image above to enlarge
thats how it works, now the nitty gritty on materials and costs.
cooler is from target, $21
heater $30 from amazon:
pump $6 from harbor freight store
chicken nipples from amazon $14.25, they came with installation instructions:
3/4" pvc pipe, valve, and fittings about $10-$12 from home depot
3/4" clear plastic tubing about $10 from home depot, had to but a roll, could have got shorter piece from local ace hardware but didn't know til after
foam insulation 1 1/2" diameter i believe, under $2 and I had the duct tape
5/16" clear plastic hose (may vary depending on pump u get) $4 or $5
goat feeding tray used as excess water catch to keep floor dry $15 at tractor supply
cooking spray for lubricant, probably a couple bucks a can, i had some in the kitchen
pvc cleaner and glue, less than $10, i already had them
wish i had a written instructions but i designed this in my head and didn't write anything down, sorry. thats why i made the diagram in paint.
To build this amazing waterer:
1. build the pvc section first, but don't attach nipples to pvc yet. i believe in my pvc section the nipples are on a 24" long piece, drill the 5 holes in a straight line, then use pvc solvent and attach valve and if you so desire an adaptor to drain down a hose if needed in your application.
2. cut one end of the smaller tubing at an angle, (this helps you feed it down the bigger tube and to not dead head the pump against the valve when built)
3. spray the smaller tube with cooking spray to lubricate (safe for us, so safe for chickens) and feed it inside the larger tubing, the amount fed is determined by the length of pvc you use and the distance between the cooler and the pvc. you can use more than 5 nipples if needed.
4. feed enough excess of the small tubing inside the cooler to attach to the pump easily.
5. attach large tubing to cooler drain and pvc adaptor with hose clamps, then install nipples
6. make sure valve is closed then fill with water to check for leaks.
7. wrap piping and pvc from cooler drain all the way down to the valve with foam pipe insulation and wrap in duct tape to prevent chickens from pecking at foam, also blocks cold air from directly touching piping.
8. mount cooler above pvc pipe height.
9. attach pump and run for a few minutes to clean pipes then open drain valve and drain/fill a few times to rinse out everything.
10. fill and add preferred additive to keep water clean. I use 20 drops of 2% lugols iodine with 13 gallons of water, good for humans and chickens.
11. enjoy very little maintenance of your watering system and healthy chickens.
I hope this is useful to people, its really not hard to build and the iodine keeps the water very clean. with everything being insulated including the cooler the heater will not have to work as much and save electricity. also during summer you can add blocks of ice to the cooler to chill the water for your feathered friends. if anyone has any questions please don't hesitate to ask, thanks
>>>>>>> CURRENT VERSION ****************************************************HUGE UPDATE********************************************************************************** Thanks big time to "Rick26" who made far better pictures than i made and here they are below. I did not change the pictures at all but he said to feel free to change or comment on them. They are excellent pictures as you will see: This is a different way to make my waterer and im sure works just fine. Also you can leave all the components in the cooler year round if desired. Remember cooking spray makes a great lubricant for the plastic tubing to go through the pvc. I purchased my cooler at Target because it is a 13 gallon cooler that already has the drain and i find it much easier if it is pre-installed. The thermocube isn't 100% necessary because the bird bath water heater is thermostatically controlled and i prefer to keep the water moving year round to prevent stale water by keeping the pump on. The pump is very power efficient. Great I have taught babies 2 days old to roosters over a year old and they all pick it up quickly, ducks included. Again thanks so much to Rick26 for making these pictures for me to post on this write up. I really appreciate his effort. *****PLEASE READ: 2 THINGS, 1. PLEASE READ ALL THE COMMENTS BELOW, I HAVE GOT A LOT OF THE SAME QUESTIONS AND THIS WILL SAVE YOU TIME. 2. I HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF PERSONAL MESSAGES ABOUT THIS WATER-ER. THE DOWNSIDE TO THIS IS THAT OTHER PEOPLE DON'T BENEFIT FROM YOUR QUESTIONS OR MY ANSWERS. PLEASE ASK THE QUESTIONS HERE AND NOT ON PERSONAL MESSAGES. ITS BEST FOR EVERYONE*****