A fight with mother nature and watering nipples.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Biglurr54, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    I am new here and have done a lot of snooping and finally joined up so I can begin to post. I am planning on making a nipple waterer for my chickens and ducks. I live in upstate ny and want this to work year round. Ive done some research and I think i have a plan. Right now I am going to start with a 32 gallon rubber maid trash can. I am going to put a milk crate in the bottom. Then I'm going to put 3 inches of rigid foam insulation in. It will be a disk shape that will seal tightly to the sides of the trash can. This will be like a false floor. Then I will put a small piece of plywood with a cinder block on top of it. Inside each opening on the cinder block I will have a 75 light bulb. I will then set a 5 gallon bucket on top of the cinder block light heater. The bucket will have a bulk head in the bottom of it. 1 inch pvc will come straight out of the bulk head and out of the trash can. It will have 5 poultry nipples in it. I will surround the 5 gallon pail with fiberglass insulation i have laying around. I will run a 1 inch pipe out of the bucket stright up out of the trash can for refilling. Then I will seal the top of the trash can with 6 inches of rigid foam insulation. I will wrap the pipe with the nipples with plenty of heat tape and then insulate the crap out of the pipe and heat tape and then enclose it in a larger pipe with just the nipples peaking out.

    Benefits to this idea are:

    You can leave the trash can on the ground. No hanging, building stands, or anything to get the right height for the nipples.

    Insulation will be huge and makes the 75 watt bulbs go a long ways

    Heat tape has a thermostat built in on at 35 off at 40

    A thermocube in the cover of the 5 gallon bucket will run the light bulbs. Again on at 35 off at 40.

    The waterer will work year round with out any service or need to monitor. Even on surprisingly cold fall and spring nights. fully automated.

    It is clean looking and nothing the chickens can peck at.

    You will most likely have a majority of the stuff laying around.

    If not it will still cost less than a heater pad and galvinized heater.

    I have ordered the parts and just have to wait for them now.
    I have some ideas on how to show what the water level is by just looking at it which will help with refills.

    Follow along to see the progress with plenty of pics.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  2. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2013
    Good luck on your adventure but I don't think it will work. I use a 5 gallon bucket with nipples and a stock tank heater and the water stays thawed but the nipples freeze solid, the stock tank heater does exactly what it is supposed to but it just doesn't keep the water warm enough, so I went with a aquarium heater that keeps the water close to 80 degrees and since the water is alot warmer the nipples work perfectly. Post some pictures of your progress.
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    jetdog - you didn't describe your setup, but I'm assuming it's like mine...an uninsulated hanging bucket with nipples in the bottom of the bucket, no pipe extending from the bucket like Biglurr's. If so, I had the same problem with a stock tank deicer but the aquarium heater works well and keeps the nipples thawed.

    Biglurr - Welcome to BYC! Yes, keep us posted. It sounds like it might work, especially with the heat tape and pipe insulation on the nipple pipe. If it doesn't work (the nipples freeze), will you be able to increase the heat on the pipe tape? I know at least one other poster here used an aquarium heater and submersible pump that keep his water both warm and circulating, which kept the nipples thawed on 6" pipe.

    If you do decide to hang, try a tie-down strap, like this one. I use ones like these and they have plenty of friction to hold my full water bucket. VERY handy to adjust the bucket height, which I do occasionally.

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  4. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2013
    Could I jump in here?

    I have 5 chickens and live in Michigan. The temps over the past 4 to 6 weeks along the lake haven't reached above 20. The lows have been -5 to -10.

    I made a 5 gallon aquarium heater with fountain pump hooked to a thermocube. This only needs to be refilled every 2 to 3 weeks (with 5 chickens). On the outside of the bucket is a horizontal nipple (priceless). NEVER freezes!

    The heater came from Walmart for $14.96, and the fountain pump from Harbor Freight for $5.99 (less a 25% off coupon - so around $4 bucks).

    I keep it inside my 4'x4'x4' coop. Here are some pictures. This is priceless and has worked perfectly all winter!

    The red nipple is in the lower right corner of the bucket. Next to the water bucket is a 5 gallon feed one. Jetdog can give you the details how to make this baby too! Also included is a picture of the heater & fountain (running inside a round bucket) - just use that for the pictures.



  5. chad-o

    chad-o Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2013
    I have a similar setup with horizontal watering nipples like JIMMYWALT. They have a lot less metal exposed to the water and are less prone to freeze.
  6. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    I like the idea of horizontal waterers. The only issue is I have ducks so they need water too. I have heard the horizontal waterers dont work for ducks.

    I plan on tanking 12 gauge solid copper wire, like you find in romex, and strip it down to bare copper. Then I will wrap the copper wire around the nipples as low as possible and then have good contact with the heat tape. This will move the heat tape heat done around the nipple keeping it from freezing.

    If that doesnt work i have seen all stainless steal nipples. I would put the stainless nipple in copper pipe wrap with heat tape and then i know the heat will get all the way to the nipple.

    The issue with the plastic nipples is the plastic acts like insulation. The metal tab that hangs out gets no heat, only cold air blowing on it. The plastic insulates the metal tab from the heat tape and pipe. Only the water in the pipe can keep it from freezing. Eventually the water gets cold from the cold metal tab and all the heat stays above it. (heat rises) and the water freezes. If the nipple was all metal the heat would convect through the nipple body, warming the tab and water inside.
  7. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    I need to water some ducks that live in the coop as well. The horizontal waterers are out because the ducks cant use them. I agree they are the best way to go if you dont have ducks.
  8. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2007
    For ducks this is what we do: Get one of those round black rubber feed pans (the large size....24 inch diameter 5 inches tall?), set it on a couple cinder blocks with one of those $18.00 foil bird bath heaters UNDER it, build a wooden box that just fits over the pan, cut a head sized round hole in the top....done. The ducks (and chickens, too) can get their heads in to drink but can't splash all the water out.
  9. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    I would love to see a pic of this. I like the idea.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop


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