Automatic chicken waterer: They won't drink from it!

boomchicken

Songster
6 Years
Mar 31, 2013
105
17
126
SF Bay Area
I'm not handy and it was a lot of trouble for me to rig this thing up and now they won't drink from it. They drank the gravity waterer dry and then proceeded to go thirsty to the point where they stop laying for a day. At this point the gravity waterer was refilled and they went nuts with it.

My goal was to make something like this, with a float valve to refill the water as the chickens drank:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/autofill-bucket-waterer

Here's a pic. The auto waterer is the box on the bottom with holes cut out. You can see the water level is a few mm below the holes. I placed their normal waterer on top. (The hens wouldn't leave me alone when I was trying to take the picture!)



They are supposed to stick their heads in the holes and drink water, but they can't seem to figure this out.

Any ideas would be appreciated!

Shall I put something red inside near the hole?
or maybe red around the edges?
Are the holes too small? (about 1.75" in diameter)

I'm afraid of removing the gravity waterer (or whatever that green water cooler thing is called) because they might not figure it out again.
 

foreverlearning

Songster
6 Years
Aug 4, 2013
2,421
326
198
First the holes are really small. Chickens tip their head up to get the water to go down so you will have to plan for this. I don't know if I could get my hens to stick their head in a hole to save their lives. Then you have to look at the container, it is clear. I have noticed in my nipple waterers my hens prefer a solid bucket vs a clear one, it may have something to do with their sight. Then, by having a prefered water source they will always use it over the new design they haven't learned yet. If I were you I would put it up on some blocks (just above chicken height) and pop some nipples in the bottom for them to drink out of. This would still keep it an auto waterer while getting them to drink out of it.
 

boomchicken

Songster
6 Years
Mar 31, 2013
105
17
126
SF Bay Area
Thanks for your reply. I was worried about those holes being too small (that's the size of drill attachment I had handy) but didn't realize chickens would be unwilling to even stick their heads in a hole. I'll get some of those nipples on amazon and try them out. It's probably cleaner anyway.
 

pawtraitart

Songster
12 Years
May 30, 2007
1,726
257
241
Idaho
Thanks for your reply. I was worried about those holes being too small (that's the size of drill attachment I had handy) but didn't realize chickens would be unwilling to even stick their heads in a hole. I'll get some of those nipples on amazon and try them out. It's probably cleaner anyway.
You can get the horizontal nipples at http://allboutchickens.com. You could even use a container like your home-made one and install them on the side so you don't have to hang a bucket.
 

boomchicken

Songster
6 Years
Mar 31, 2013
105
17
126
SF Bay Area
Wow. I had no idea there was a difference between vertical and horizontal nipples. LOL this phrasing is killing me. I will stick with the normal (vertical) ones since they look way cheaper, but first I'll try to use a siphon to grab the water from the main (auto tank) into a drinking trough and if that doesn't work I'll resort to more drilling to install the nipples.
 

pawtraitart

Songster
12 Years
May 30, 2007
1,726
257
241
Idaho
Wow. I had no idea there was a difference between vertical and horizontal nipples. LOL this phrasing is killing me. I will stick with the normal (vertical) ones since they look way cheaper, but first I'll try to use a siphon to grab the water from the main (auto tank) into a drinking trough and if that doesn't work I'll resort to more drilling to install the nipples.
Yes, the vertical ones are more common (most made in China) so they are cheaper. For a trough, remember that you have to form a vacuum or the water will just run into your trough until your tank is empty. If you run into trouble with your design let me know and I'l help you figure it out. Have fun with your DIY project.
 
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