Automatic drinking water for my Duckies

Sep 2, 2018
7,882
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Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Friends!

I need some advice, hints and how-to's from you please: Last week i had to travel to Jersey City for 3½ days (Tuesday - Friday) and my wife and i decided to keep the five duckies on their platform (~250sqft/16sqm) for that time. I did not want my wife to let the ducks out in the morning and herd them back in in the evening because the ground around our house was squishy and slippery and i was afraid she could slip and injure herself. On top of that we have almost no cell-phone coverage at the house, such a situation could end in a true disaster.
Tuesday noon i filled up the duckies feeder and waterer to the brim, and Friday morning they were out of water…
- Five ducks went through 5¼ gallons of water in 2½ days.
- Those are not runner-ducks, they are guzzler ducks!
There are larger waterers available, maximum i found was eight gallons, but that would add just one additional day of supply: We need an automatic water-supply for the duckies here!
There are (expensive)
Float valves are available for an apple and'n egg, but how to build a waterer from there?
Using a bowl? - The ducks would use a large bowl as a bathtub and soil the water.
Using a bucket with drinker cups? - Do ducks use those cups? If yes, soil-problem again!
What are you doing to provide your ducks with a longer lasting water supply?
Thank you very much in advance for all your good ideas!
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
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South Park, Colorado, USA
So how many days do you need the water to last?

You could use a stock tank, or kiddie pool, or other larger container. You screen the top with 2"x4" welded wire fencing so that they can stick their heads through to drink, but can't jump in it to swim.

Also I have six ducks and they go through approximately 3 gallons of drinking water a day, so your numbers sound about right ;)
 
Sep 2, 2018
7,882
29,957
1,297
Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
So how many days do you need the water to last?

You could use a stock tank, or kiddie pool, or other larger container. You screen the top with 2"x4" welded wire fencing so that they can stick their heads through to drink, but can't jump in it to swim.

Also I have six ducks and they go through approximately 3 gallons of drinking water a day, so your numbers sound about right ;)
If i end up with a client, let's say in L.A. i would be away for 5½ days - flying out Sunday, returning Friday night. The problem with my piggy ducks is that they manage to make the water in the reservoir dirty. So even a larger reservoir or a stock tank would not help. I need something with a water flow, either permanent or with an automatic flush-system.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,520
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Keeping it full and keeping it clean are two totally different issues ;) You originally asked about keeping it full and automatically watering, which with a float valve you should be able to sort out provided your hose/spigot don't freeze. Honestly, I've yet to find a way to keep duck water clean. There are easy ways to keep them from swimming/bathing in the drinking water (which helps), but they will inevitably start drilling in the nearby mud and dabbling and swirling their food in the water making a nice thick sludge in the bottom of the container. :barnie Personally I'd never go out of town for 5 days without having someone stop by to check on things at least once, but that's just me. Even with things automated as much as possible, unforeseen issues arise that may need human intervention.
 
Sep 2, 2018
7,882
29,957
1,297
Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
Keeping it full and keeping it clean are two totally different issues ;) You originally asked about keeping it full and automatically watering, which with a float valve you should be able to sort out provided your hose/spigot don't freeze. Honestly, I've yet to find a way to keep duck water clean. There are easy ways to keep them from swimming/bathing in the drinking water (which helps), but they will inevitably start drilling in the nearby mud and dabbling and swirling their food in the water making a nice thick sludge in the bottom of the container. :barnie Personally I'd never go out of town for 5 days without having someone stop by to check on things at least once, but that's just me. Even with things automated as much as possible, unforeseen issues arise that may need human intervention.
Yes, i know i am always searching for the perfect solution. Next requirement is that that whole thing must be frost-resistant. ;)
You're right, even with the best automation something can go wrong. I don't want to rely entirely on automation for the ducks, it just helps in situations i cannot control. I have to work to pay the bills and sometimes that means i am away for a week. It calms me down to know that my wife does not have to go to the ducks every single day. As said, we have almost no cell phone coverage and if the conditions are really bad, like ice, snow, wind or mud i don't want her to go there and have an accident.
 

dpenning

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 20, 2013
1,762
7,333
407
Blue Ridge, TX
I had to leave my ducks in their pen for four days and I used something I saw on this forum. An under bed Rubbermaid type bed with with holes cut in the lid just big enough for their head. I raised one of the long sides a bit to keep the water toward the front. It was nasty when I got back but there was still water in it. I can’t remember if I had six or nine ducks at the time. Again, it was muddy but not any worse than the mud puddles they love.
 
Sep 2, 2018
7,882
29,957
1,297
Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
Maybe you need a little coop cam so you two can check on the flick remotely while you are away. Then any trips to the coop would only be when necessary. You could see that the water is thawed and full and they are fine for another 24 hours.
Already have a »Ducky Cam«, an "Amcrest ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP" which also has a relay output, so i could switch something on and off from the browser.
 

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