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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sms1225, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. sms1225

    sms1225 In the Brooder

    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    I am building a new coop and am interested in using the automatic nipple waterers, which are attached to a pvc pipe. I would use a gravity system, not pressurized?

    Does anyone have practical experience with this type of watering system, or any type of gravity system? Do they actually work, or are they not advisable??

    thanks for all your insight.

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, I don't see why it would not work, just gotta get a long tube brush to keep it clean. I have used a hamster water bottle with day olds so don't see why a larger nipple system won't work.
  3. soctippy

    soctippy In the Brooder

    Dec 22, 2007
    so do chickens actually drink out of these? I know that pigs love them but i have never heard of them used for chickens. please tell me more.
  4. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Chickens will drink out of anything. I put a bowl of water on the floor and they rush to it to drink. Chickens will even drink out of ponds and mud holes. They should work [​IMG]
  5. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:Although chickens will drink out of anything, you should know that keeping a clean water supply for them is very important in keeping them healthy. I keep my waterer on a milk crate so they cannot splash around in it or dump it. It works great for me and keeps them happy and healthy.

    sms- I would love to see pics of the system you have in mind. It sounds like it would work well with my set up.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    sure, they're standard in many commercial chicken operations.

    I have seen reference to them being operated by gravity pressure only, but I do not know whether this requires specific equipment or can be done with any ol' nipple waterer fittings, sorry.

    from http://www.henspa.com/Common%20Questions.htm#How%20do%20I%20teach%20the%20chickens

    Hundreds of millions of chickens drink from nipple waterers routinely. They are the standard water delivery system for commercial chicken producers because they deliver clean water with little or no waste.
    The way to teach them to drink is simple. Confirm that they have physical access to the nipples. Small chickens may require moving the bucket to inside the Henspa and placing it at the top of the ladder where they can stand on the ladder and reach the nipples.
    Birds of a feather flock together. As soon as one chicken "gets it", the other will get it too. You can lead a chicken to water, but you can not make him drink, unless he is thirsty. If the chicken does not get thirsty enough to try everything at his disposal, he may not try the nipple. Giving your chickens water in a pan will keep them from trying the nipples, especially if you routinely give them water at more or less the same time every day. If they have learned that the pan is coming soon, they will wait for it rather than go looking for water from the nipple.
    Remember, millions of chickens use nipples. Your chickens are as smart as the rest of the universe and they will "get it" if you do not give them other water sources. How long it takes will very, based on the outside ambient temperature. Chickens drink less water in cold weather and it will take them longer to find the nipples in cool weather that it will in hot weather.
    Although chickens can drink from standing water, it is actually harder for them because they do not have any muscles in their throats enabling them to "suck" water into there bodies. They have to place water in their bills and raise their heads enough to allow the water to drain down into their bodies via gravity. Placing nipple waterers at or slightly above eye level grants them the most convenient access to the water.

    from http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/poultry_equipment.html (which has more info than anyone could ever want about all the types of poultry waterers in the universe and their pros and cons):

    Nipple waterers are standard now in the confinement industry. They are very simple, with a stainless steel trigger sticking straight down from the bottom of the waterer. When a chicken pecks at the trigger, a drop of water rolls down and into the chicken's mouth.
    Because they have no bowl, there's nothing to clean. The trigger is self-cleaning because it's washed by the water rolling down it.
    Installing nipple waterers is easy; there are kits for gluing adapters to PVC pipe. Many installations use a weird kind of PVC pipe with a square crosssection; others use ordinary half-inch PVC pipe.
    Nipple waterers must be set at the correct height—high enough for the chickens to peck upwards at them. They are also finicky about water pressure and are not freeze-proof.
    I don't like nipple waterers for small-farm work. The payoff is not enough to outweigh persnickity height requirements and pressure adjustments.
    Nipple waterers leak sometimes, especially if your water quality isn't perfect. You need more filtering to prevent this. Like other waterers, it's best to use nipple waterers in an environment were wetness under the water doesn't translate to wet litter or wet chickens.

    also look at http://www.ziggity.com/pdf/cont/cont_article_pdf_18.pdf/Solutions_to_the_five_most_common_challenges_found_in_gravity-controlled_water_tanks.pdf.

    and you could google more deeply than I did and find more info I'm sure [​IMG]

    good luck,

  7. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Quote:Although chickens will drink out of anything, you should know that keeping a clean water supply for them is very important in keeping them healthy. I keep my waterer on a milk crate so they cannot splash around in it or dump it. It works great for me and keeps them happy and healthy.

    sms- I would love to see pics of the system you have in mind. It sounds like it would work well with my set up.

    I totally agree. Thats why I give them fresh water daily and scrub the heck out of the waterers but you still cant train them to just drink out of that lol [​IMG]
  8. SillyChick

    SillyChick Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    It sounds pretty cool! It will be an ease for the chickens to drink, it's easy to clean but training them might become a problem. I tried to put a hamster nipple waterer in the brooder and the chicks were very curious. They would peck at it, then run and scream when the water comes out! Then they will try it again, and again, and they seem to learn how to drink from it. The problem is that the water case is too small. I'm thinking of removing the nipple part of the waterer, then cut a hole from the bottom of a large bucket, then somehow insert the nipple on the hole. Not sure though, but sounds like an interesting idea. Thanks for the info everyone!
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Be prepared for a lot of spillage under the nipples. Tried them and would never do it again without a big catch tray underneath. Bedding under them gets wet and they track it everywhere. You also need a heated coop or frost will jam them.
  10. TeaLady

    TeaLady In the Brooder

    May 9, 2008
    Mine love the overhead waterers, took to it like a duck to water. I ordered the kit from Solway.

    While I was waiting for the Solway kits I got the Lixit waterers from the pet store -- the ones with a ball in a tube. Problem with those was that, on the parakeet size ones, the chicks peck so hard at it that they jam the ball up into the tube, cutting off their water supply. The larger one works better for them. But the Solway is far and away the best.

    I also got the Solway spiral feeder , but don't have it set up yet. The girls are filling their feeders with bedding so fast I gave up and just started dumping the feed into the bedding for them to scratch for it. The bedding is deep, with DE, and isn't nasty at all.

    I'm a newbie, currently with 3 batches of chicks: 6 weeks, 3 weeks, and a few days. Waterers filled with poop and/or bedding got old really quick.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008

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