Best Watering system


Dec 19, 2015
North Carolina
I'm thinking of redoing my watering system for my pens. What system is your favorite? My only requirements are to be easy to keep clean and able to water a large flock in a multi pen system. If you have pictures of the system I would love to see them.


Apr 11, 2015
For the summer time we use a 4" PVC water system with vertical water nipples. I don't know the exact size because we just cut the pipe to fit the pen. But it works really well for spring/summer/fall. On top we have a cap with a small hole drilled to keep it from getting air locked. Here is some pics to give you an idea.

For the winter we use a heated bucket we got at Rural King So far at 20F it has worked real well. We mounted horizontal nipples on it and made a board to fit for the top so it would hold the heat in.

I think they make the heated buckets bigger. For us and the 8 chickens we have this is a nice setup.


May 15, 2015
I like horizontal nipples and added heat for winter, sofar so good, only been down to about 10f. I have two buckets setup and one I put a pump in to hopefully improve the heater's ability to keep it all frost free.

The heated bucket looks like it would work very well, I did regular 5-gallon with stock tank heater. I just put the nipples high enough to keep the heater well submerged.


5 Years
Mar 8, 2015
My Coop
My Coop
I just bought watering cupS I Haven't USED theM yet AWAITING arrival


Jul 24, 2015
Western Mass
I use water nipples on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. It is really nice because I only need to fill it up once every week and a half, and they always have fresh water. I did have the 3 gallon waterer, but I needed to fill that up every 3 days, and it kept getting dirty. The only problem is that the nipple watering does not really work in the winter. Lucky for me, it has been warm, but I may try the heated bucket with water cups from a couple posts above.


In the Brooder
Dec 2, 2015
I have tried vertical and horizontal nipples, and much prefer the horizontal style. I have installed them in buckets and in pvc. They don't leak as much, they do well in freezing temps if you have a bucket heater, and you can rest the bucket on the ground while filling it.

I imagine a multi pen system would work well using pvc and a larger bucket as a tank for holding the water. You'd have to figure something else out for the coldest of the winter nights, but in NC your wingers aren't too long. I would suggest unscrew able caps at the end of the pvc pipes so you could drain the system before it freezes.

But my advice is to use horizontal nipples. Good luck!


Team Spina Bifida
8 Years
Feb 25, 2014
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I agree with the horizontal nipples. I have them on my 5 gallon bucket out in the run. They certainly CAN freeze, but just a few seconds with a heat gun on each one and they were back in business. We only had to do that for a short time when our temperatures stayed in that 17 - 22 below zero range. This year we got a different bucket, placed the nipples up higher on it, and so far so good. The water in the bucket is kept thawed with a small stock tank heater that is designed to be used in plastic containers. Last year the water itself never froze - just the residual water in the little cup part of the nipple froze. When it did, it expanded and pushed the nipple assembly open, so more water tricked out until it froze the entire assembly shut. I had icicles from the nipple to the floor. But I'd still far rather spend two minutes with the heat gun on those occasional super-cold mornings since I'm out there doing chores anyway than haul water down there 3 and 4 times a day!

Thawing and drying the nipples with the heat gun. It just took a few minutes.

This one had been partially done. You can see that the nipple area is now thawed, and he was working on thawing the area around it. If you look closely, you can see the residual water that's left in the little cup part of the nipple. That's where the freezing started, and it would push against the trigger, allowing more water to drip around it until it finally froze shut.

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