Best way to water the flock?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Sore Thumb Suburbanite, May 6, 2011.

  1. Sore Thumb Suburbanite

    Sore Thumb Suburbanite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2011
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    Hello, I'm raising my firstflock, all healthy, happy poopers that live outside now at 8 weeks. I have 3 ducks and 2 geese and the water issue is a big issue... basically I spend a lot of time changing and refilling their water, relocating the water so as not to encourage mud and they still manage to nearly run out of water nomatter what receptical I put it in.
    My idea is to build a 5 foot tall water tower in their yard (Since space is limited and it would look pretty cute) and place a 45 gallon water barrel (rain barrel with bottom drain spout) on top with a secured line to an automatic waterer (gravity feed bowl with valve). The structure will rest on a paver stone and sand base-no mud... This way I can go a few days at a time not having to do much other than clean out a bowl and they won't run out of water all the time.

    I have drawn up plans, but I just wanted to run this by you all to pick your brains... Could you let me know if you have done similar installs, or if you percieve any problems with my plans... I want to start this tomorrow, so any suggestions would be helpful.
     
  2. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This sounds pretty cool. I'll be interested to see what others suggest.
     
  3. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd love to see your variation of this.

    I have 17 eight week old chicks, and I got tired of the watering issue as well as the coop is a about 100 feet from the house and has no available water near it. On Craig's List I found a guy that was selling cheap rain barrels made from 55 gallon plastic drums that previously held pickles. He had the spigot on it at the bottom like you describe.

    I rigged it up to gravity feed to a piece 1/2 inch PVC pipe that has 6 nipples. I need to tweak it a bit still, but it has worked out really well this week. The barrel is in a shady spot, so the water stays cool, and so far it's worked really well. I'm not sure I'm in love with the nipples yet (though the birds adapted to them within minutes), as i find them a bit leaky. I'm going to caulk around them a bit more to see if that fixes the problem.

    But it's been great to not have to lug water to the coop. I also have a rain gutter from my plastic corrugated roof that leads into the barrel to collect rain water. The barrel has a screen on top so no little bits can get into the water. But I've pretty much filled the thing up with the hose and I haven't run outta water yet.
     
  4. Sore Thumb Suburbanite

    Sore Thumb Suburbanite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:that sounds terriffic! How high did you place your barrel? I think 5 feet is enough, but I really don't know for sure. I'm a little nervous about my drum leaking, I need to make sure to seal the drain spigot, I have to make one in my drum. I am also rigging my barrel to collect water when it rains by inverting the cone shaped roof which will cover it, I need to post s schematic.
     
  5. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Folks I'm really interested in what you're describing here. I would (as I suppose others would) appreciate it if you could post some photos of your set-up. I'm already getting tired of lugging water to the coop/run every other day. Mostly cause they pooped in it somehow... I've been contemplating going to the nipple system...using a gravity feed system similar to what you describe. A picture's worth a thousand words...and I'm a visual kinda guy. [​IMG]
     
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    If you look on my BYC page we used to use Little Giant automatic waterers. I had them hooked to a garden hose that ran along a fence line, but the company says that they can be gravity fed also. They worked well. (I say we used to use them as we no longer live there and have a different setup now).
     
  7. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2011
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    Quote:Very nice job on the coop! I just checked out your BYC page and see what you mean. I looked at that option as well...my closest water faucet is about 100 ft away. Living here in South Carolina the water in that hose gets as hot as the water heater's during the day. If I do an automatic feeder system, I've got to do a gravity feed from a large bucket kept in a shady area close to the coop. I really am impressed by your coop build and set up for the auto waterer...and the photographs are great! Thanks for sharing!

    BTW...love the avatar...I enjoyed the heck out of watching movies with Marty Feldman! [​IMG]
     
  8. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds great, but why lift it so high? It seems that would just make it harder to fill, clean, and replace if the water barrel had a leak or was broken. If it's just for looks fine, but otherwise you don't need that much water pressure to run a gravity fed system for a chicken waterer.

    Your problem is ducks and geese! [​IMG] I keep hearing how messy they are with their water - and I go to shows and see the geese and ducks with their pens soaking wet by two hours in - I feel for their poor owners!
     
  9. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2010
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    Here are some photos I took today.

    The barrel is about 42 inches in height I would guess, and I have it sitting on blocks beside the coop to get it up higher than the the nipple waterer line. The drain from the barrel (which is at the base of it), is about 6 inches higher only than the PVC line containing the nipples. You can pretty much see the whole thing in this photo. You can see that I have the gutter spout pointing into the top of the barrel (do take note that my roof is the corrugated plastic and not roofing shingles. You don't want to use roof runoff from shingles to water chickens, as there are all sorts of harmful chemicals in roof shingles). As I said, I got my barrel on Craig's List. You can also get these barrels for free if you visit your local car wash, as this is what car wash soap comes in.

    [​IMG]

    In this photo, you can see an upclose shot of the pipe I have going from the barrel to the nipple line. I chose to do a clear rubber hose on this part so I see the water moving to the line. It has a bit of a hump in the hose at the moment, but I need to raise my PVC pipe a bit since the girls are now taller.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the nipple line. Just 1/2" pipe with the nipples screwed in. Several of the nipples are leaking and i'm assuming it's because it's a lot of water in the barrel. I wanted to try to watering cups, but I hear those are actually worse under pressure. I may just go to the hardware store and buy a pressure reducer, but I'm baffled by needing this as the water is gravity fed and not coming off a hose. Again, I can only assume that it's a lot of water on a small pipe. You can see how the lattice behind my hardware cloth is wet as is the ground beneath the nipples.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:I'm sure you saw my other post on the water pressure required. Are they actually leaking, or are the birds just making a mess because the nipples are supplying too much water when triggered? I would think that they shouldn't leak even under a couple of feet of water column pressure. Actually, the higher pressure should help them to seal shut even better. It could be that there is debris starting to clog up the nipples allowing them not to seal properly, especially since you are collecting water from the roof and not filtering it. The valve is actually a small ball that sits on a machined seat. When the nipple is pushed to one side the top of the nipple unseats the ball and allows the water to flow down the nipple. Debris can collect between the ball and the seat, causing the ball to not seat properly.

    We use commercially made nipple watering lines. It is recommended to filter the water. We have a 5 micron cartridge filter where the water enters the barn. They are also made so that the user can bypass the regulator and flush out the lines with regular water pressure. We turn a ball valve on the regulator which bypasses the regulator and the high pressure pushes open a spring loaded valve at the other end of the line which has a hose connected that exits the barn. Once a week I flush the lines to help blow out any debris, bio-film, and loose mineral deposits.

    The homemade waterers work, but there are some nuances there that you have to deal with, such as varying water pressures and there being no easy way to clean the lines. If you think there is junk in the lines, you may just have to remove the nipples and tap on them and rinse them to get any debris out. While the nipples are out let the water run through your supply pipe to flush any debris.
     

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