Chicken waterer nipples getting clogged?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Bawkinghen, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Bawkinghen

    Bawkinghen In the Brooder

    May 4, 2013
    Has anyone had an issue with their waterer nipples getting clogged before? I have a five gallon bucket with the nipples screwed into the bottom and just the other day we had noticed our egg production had dropped off and I, by chance, discovered that the nipples were not letting any water out. My poor girls were dehydrating. I feel like such a bad chicken mommy :( No wonder they kept all running for the little water pools in the tree root systems whenever I let them out to free-range.
    Obviously, im going to be checking the nipples all the tme now, but how do I keep this from happening? We have well water and I'm wondering if it is just mineral deposits building up inside the nipples or something? Help!
  2. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    It may be just debris in general. One problem with nipples in the bottom of the bucket is that any debris that settles to the bottom settles next to the nipples and can be pulled through the nipples during operation. But I wonder if the fact that it is well water might predispose it to developing algae to block the nipples.

    Good thing that you caught this.

  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I agree with Chris that it could simply be debris, since if it is present it will accumulate in the bottom where the nipples are located. I have to say though that we have incredibly hard water where I live and after about two years of using the nipples, some become clogged with calcium carbonate. I simply placed the bucket in a tray with enough vinegar to cover the nipples for an hour or so and that cleaned them right up. I always make sure to check that each one is working every time I change the water.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  4. Rich386

    Rich386 Songster

    Jul 21, 2011
    Live Oak, FL
    If sedinent is the problem you could mount the horizontal nipples 3" off the bottom. That would leave room for the trash to settle at the bottom.

  5. Bawkinghen

    Bawkinghen In the Brooder

    May 4, 2013
    Yeah, vinegar was what I ended up doing to clean them out. I'm just going to have to dunk them in vinegar every week when I wash them so they don't clog up again. I just wish I had thought about it and had been checking them. It just didn't even cross my mind :/
    At first, I had been filling the waterer with filtered from our RO system because I didn't want to give them well water. I had never had any problems when I was doing that. But then the heat of summer hit and my family was drinking more water and we discovered that watering the chickens was nearly wiping out our filtered water supply in the morning and the RO tank was taking FOREVER to refill. So, I decided that I couldn't pamper my chickens anymore :(
    I wonder if it would help at all to get the water out of the tap inside that comes from the softener at least, instead of the hose outside. Will the softened water have less sediment than the hose water?
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  6. MelissaTXRn

    MelissaTXRn Songster

    Jun 3, 2013
    I use the horizontal ones like in the picture above. They haven't ever been clogged up.
  7. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chirping

    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    Why did you not want to give the chickens well water? I would have to think that is cleaner than them drinking from their favorite mud puddle which most do when they get the chance. What is an RO system?

    I water most of my birds with rainwater from a collection barrel that gets filled off the coop roof. I also use the Horizontal nipples previously mentioned in a PVC pipe system and them stopping up has never been a problem.


  8. Bawkinghen

    Bawkinghen In the Brooder

    May 4, 2013
    I'm really close to a lot of farming and I don't know what kind of run-off from the fields is in our ground water. All kinds of pesticides and such to be sure. I'd much rather them drink out of the rain
    RO is reverse osmosis filtration.
    Maybe I'll have to look into the horizontal nipples. I didn't even know they existed.

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