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Chicken won't use water nipple

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gtwallichs, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. gtwallichs

    gtwallichs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    First off thank you all so much for all of the valuable information. I've learned everything I know about chickens from all of you. :)

    I have 3 chickens that are now 4 weeks old. Each day for about 4 hours I've been putting them in the outdoor coop/run to get used to it and get out a little. .. I live in CA and it's warm. I have them in a brooder in my house at night when they aren't outside.

    I have vertical chicken nipples set up in the run and read on here how to get them to use them. 2 out of 3 of the chickens have figured out how to use the nipples, but the third one has no interest in it at all. I've watched them for many hours and two of them use the nipples and the third one doesn't even seem to notice or care that the other two are getting water. We have tried to tap her beak to the nipples but she doesn't want anything to do with it. When we put her back in the brooder in the evening she drinks from the water dish for a long time cuz she hadn't drank anything for over 5 hours. This has been going on for over a week. I've tapped the nipples when she's nearby, but just runs away from the water. I'm worried about her when she goes into the coop/run permanently in 2 weeks and was wondering what I could do to get her to use it. The other 2 use it regularly, but she's either not around or just walks away when they use the nipples. Everyday for over a week she hasn't used the nipples at all when she's out there for many hours.

    What do you recommend I do to get her to figure it out? Thoughts, ideas, anything will be helpful. :)
     
  2. Ronster

    Ronster Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2015
    Well, you have heard that you can lead a chicken to water but you can't make'em drink.
    Seriously, I think I would help her by putting her beak on the nipple a few times. Is she able to reach the nipple like the others?
     
  3. gtwallichs

    gtwallichs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    I have tried a few times to tap her beak onto the nipple, but it hasn't worked. I'll keep trying it, but wasn't sure what else to do.

    Unfortunately, I do know the saying and I don't know what to do if you can't get them to drink. :)

    I don't want to put the water dish back in, since I'm trying g to get her to use the nipples, but I don't want her to get dehydrated.

    The nipple height is fine for all three of them, so I know she is the right height.
     
  4. proud-armywife

    proud-armywife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Found this thread.... Did your chicken figure it out? How did you help anything you did? I started using nipple waterer today and noticed the chickens didn't use it:( three out of eight figured it out. How can I get them to use it. Hit it to show water, put their beak on it.... Don't want to kill my babies!!!
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Chickens are pretty smart characters with a strong instinct for survival. If they are thirsty and need a drink, they'll find a source, even if it's a drop of rainwater suspended on the tip of a leaf. I start my chicks from the first day they come on vertical nipple waterers. I didn't do that with my first batch of chicks and I've found it's harder to switch them from the regular open chick waterers to the nipple bucket if I don't do it from day one. I also want to make sure they are getting plenty, but the horizontal nipples can be a little harder for smaller chicks to activate.

    Your stubborn chick has probably simply learned that there's water in a familiar container back in the brooder, so she's content to wait. I use vertical nipples for young chicks in the brooder and they are brooded outside in the run, regardless of the weather. They are in an open pen out there, and they can see every move the big chickens make. One of those things is watching them use the horizontal nipples on the big bucket. So when that bucket with the horizontal nipples appears in place of what they started out on, they are fine. When they are integrated, they head right for the big bucket. I prefer the horizontal nipples in the run because they don't drip if the chickens bump their backs into the nipples, and there's a little cup under the trigger that holds a tiny bit of water, which really encourages uncertain chicks to tap at the nipple for more. So I switch mine over after a few days on the verticals.

    I worried too about my chicks not getting enough water last year when I was still using the standard water dish. When I switched them over they acted scared to death of it for the first few minutes. Finally one drank, then another, and training time was over. Yes, it took a bit for a couple of them to "get it", but get it they did. It's funny, we have an open pan of water that we keep refilled in the yard for their foraging times. As soon as they see it they make a beeline for it like they haven't seen water in months. They'll do the same thing if they see a mud puddle. But I know they are fine because when they are confined to coop and run they don't even miss an open waterer. And I don't miss the poop and shavings in the water and checking the brooder just to find thirsty chicks, wet bedding, and an overturned water dish!
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    5 hours isn't long enough for a chicken to get dehydrated of much concern. Take this with a grain of salt, but unless it's 100F+ for most of your day, then 5 hours isn't going to be a big deal. Since you haven't posted again, I'm figuring she figured it out?
     
  7. gtwallichs

    gtwallichs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    I removed all other sources of water and used a long stick to poke the nipples to show them how they worked. The chickens are such curious animals that they will go and see what the shiny nipples do. I use the vertical nipples, but not the ones with the cups underneath. I'm trying to keep it as low maintenance as possible. I have the pvc pipe with the nipples connected to a 5 gal bucket. I love the fact that they all use it and it works wonderfully. It took a while for the third chicken to figure it out, but she eventually did. In the brooder I added a nipple to a plastic water bottle and hung it low. Worked wonderfully. Will for now on use from day one in the future.
     
  8. The Balcom Clan

    The Balcom Clan Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2015
    It's been a while since this post was comment on but I have a question in the same regards.
    We brought out chicks home on Friday and have used a plastic water bottle with a vertical nipple attached since day one. They got the hang of it but still struggle toget water out. I found if I tilted the bottle a bit, more water would come out. But there are many times I watch them and they hit and hit the nipple but nothing comes out. Not to mention the water wasn't going down nearly as fast as it should have. I'm tempted to try a different nipple....I did break down and put a small bowl of water in there because I was worried they weren't getting enough water. They sucked it up so fast!! They still attempt the nipple waterer, but I find they give up really easy - even when I don't have the bowl in there.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks!!
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You could try poking a small hole in the top of the container. Sometimes vertical nipples need the air in there to make the water flow. I haven't found this to be true with horizontal nipples, but I did run into it when I was watering chicks with a smaller container.

    Welcome to BYC!
     
  10. gtwallichs

    gtwallichs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Most common problem is that there is no air intake. If you attached it to a water bottle make sure that there is air that can come in still so it is a gravity type waterer and not air tight. I attached mine at the bottom of the water bottle so that I could unscrew the cap to let air in. If it is air tight then it will not work properly. Hope this helps and let us know if it get fixed. :)
     

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