Raising it up on a cinderblock or something similar will help with the shavings, but make it an even more desirable roost. Nipple waterers are impossible to mess up, I have both in my brooder and then I feel like I can get away with only changing the waterer once a day.
I don’t know how to prevent this but it’s happens to me too and is pretty annoying after you just clean/refill it. There’s not much you can do in terms of the chicks it’s just their natural instincts/behavior to forage. In terms of the actual water container I’ve also only heard about just putting it on something to make it higher.
My quail chicks already are using the nipple waterer, I was worried, but someone else had pics of their chicks using a waterer successfully, so I put both in the brooder, they use both but when I move them to a larger brooder in a couple days I’ll just leave the nipple waterer. I feel if a 1 day old quail chick can work it so can a chicken chick.
@truchickendiva this is what I did for my chicks to avoid this, it worked wonders! And the bigger and flappier they get the messier the water dish will get. This was an easy fix. Rubbermaid container, a small section of hardware mesh, a couple piece of wood and some duct tape to cover sharp edges!
(I can’t take credit for this idea, I stole it from a YouTube video from Guildbrook Farms)
I introduced my chicks to the nipple waterer around three weeks, it took a while for them to catch on. I'd reach in and tap it whenever I fed them, they'd peck it and watch the water fall and look in the shavings for it. But now they all have it figured out properly.