do chickens prefer bowls of water to the nipple system?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Tamra, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Tamra

    Tamra In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2010
    I use coffee chaff as bedding in my coop and it is very light and fluffy so keeping the water clean can be a problem. I found the nipple sysytem to really work and I know my chickens are using it. Whenever I let them outside to free range the quickly go to the nearest puddle of water and gulp it down as if they haven't had any water for days! I have been giving them bowls of water outside the coop just in case but I am curious if they don't really like the nipple system. Does anyone have any ideas?
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I had the same experience, they never drank enough of the nipple waterer for me to notice a drop in the water level -- AND they rushed to the dog's bowl when let out of the coop.

    I sold the nipples here in the sale section, and bought several of the "spring colored" Fortiflex 8qt buckets that went on clearance at TSC for $2.99 (regular about $5 I think).
    I like the buckets fine and the girls like the buckets better, so that's what I use.

    LVVCHAP Chirping

    Jun 24, 2008
    My experience is that they prefer water out of a traditional watering system but they will use and do just fine with the water nipples. If you continue to give them another water source they will probably wait for it. I am curious to see what others have found.
  4. I really love my chicks but I have to do what helps me care for them in the best way. For me that is the nipple system. My chickens are always confined between the coop and the run so the nipples are just easier than trying to haul buckets of water in and out. We have extreme heat here in the desert and I haven't had any problem with my chickens dying from lack of water. I also think that if they needed more water they would camp out at the waterer and they don't. If buckets work for you than that's the way to go. It just isn't convenient in my situation. If I could free range them I would use buckets in the yard too and keep the nipples in the coop and run. I think our pets will always adapt.
  5. Tamra

    Tamra In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2010
    Thanks for all of your input. I think I will leave the nipples in their coop (the bucket would just get too gross) and I'll give them a bucket outside. I want to make them happy. They are only confined to the coop overnight and if the weather really bad. At least I know if they really need to drink when stuck in the coop they will have good clean fresh water.
  6. AnnainMD

    AnnainMD Songster

    Feb 1, 2010
    Eldersburg, MD
    Chickens will drink out of any puddle of water no matter how filthy, they drink the drops collected on fencing, the puddles collected around the pots, and they did this even when I had them drinking out of a regular waterer. I, however, cannot go out to clean the standard bucket of water several times a day, every day or every other day like others can.
    So I use what stays nice and clean: nipple waterers.
    I could not stand how filthy the water would get when they had standing water--no matter how high I put it, it would be dirty in hours.
    We have had temps in the 100's and my girls were fine with the nipples.

    Do what works for you, if you can clean a standard waterer at least every day, then go for it. If you can't, then use the nipples, the water stays cleaner and healthier for the girls.
  7. Tamra

    Tamra In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2010
    Yes, I really like the nipple system. I have also seen my chickens drinking the rain drops off of their fence. Weird! The nipple system just is the only way to go because I use the coffee chaff. It is sooooo wicked fluffy and if they beat their wings it gets everywhere! It also gets pretty slimy in the water. Other than that I really like the coffee chaff because it's free, smells good and composts a lot faster than standard shavings.
  8. I also recently installed a nipple system both inside the coop, & in the partially shaded run. I still have the elevated water bowls in both places. Cleanliness is not to be had w/the water bowls. I have only seen 3-4 of my chicks even go near the nipples, much less use them. I have shown a few what they are, but I think until I dispose of the bowls, they'll continue to use those instead. I'm in the Mohave desert area, & I just can't bring myself to yank the bowls yet. When I walked into their coop today, they were walking/laying around w/open beaks. I immediately hooked up a swamp cooler for their benefit. Prior to this, I had a 20" fan adding cooler air to the coop. It looks like this item (swamp cooler) hit the jackpot!!! Now, back to the nipple system & making them use it.[​IMG] I have 3-4 inches of pine shavings on the floor-The coop has 4" insulated walls on all sides & the roof. It still gets a tad warm out here.
  9. PJCluck

    PJCluck In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2010
    Living Free in NH
    My 16 chickens love the nipples. I have one 50-gallon food-quality drum in the coop, raised. It drains into two waterer pipes, one in the coop, the other outside in the totally fenced run. Each pipe has 4 nipples (FarmTek). The 16 chickens drain the 50 gallons in about three weeks. I keep some ACV in the water. So far they love it - they all drink freely inside and out. In the winter here (Massachusetts, down to 5 or 10 below zero at times, regularly in the teens), I will turn the outside pipe off and drain it. I am thinking of wrapping the inside pipe with heater tape, but I fear the chickens might peck it off. Maybe I will leave the heat lamp on hear the pipe and the drum. I welcome all comments!
  10. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    My policy: Nipples are for mammals. [​IMG]

    Whenever possible, I prefer to provide things that mimic an animals normal habitat. For birds, that is most definitely NOT a nipple water system. A dish of some sort is much more natural.

    It really isn't that much trouble to put out a pan of some sort for water & give it a rinse with a garden hose every day or two. Heck, if you need to, you can carry out a fresh water dish each day, dump the old one, and toss them in a stack. Once a week scrub them all out to your heart's content.

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