Family feud over Chicken Nipple bucket controversy - Hens not helping!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by debir1966, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. debir1966

    debir1966 Songster

    May 27, 2012
    Central Idaho
    We just recently acquired a few chickens and I switched them over to a chicken nipple water bucket. They seemed to be doing fine with it - until I started free ranging them during the day.

    Now, my husband and my Dad have been critical of the chicken nipples from the get-go, but I insisted it was a better, cleaner, easier way to water the hens.

    However, when I let them out to free range in the morning they practically RUN to the horse water trough and glirp up as much water as they can.

    I have defended myself by telling my husband and father that if they have an alternative water sourse, they will use it instead of the nipples, but they just keep rubbing it in my face that the chicken nipples are not working.

    I would like to hear opinions and experiences from others who use chicken nipples and have had their chickens use them just fine but prefer other water sources if available... or if you think my husband and Dad are correct?

    (The hens were locked up for almost two weeks with just the chicken nipple bucket for water before I started letting them out consistently to free range during the day)

    Thank you!
  2. GoChick

    GoChick Songster

    Sep 16, 2010

    I don't use the niples, I change their water every day, and still, when I let mine out to freerange, they run to the dirtiest puddle of water they can find and drink from it as if they never had water before... like, puddles in a tractor rut, or inside a wheelbarrow that was used to move manure, or other disgusting things like that... so, if I were you, I wouldn't give up on the niples! :)
  3. I currently have both in my coop due to flock integration. Some use one, some the other, some both in no particular order.

    They do the same with two different kinds of feeders, same feed.

    Nipples work fine, they've been using them for decades in factory farms and the birds don't dehydrate. ( I know they were using them 37 years ago when I gathered eggs as a teen)
  4. debir1966

    debir1966 Songster

    May 27, 2012
    Central Idaho
    Thank you for the replies! I figured nipples had been used for many years as any other type of watering system for commercial production would be difficult.

    It just looked bad when I had been insisting they were getting enough water from the nipple bucket and then they bolt for the horse trough every morning like kids to an ice-cream truck LOL.

    This winter will be the most telling time. I am going to put a water heater in the bucket and they will not be out free-range anymore (we get several feet of snow).

  5. bloom_ss

    bloom_ss Songster

    Jun 23, 2011
    Spokane Valley, WA
    This is my chickens!! LOL I clean waterers every day and still when I let them out they run for any puddles that can be found. I think it's just a chicken thing! [​IMG]
  6. sonomachx

    sonomachx In the Brooder

    May 4, 2011
    The grass is always greener. My chickens are the same way. On a side note, my dog always has a large sparkling bowl of water in the kitchen. First thing she always does after going outside is to drink from the nasty bird bath.
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    OK fess up people. How many of you drink water straight up most of the time. Bet most of you drink it as coffee, tea, juices...etc. You like taking it flavored too.
  8. nikki1

    nikki1 Songster

    Oct 16, 2011
    Eatonville, WA
    [​IMG] That's it! Chicken Kool-aid!
  9. debir1966

    debir1966 Songster

    May 27, 2012
    Central Idaho
    Well the hens are still making it difficult for me to convince my husband that they are actually drinking from the chicken nipple bucket!

    Yesterday we went fishing and were gone most of the day. I do not let the chickens out to range when we are not home, so they stayed locked up in their coop, with only the chicken nipple bucket for water.

    It was completely full when we left and 11 hours later --- it was still completely full!

    Now I know in the first almost two weeks that we used it, it was quite cool temperature wise and the water was going down at a steady pace. My husband thinks that was from evaporation and drips but the nipples do not just drip, though they do splash when the chickens drink from it, which was evidenced from the wet floor underneath the bucket.

    He knows that a few of the hens use the nipples, because we have seen them do so, but he doesn't think they all are and he doesn't think they are getting enough water (we got them mid-April and they have slowly decreased their egg laying from 31 eggs a week to 8 eggs last week and there have been several days we have received zero eggs - I think the year old hens are going through their first molt and the older hens may have been thrown into molt by the stress of the move, etc. We changed cold-turkey to a chicken nipple bucket mid-May and I have only been letting them out consistently to free-range for about a week).

    I did raise the height of the chicken bucket a couple days ago because I think it was too low. We have a light brahma that I feel would have found it difficult to drink from at the lower height but now I am worried that I have it too high for the rest of the hens (ameraucanas, buff orpingtons) or that the height change may have affected their drinking. I know I am probably over-worrying and over-thinking this!

    The orpingtons took to drinking from it right away and I figured they would teach the other chickens to drink from it as well. Has anyone ever had chickens NOT drink from it when some of their birds did?

    Thanks for putting up with my worrying!
  10. Vina8

    Vina8 In the Brooder

    Dec 23, 2011
    Western North Carolina
    I have twelve 16 wk old chickens--5 B.O., 3 Barred Rock, 2 R.I.R., and 2 Red Star. We built a new coup and run for them this spring which I wrote about with pictures on my blog, When they were chicks, I used the traditional waterers and hated them! I have a post about the different watering systems we are experimenting with. All of my chickens use some variation of the nipples without any trouble. I found out that using the nipples I spend a lot less time cleaning their waterers. They also use less since they are not splashing it or spilling it. The water stays clean in covered buckets. We liked the nipple waterers so much, we bought the auto-feeder that is based on the same principle as the water nipples. It took them about 30 seconds to figure that out. I also let them free range in a large fenced in area of the yard with access to their feed and water in the run and coop. So far they are doing fine and my Red Stars started laying this weekend at 16 weeks old.

    This is their favorite watering system and is in the run.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

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