Gravity Fed Autowatering System

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MissPrissy, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    In the summertime the bulk of my barn chores is keeping waterers full and clean.

    A couple weeks ago I drove down to the coast and picked up some 58 gallon food grade drums that were used to ship olives from Spain to the US via ship.

    I brought them home - 6 was a super tight squeeze in my Excursion. They where bigger than I expected. I had intended to use them all as rain barrels but this past week I was looking at them and thinking they would make a great water reservoir for the chicken barn. Two of them could be rigged up to supply water to all the pens fairly easily.

    The barrels are very heavy grade plastic type drums. I am wondering if a stock tank heater like the one made for the rubbermaid stock tanks would help keep the water flowing in winter if the pipes are wrapped in the heater tape for super cold climates.

    I am fully capable of running pvc lines. I know I will need a pressure reducer .

    I am curious as to which drink cups you all might use and if you like the style you have or would go with something else if you had the option of changing.

    I was thinking of using 3 of these drink cups in each pen and 8 or 9 in my main layer house.

    Any and all recommendations would be great.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  2. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    I'm very anxious to see the responses you get. I'd like to try something like this. [​IMG]
     
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Sounds like a good plan to me. You shouldn't need the pressure reducer for a gravity feed system though. The pressure reducer is to reduce from a residential water pressure of 40 psi or more so that the little valves in the cups aren't blown out. The pressure won't be above 5 psi in your gravity feed system unless you keep the water barrels up in the rafters.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    All I know is the website says you need the pressure reducer for the drink cups.

    My barrels will be sitting 24 inches or so off the ground to feed the cups.
     
  5. chicken_angler

    chicken_angler Coop Constructist

    Jun 23, 2008
    a house
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    Im assuming your working with a pressurized supply line for the drum.

    You need pressure reducers if you are going to feed the drinker cups from your main, pressurized line. This is because they are mostly plastic and so the main pressure 30-60 psi is to much for them.

    From an unpressurized reservoir supply, either supplied by the line or a rain barrell, it isn't neccessary to use them. Keep the lid on the drum sealed to prevent "things" from getting in and ensure your drum is adequately vented.

    Will you be filling the drums manually?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:You only need the pressure reducer if you decide to hook the cups up to a pressurized system, like your water hose.

    For a gravity feed system pressure is equal to .43 PSI for every foot of water elevation. If you have 3 ft tall barrels standing upright, elevated 2 feet above the ground and your cups are 1 foot above the ground, you will have 4 feet of water elevation with the barrel full of water and 1.7 PSI. When the barrel is close to empty the water pressure drops to .43 PSI.

    You'll want to test a cup by connecting it to a barrel with a flexible hose. Put a foot of water in the barrel and test the cup by placing at increasingly lower heights below the barrel. Make sure you get the flow you need and make sure the valve shuts off. I'm not sure how the cups operate but it may take a bit of water pressure to seat the valve.
     
  8. chicken_angler

    chicken_angler Coop Constructist

    Jun 23, 2008
    a house
    Yea a test probably would be good to regulate how high the cups should be.

    Chickenman8
     
  9. Beer4myhorses

    Beer4myhorses Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Weatherford, TX
    I've been lurking a while...saw your post and thought I would chime in.

    I was in your shoes...wanting a water supply for the chicks but not have to do it daily. I wrestled with the barrels, but wanted to insulate them. I finally gave up after I went to Walmart.

    They had a 120 quart (30 gallon) cooler with a drain plug all setup to attach a garden hose. I just killed 2 birds w/ one stone. (can I say that here? LOL) The cooler will help keep the water from getting real hot here in TX. I figure the supply should last me 2-3 weeks.

    So, I built a stand outside the coop. Bought a low pressure fountain. Drilled some holes thru the coop wall, hooked up the fountain and it works like a charm. Of course the girls were a bit unsure of this green thing poking thru the wall. LOL

    BTW...feeder idea...I borrowed the idea from the guy here who built his with the chute. One difference...I built mine into the walls of the coop. I used two of the stud cavities, cut some holes on the outside of the coop to fill and a dispensing system inside the coop. A 50# bag of feed fills them both and don't have to worry about feeders. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  10. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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