Home-grown watering - pics and math

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cptbahama, Dec 6, 2011.

1. cptbahamaChillin' With My Peeps

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Jan 13, 2011
augusta, georgia
Well, I finally got some time to get out there and tend to the water situation. I wanted to address two issues:
Keep water from freezing and make it easier to fill the water less often.
I was using one of these 5 gallon hanging waterers. But to fill it I had to un-hook it and pull it out, take off lid, remove seal, fill, replace, etc.. Doesn't sound bad but in the summer, it was a hassle. Plus they kicked up poop and other debris into the water from the run.

Six inch pvc pipe is expensive but for the volume of water it holds, it's worth it. I did the math for 4" pipe and the volume formula told me I would have to have ten feet of 4"pvc as a "tank" to hold only 6.5 gallons of water. When only a five foot section of 6" pvc pipe could hold 7.3 gallons of water. I'm no mathematician but the formula is pretty simple. Recall some junior high math with me:

pi (3.14) times radius squared times length of pipe in inches = volume in cubic inches

divide this number by 231 cubic inches in a gallon to get gallons

so 4" pipe 10' feet long (or 120 inches) is like this:

3.14 x 4 x 120 = 1507 / 231 = 6.5 gallons

and 6" pipe 5 feet long (or 60 inches) is like this:

3.14 x 9 x 60 = 1696 / 231 = 7.3 gallons

Here are the materials and some tools needed:

This is a before pic.

Cut a hole for pipe using jigsaw:

Piece together the pipe and paint it your color:

Its no secret that the poultry nipples are a great alternative. So I had to order some and give them a try. I found mine on ebay and paid \$12 for 10 nipples, including shipping. I ended up only using 6 of them. Here you can see the holes drilled in the pvc, ready for the nipples to be screwed in:

A few details on the nipple installation... the instructions that came with mine called for a 5/16" bit for hard plastic, including pvc. They called for 11/32" drill bit for soft plastic like soda bottles or a 5 gallon bucket. So I drilled my first holes using the 5/16" bit. They didn't fit. I ended up using the 11/32" bit and they fit. Use teflon tape around the threads and do not over tighten. The nipples are plastic and very cheaply made. I broke two nipples in the process just by slightly over-tightening and had to drill them out. Take my advice and go slow and easy.

Here is the finished product. I am very happy with it. The nipples don't leak and the chickens found them immediately and are already using them:

And I just drag the garden hose over to the coop to fill it. It holds over 8 gallons with that big 90 degree elbow attached!

To keep the water from freezing I bought a 30' heater cable made for plastic and metal pipes. I am going to wrap it around the pvc pipe if I have to. But first I'm going to give it some time and see if it freezes. It CAN get pretty cold here but it has to be really really cold for a few days to freeze an 8 gallon tank. If I do have freezing problems I suspect it will be right at the nipple. But I'll keep and eye on it and watch it for a while before I use the heater.

Thanks for looking!

Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
1 person likes this.
2. Sonflower12New Egg

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Sep 23, 2011
Suffolk, VA
very cool. will definately try this method...love the fact that it is completely closed to things getting into the water...thanks for posting!!

3. Jen0301Chillin' With My Peeps

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May 11, 2011
Great thinking, thank you for sharing all your info! We are having the same issues so I will show your solution to the resident engineer. Best of luck for a mild Winter

4. Uncle MarcChillin' With My Peeps

Oct 12, 2011
Poplar Grove Kentucky
Will the chickens peck the heat tape and you end up with fried chickens?

5. Avonlea22Jessamine Cottage

Aug 27, 2011
Quote:Wouldn't they be roasted?

That is a great setup. I may incorporate something similar in my coop.

6. cptbahamaChillin' With My Peeps

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Jan 13, 2011
augusta, georgia
I haven't used the heat tape yet. I'm waiting to see if the nipples freeze first. so far they haven't. I'd like to be able to return the heat tape for a refund. I'm keeping my eye on it. Would they get zapped if they peck it? I doubt it. Its pvc coated and it's not like they'd hit live wire if they pecked through it. They would encounter the heating element if they were able to peck through the pvc coating. Then they would just get burned maybe a little on the beak? A non-issue obviously.

7. reksatChillin' With My Peeps

Mar 7, 2011
western,MD
Looks good I think I might try this when the weather breaks in the spring time. Good idea.

8. bcrayOut Of The Brooder

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Apr 29, 2011
Look's like A great idea - I think I will try it.

Hey Thanks a Lot

9. ldutch123Chillin' With My Peeps

Nov 9, 2011
Illinois
I'm new to chickens, how do they go From water in a bowl to a nipple?

10. MR.PEEPSOut Of The Brooder

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Nov 25, 2011
Stanwood
Hi I seen that people are wanting to do this waterier I sell nipples so if you are interested let me know if you wont any k thank.