How chickens drink water, and a question about what is best for quality and health.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kriskamm27, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Kriskamm27

    Kriskamm27 New Egg

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    So I am a first year chicken daddy with 4 hens raised from chicks this year. All for laying at full speed now.

    I need to modify/upgrade the way I have been watering them. Until now... I have been using a plastic tub that originally contained spinach. I keep it in the corner of their run where I can rinse it and fill it with fresh water from my garden hose every day.

    I noticed over the summer that they drink happily, as I watched them the water seemed to get quite muddy. I want to switch to the red rubble nipple waterers in a hanging waterer but I don't want to stress them out by having the water source change instantly.
    If i change should I offer both water sources for a while then after a week remove the old tub?

    Question: Do chickens fill their stomach with water and puke out dirt and debris?

    Question: Will I be safe switching them over to a hanging setup with red rubber nipples providing the water?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    You sound like a very attentive chicken parent - lucky flock you have.
    The debris you are seeing in the water container you are using is likely from the fact that chickens spend most of their day rooting around in dirt and much, which becomes stuck on their beak. They don't regurgitate debris while drinking, but that debris can and does get rinsed off and into the water. Also, with a fairly open container on the ground you have the added issue of their feet getting in the water and them tossing debris about while scratching near the waterer. If you have watched them scratching around you have seen just how far the fling "stuff" - and how quickly they can bury or fill any nearby feeder/waterer.
    Plenty of folks use the nipple systems and love them. I have not yet made the conversion, but have been seriously considering it. Is there a specific concern you have about their safety? I have yet to hear one issue regarding safety with this system. Knowing what it is that you are worried about can help us address it directly
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I just switched to the nipple system kind of. My problem is the toggle nipples that are below the bucket freeze solid in the cold weather that we are having.

    But on a side note, I set it up one morning about 10:00, removing all other water, and by 2:00 all were drinking out of it, even the two week old chicks!

    I have mine on a black bucket, that I am hoping on bright sunny days keeps them in liquid water longer than the rubber bowl. I have read that the horizontal nipples do not freeze up quite so bad, so will probably be trying them soon. It does make for cleaner water.

    Mrs K
     
  4. Kriskamm27

    Kriskamm27 New Egg

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    I'm just tired of the mess with the water, if I can just fill a hanging bucket with a lid to keep leaves out, every couple days then I'm a happier chicken owner.
     
  5. The Colonel

    The Colonel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're worried about changing their water source drastically, I would suggest a disposable kiddie pool until they get the new system figured out. I got one the day after mine found the goose's pool. They love it and it will give them an adequate water through the change over.
     
  6. The Colonel

    The Colonel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rim it's also high enough they have less chance of kicking dirt in it.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I started my chicks on the open waterer jug with the red catch basin. It was always a mess. I spent more time cleaning and refilling it for my 22 chicks than any other task. So I got a ice cream bucket (eating all of that ice cream was a sacrifice, but anything for my chicks). [​IMG] I installed the vertical nipples, removed their other water container, and waited. Within minutes one of the chicks went over, tapped on that shiny red thing and water came out! She was enthusiastic about it! The others came over to see what she was doing. Training time over!

    But they leaked. They leaked a lot. They weren't leaking where they went into the bucket - they were leaking at the valves every time they drank from it. So I switched to horizontal nipples. Again training time was negligible. And I'll never go back to any other system. Now even the little 2 week old chick that my broody hatched out uses the nipple with no difficulty. I used a plastic powdered iced tea container with one horizontal nipple in the broody pen and he/she took to it immediately.

    Right now the temperature here is -4 degrees. One nipple out of the 5 that go around their 5 gallon watering bucket froze, but a few taps and holding my finger on it for few seconds freed it right up. We have a heater in the bucket.

    Taking care of feeding and watering my chickens is now so easy that when we're out of town our 8 year old granddaughter and 9 year old grandson take care of the birds.
     
  8. nikicolorado

    nikicolorado Out Of The Brooder

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    I started with the hanging bucket/nipple method, but it just gold moldy from lack of use. My hens would wait until they could get water from nearby the sprinkler, or from the dog's bowl, so they used the fancy bucket only rarely. I got rid of the nipple bucket and now give them two sources of water: a bowl which I fill daily, and an old fashioned galvanized waterer that needs to be cleared of debris daily, but filled only twice a week.

    They love the bowl water the best. Now that it's well below freezing, I have installed a heating pad under the metal waterer and the water stays liquid, so they always have water, but I still give them fresh in the bowl, even though it freezes rather quickly. I think one reason they like the bowl is so they can wash their faces in it - I keep it elevated on a cinder block, but it still fills with dirt and debris.

    It's hard to gauge their water intake from observation, so I just keep it fresh everyday, that way I know they have access and will keep themselves hydrated.
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    ok, I think I am ready to try the horizontal waterers. I have the vertical ones on a black bucket, but they are freezing up. Even though the water inside the bucket is not freezing up.

    Where do you get the horizontal ones?

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    @Blooie Can you tell me more about what heater you're using?....what's the water temp in the bucket?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-Solway-HO...CKEN-GAME-BIRD-WATERING-NIPPLES-/221570335286
     

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