How do I teach my birds to use a nipple drinker?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kate in CT, May 29, 2010.

  1. Kate in CT

    Kate in CT Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2009
    A week ago, we installed a five gallon bucket with three nipple drinkers on the bottom. The bucket is hanging in the chicken yard; the bottom of the bucket is approximately a foot above the ground. So far, our hens (and rooster) have totally ignored this new source of water. Because it's been hot, I've been reluctant to remove their old waterer. However, I really want to discontinue using the metal waterer. Does anyone have any advice about how to teach chickens to use a nipple waterer?

    Thanks!
     
  2. JMPE

    JMPE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    Are your birds full grown? If so, the nipples need to be a good 18" off the ground. The birds should need to tilt their heads up and reach a little. Next, take out the other waterer. Third, take at least one bird and "help" them. Mine I only needed to get them close to it and tap it with my finger. A friend of mine needed to tap the birds beak to it. If one gets it, the rest should follow. You'll have to keep a close eye on everyone until they get it. If it is very hot, don't let the birds go too long without, but I would keep trying for a few hours. If you take out the other waterer out at night and then try to teach them in the morning when they're looking for a drink, it might go better. Once mine had it, it was happiness all around.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Pull up a bucket next to the waterer, turn it over, sit on it, and start tapping the metal bit on the nipple(s).

    Curious chickens will come over to see what you're doing. Stop tapping the doo-hickeys (for some reason it's just creepy to keep typing "nipple") for a moment, and see if a chicken will peck it. If not, start tapping 'em again, spending some time on each one. They have really good near sight, and will notice the drips of water.

    After one chicken "gets it" the others will eventually follow.

    I have two of these waterers out in the run. You might hang a smaller one in the coop (say, a half-gallon milk jug), since it won't make the mess of traditional waterers.

    And I cheat in really hot weather: I put one regular waterer in a shady spot where I know the chickens like to congregate for afternoon napping. That's just because I don't want mine to get at all dehydrated, even though they all do use the nipple waterers.
     
  4. Kate in CT

    Kate in CT Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2009
    Yes, they are full grown. 3 Buff Orpington, 2 Columbian Wyandotte, 6 Partridge Rocks, 1 Partridge Cochin, and a mutt rooster (he was a gift from the neighbors!).

    I will definitely raise the bucket . . .and will try your suggestions!

    Thank you.
     
  5. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Base the height of the nipple drinker on the size of the birds. On Day One, the trigger pin should be just slightly higher than the chicks' eye level. As the birds find the drinkers, raise the lines slightly, encouraging the chicks to stretch their necks. By the second or third day, drinker height should encourage the chicks to peck at about a 45-degree angle. As the birds age, continue to raise the drinkers. By four weeks, the drinker height should require the birds to peck at about a 50- to 55-degree angle. (Determine the angle by imagining a line drawn from the birdÂ’s feet to its beak.)
     
  6. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    Here's what we did I'm just trying to keep it simple for my hubby while I'm gone on my trail ride and keep the birds with plenty of water since the temps changed so much so fast. I have them together as I was going to separate the turkeys but they get along so well I figured one more week won't matter too much.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. mailmamm

    mailmamm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2009
    Rainier WA
    I have two nipple waterers attached to a white pvc tube from a bucket outside of the coop. I just brought home my hens yesterday, they are 12 and 10 weeks and have been getting water from a traditional waterer. They were thirsty and discovered the nipples right away. I think if they are thirsty they will be easier to teach how to use the new water system.
     
  8. JMPE

    JMPE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    Any luck?
     
  9. Tatubela

    Tatubela Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2014
    I have five 3 week old chicks. They are consuming plenty of my waking hours :). I just installed a nipple drinker on a water bottle in the brooder, aside from their regular water source.I saw the height for big chickens, but what about chicks?
     
  10. gibel-girls

    gibel-girls Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 2, 2013
    Maine
    My pullets took to it right away when I took away their other water source.

    My baby chicks have been using the nipples since day one, so I would say easy.
     

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