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How to get my hens to use new nipple waterer?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Guavacoop, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Guavacoop

    Guavacoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2007
    I followed the directions people gave here on how to set up a nipple waterer with a bucket. The nipple works fine, but my hens won't use it! I've showed it to them repeatedly, taking their little beaks and making the water come out so they can taste it. I've deprived them of water all day and then showed it to them this way -- still no luck. I'm attaching a photo of my set up.

    I have 4 7-month-old hens. The nipple is about 12" off the ground-- about chicken head height. The nipple itself is very small -- about an inch sticks out below the bucket -- did I get the wrong one? It is red and silver and should catch their eye but it
    doesn't. Any ideas? I've got a dollar reward offered to my kids but so far no success...

    Thanks,
    Guavacoop


    [​IMG]
     
  2. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    Have patience! A chicken will not deprive its self of water if it is available and if that one nipple you have in the bucket is all that is available they will drink out of it when they get thirsty! If there is a mud puddle available they will drink out of that. If there is a small pan of water they will go there.

    Once you have shown them the nipple waterer and they know that water comes out when they touch it you have to remove all other sources of water available to them. When they get thirsty they will peck on the nipple and get a drink, before to long all of them will be drinking out of the nipples.

    The only thing I see that you may do differently is lower the bucket just a little and maybe put another nipple or two in it. 3 nipples per 5 gal bucket is about what most people do.

    Rule #1 -- Remove all other sources of water!
    Rule #2 -- Be patient and wait a day or so.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Guavacoop

    Guavacoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the response. The chickens have been without their usual waterer (just the nipple one) all day today and I put them to bed without the usual waterer. I don't see them using the nipple. How long should I keep this up without endangering them??? I'm worried!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  4. pegm

    pegm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2013
    Northern California
    I had to take my reds and hold their beaks up to the nipple for 2-3 minutes each with the water constantly running out until they drank, then they finally got the idea. If you put them up thirsty tonight, bet if you do this in the morning, they will drink. Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    Do the birds have free access to the nipple waterer during all daylight hours? Just because you haven't seen them use it doesn't mean they haven't been. Watch the water level in the bucket, with 4 hens using it the water should be dropping about a quart or so a day.

    Chickens will not go thirsty if there is water available and many many many people have nothing but nipple waterers in their coops or runs. Instead of watching your birds to see if their drinking tomorrow spend an hour or so searching for YouTube videos about chicken waterers and watch what some other people are doing and how easy it is to get the birds to use the nipple waterers and cup waterers as well.

    Just as a chicken will not starve if food is available they will not let themselves go thirsty if water is available. In both cases they will always use what they are used to or familiar with first and when the time comes they will switch to what ever is currently available.

    Stop worrying, they will drink!
     
  6. Guavacoop

    Guavacoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2007
    I have put their beaks under there with the water coming down many times. The water level is not going down. I'll try in the morning.
    Thanks!
     
  7. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    Look at these pictures------

    Kind of hard to see
    2 month old Golden Comet drinking from nipple, she is on the back side of the nipple
    [​IMG]
    Cut off coffee cans to catch drips, changed to cups to eliminate drips.

    4 month old Comet drinking from horizontal nipple.
    [​IMG]


    A bunch of 6 week old Rhode Island Whites about to take their first drink from a cup
    [​IMG]

    These things work, you just got to let it happen!
     
  8. Kadjain

    Kadjain Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you can make something temporary to keep it dripping slightly they will figure it out. That's how I trained my roosters to use the ones in the pens. I doubt it necessary though, the one made to use for my free range flock was being used the first day. They will figure it out
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  9. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will figure it out, it may take a day or two. I doubt any chicken has died of thirst from not figuring out how to use a water nipple.
     
  10. Guavacoop

    Guavacoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, we've now had 2 days and one night without the old waterer. The nipple waterer is still full. When I let the chickens out of their run this afternoon they ran for the plants that had been watered to drink the droplets off the leaves, so clearly they are very thirsty. I really don't want them to drop dead from dehydration but several people here are telling me they won't. I keep showiing them the nipple and letting them drink when I touch it. But after a few seconds they fight me to get away and don't want to be held there anymore... Should I keep up this up overnight again? The chickens have access to the nipple all day and night. Could there be something wrong about my set up (see picture above)? Could my chickens just be denser than most?

    Any new advice?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

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