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Issues with chicks drinking off nipple

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sudo, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. sudo

    sudo Hatching

    Feb 25, 2017
    Hello all,

    I have recently got some chicks along with the following waterer:


    It appears as though the little chicks are having trouble engaging the nipple and actually getting water out.

    I posted on the above thread but Ive not received a response so I thought Id start a new thread here.

    Here is what I posted:

    I got this with some new chicks yesterday.

    Im concerned that they are not strong enough to engage the spring loaded nipple to release water.

    I check on them about once every 2 hours or so and it seems like they are all gathering around the water cooler. I see them peck at the nipple, but it does not look like they are getting a drink. When I depress the nipple they seem to run over and all get their fill, kicking their head back and drinking away.

    Im completely, 100% new to raising chicks so I really dont know whats going on. I watched the above video of the chicks pecking away and mine look identical. pecking away, but never rearing their head back and drinking.

    Anyone have any advise to share? Im I overly concerned? Thanks in advance for your response.


    This morning we hear the chicks chirping loudly (indicating stress of some sort, we've read). We go down to see them again gathered around the waterer. I then depress the nipple and they all start drinking away.

    I though it might be a good idea to take a shallow dish of water with me when I check on them, but this seemed to confuse them. A few took a drink, but the others just ran over to the nipple watering can.

    Does anyone have any advise? Should we just keep manually pressing it until they can muster the strength to depress it themselves? I like the idea of no drip and I hear that chicks drowning is not uncommon for the standard watering cans.

    Again, thanks all in advance for responding.

  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Songster

    Feb 15, 2017
    I have the same problem. My chicks are two weeks old and do not get water no matter how many times they peck it. I leave a little bowl of water for them in the brooder. They do however drink from the nipple every time I push the pin manually. And the love it they try to push It themselves but just can't do it.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Vertical and horizontal nipples work differently. People raising baby chicks usually use the vertical nipples when the chicks are new. You're right. The spring loaded nipples are harder for tiny babies to get water out of. You might try just offering alternative waterers for the first couple weeks. Or a tiny tub of water with marbles in it under the nipple waterer until the chicks graduate to it on their own.
  4. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    X 2

    The horizontal nipples are better for older chicks. I use them in my grow-out box, where they go around 3 weeks or so.
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    My opinion is I don't think wild chickens go around looking for some nipple to drink off of. I won't use them. Why make it any harder for a baby to adjust to the outside world than it need be? If you look at the commercial layer operations, they have water lines but the water leaks down into a shallow dish from which the birds drink. Nipples are for Guinea Pigs,, Rabbits and such in my opinion. These baby chicks have enough to deal with. They need easy to drink water all the time .
    Chicks hatch from eggs which had a minimum of nutrition left in them. The G.I. tract is hatched in an immature state and undergoes tremendous development in the 1st week of life. The chick also has to adjust to digesting carbohydrates. They also need to have the proper ratios of beneficial flora established in their G.I. tract to make it more difficult for harmful pathogens to get established there. So, throw away those nipples, give them a waterer. Make it easy on the babies. For the first several days give the chicks helpings of Okios Triple Zero Yogurt to help establish those healthy bacteria. Leave it in no longer than 10 minutes so it doesn't sour under the lights.
    Feed your chicks within 6 hours of hatching. This is so they do not use the yolk sac for energy. Biologically, the yolk sac is reserved for nutrition for the development of the G.I. tract and myelination of the muscles. The sooner you feed them and give them the yogurt ,the sooner the chicks have what they need to get that G.I. tract up and running properly That is one of the big secrets of raising healthy chicks.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  6. sudo

    sudo Hatching

    Feb 25, 2017
    Thanks all for your great advise. I love the dish and marble idea. Chicks are well hydrated now.

    @3riverschick - I tend to agree with your thoughts. This is my first go round and everybody was steering me to a nipple feeder to help keep down on moisture.
  7. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

    Sep 2, 2014
    Canton, Ohio
    I agree, I was never a fan of nipple type waterers for newly hatched chicks [​IMG] until their few weeks old. This is what I'd been using as a waterer for baby chicks, I find it more effective and safe (shallow & narrow)


    I replace the water 2x a day wether it's soiled or not.

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