Mama_Chickenfield

In the Brooder
May 29, 2020
9
22
21
Utah
Hi everyone, I’m a new chicken owner in a suburban area, so this may be a dumb question. We have 6 chickens that are 6 months old today! About three days ago we switched out their smaller waterer for a large bucket with nipples that can be heated so it won’t freeze in the winter. We have not seen them use it yet, when we show that water comes out they just drink from the water on the ground. Is it an intuitive skill or do we have to teach them somehow?
Fortunately they get water when we let them out for a few hours from their old smaller waterers, but they’ll need to use this new one for the winter. Any help would be hugely appreciated!
 

Rebecca13

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2020
26
52
47
I'm having the same concerns! I have 6 chicks, 3 weeks old, in a suburban area and I'm new. Are you me? ;)

I have a water bowl for them as well, but they only seem to go to the nipples when I poke at them, then they'll drink the water in the little nipple part or on the ground then go back to what they were doing. I don't want them to dehydrate!
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
999
2,138
173
Belding, MI
When I switched to a nipple waterer, I made sure to "show" them how it worked. I would tap the nipple, get a drop on my finger, and offer it to whoever showed any interest. The other, key, thing is to remove all other waterers. Chickens will get water wherever it is easiest. Open water in a bowl is easier than tapping a nipple.
 

Rebecca13

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2020
26
52
47
Thank you Sally! I've been trying to show them, by either putting their head near it or clicking it for them, but they seem to just run to the clicking and drink the water from the nipple.
We are live streaming them for our family and anyone else curious enough to watch them, I put one of the cameras on the nipple to watch them and they just seem to ignore it:
(top right corner is where the nipple is).
 

Big Doggie

Chirping
Mar 23, 2020
275
314
96
Mass
Thank you Sally! I've been trying to show them, by either putting their head near it or clicking it for them, but they seem to just run to the clicking and drink the water from the nipple.
We are live streaming them for our family and anyone else curious enough to watch them, I put one of the cameras on the nipple to watch them and they just seem to ignore it:
(top right corner is where the nipple is).
I tapped their beaks gently against the metal part of the nipple with a side to side motion. Only took one lesson
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,878
106,175
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
Is it an intuitive skill or do we have to teach them somehow?
Give them time.
I've had all age birds either pick it right up within an hour...and others that take weeks to really figure it out.


Here's my thoughts on 'nipple training'.

First, it's good to know how much water your flock consumes 'normally', I top off water every morning and have marks on the waterers so I know about how much they drink.

Found they drank just as much from the nipples as they did from the open waterer.

-Do not train to nipples during extreme temps when dehydration is more of a risk.

-Show them how with your finger(tho that might just train them to wait for your finger),

and/or manually grab them and push their head/beak onto the trigger(easier with chicks than adults).

-No other water source, best to 'train' during mild weather when dehydration is less of an immediate health risk. I do provide an open waterer late in day to make sure they don't go to roost dehydrated, especially young chicks.

It can take days or weeks to get them fully switched over, just takes observation, consistency, and patience.
 

Rebecca13

In the Brooder
Oct 6, 2020
26
52
47
Yes! They started finally drinking from it on their own. I followed the instructions to remove other water sources. They're inside so there is no fear of dehydration.
We got the new water bucket to keep them from kicking bedding and pooping in the water. They still somehow kicked bedding into the nipple...little stinkers.

Mama_Chickenfield I hope they start drinking as quickly for you!!
 

chicks071123

In the Brooder
May 16, 2020
9
15
18
We too switched out the older smaller waterer for a heated waterer with nipples. I do however have a question about that. We were blessed to have a precious crossbeak in our chicks this year. Any thoughts on if this girl will be able to drink from the nipple waterer?
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,579
23,375
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
We were blessed to have a precious crossbeak in our chicks this year. Any thoughts on if this girl will be able to drink from the nipple waterer?
How severe is the crossbeak? If it's fairly mild it may be more difficult (so you'll want to keep an eye on her), but they can learn to use a nipple waterer.

If it's a more severe case it may be too difficult for her to use a nipple, especially horizontal.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom