Nipple Feeders-Do they work?

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
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Belding, MI
I tried the vertical nipples. The chickens peck at them, see the water drop fall, and look for it on the dirt. Funny, but ineffective. When it was in the brooder, it made a wet mess. Yes, they could drink from it, but I'm not going to use it inside the coop (ever) or out in the run when it gets cold.

The horizontal one with the yellow nipple and the cup... I'm giving that one a C-/D+. Most of the time there was dirt/shavings in the cup. I'd clean the cup out, tap the nipple to get the cup half full of water. Birds would come and drink. An hour later, the cup would be nearly empty and have dirt again. I had the waterer hanging about 6 inches off the ground, and a bungee cord keeping it attached to the fence.

I haven't tried the other horizontal style nipple. I'd really like to know what others think of it. I want to have water in the coop when it gets to freezing and below, ie, soon. But I don't want something that makes a wet mess inside.
 

One Lucky Momma

Chicken Kisser
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
496
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Madison Co, NC
We have both types and have decent success with each of them.

Vertical nipples we had first, three in the bottom of a 5 gal pail. Our girls caught on quickly as chicks when they moved to the coop. With verticals, if you're working with growing birds you have to be mindful of raising the waterer periodically so they can continue to use it without having to stand on their heads. I envision strangling or loosing most of the water if it’s not at the right height, which I found to be higher than I expected. What I don’t like about them is that their location in the bottom of the bucket makes it tricky to set the bucket down to fill it - any pressure on the pins activates the water flow. There are all kinds of workarounds but I’m the water girl and I found futsing with a 5 gal bucket of water that I couldn’t set on the ground to be a little frustrating. Lack of experience on our part🙄

Horizontals make more sense where the application is at a fixed height. I made a smaller waterer for inside the coop with two horizontal nipples and a large Rubbermaid container. The birds come into the coop just to get water when it’s available in lots of places, so it seems they like it. I come away from my observations feeling they have to work harder for the water, more like biting the pin rather than simply jiggling it, but again, they don’t seem to mind.

There are complaints about leakage in both types. I think careful installation, which was pretty simple, is key to preventing any leakage. We don’t have a problem with it now, though one horizontal required a minor adjustment early on.

We chose to stay away from the cup design due to complaints about their collecting trash.

Ironically, I had a two gal double wall galvanized waterer sitting in the “time-out” pen. Once they found that it became everybody’s favorite waterer. Go figure.
 
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Malkaris

Chirping
Sep 20, 2020
51
102
70
I tried two types: vertical nipples and little red cups with the yellow thing in the middle, and both gave me troubles:
- The vertical nipples were dripping water even when they were not used and made a mess on the wood shavings.
- The red cups had the opposite issue: they were too hard to press by the chickens so they weren't able to drink, and they stop producing eggs for weeks because of that.

I live in the north of Norway, and I mainly need water inside the coop when closed because outside they find puddles with water everywhere and stay inside the coop all the time during the cold winter. I'm still trying to find a better alternative to give them clean water easier because whenever they don't get good water, they either stop producing eggs or get sick.
I'll be doing some experimentation this winter too. Someone pointed out that there's a reason my mother used yogurt containers multiple times per day in the winter but if I can find an easier way...

I bought rubber bowls because they're easy to break the ice out of apparently and I may invest in a heated nipple waterer. Maybe I can try it and return it if it's terrible.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
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HN's are the way to go!!
I don't use anything else except for open waterers for electrolytes during heat waves.


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,
once they all got the hang of it.

-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.
 

JDonn127

Chirping
Jun 25, 2020
67
77
71
Bucks County Pa
I just today switched waterer to a 2 gal bucket with horizontal nipples.... to my surprise they started pecking at the nipples immediately after i showed them using my finger.... I’m pretty sure they were drinking.... now i just need to know the best way to keep from freezing this winter
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,888
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SW Michigan
My Coop
I just today switched waterer to a 2 gal bucket with horizontal nipples.... to my surprise they started pecking at the nipples immediately after i showed them using my finger.... I’m pretty sure they were drinking.... now i just need to know the best way to keep from freezing this winter
I, and some others, use an aquarium heater:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples.67256/

@blackdog043 ,and others, use a trough/stock tank heater:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...ock-tank-deicer-and-horizontal-nipples.74609/
 

4yearsofchickens

Songster
Sep 22, 2020
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South Central Pennsylvania
What I don’t like about them is that their location in the bottom of the bucket makes it tricky to set the bucket down to fill it - any pressure on the pins activates the water flow. There are all kinds of workarounds but I’m the water girl and I found futsing with a 5 gal bucket of water that I couldn’t set on the ground to be a little frustrating. Lack of experience on our part🙄

There are complaints about leakage in both types. I think careful installation, which was pretty simple, is key to preventing any leakage.
We also have nipples in the bottom of a bucket as the only source of water. Before I had to take out a waterer every morning...it was annoying.

I leave the bucket hanging up and fill it with another 3 gallon bucket- that water lasts about five days. I have a lid on it and it is in the coop and the water never seems to get "stale" or grungy looking. I do clean out the bucket about every month when I clean the coop. I have had no problems there.

It will leave some water on the floor from when they are drinking but it is SO much less than when I had the flip-over gravity fed waterers.
Hopefully you can decide on something you like! If you want to see how I set it up for the winter here is this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/what-is-the-best-heated-water-bowl.1415269/post-23287311
 

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