Nipple waterers for ducks


11 Years
Oct 30, 2008
Lake Waccamaw, NC
I have had great success using the Farm-tek nipple waters for chickens, quail, etc.
But can I use them for ducks? I thought I read somewhere that ducks need to be
able to submerge their beaks in water to swallow food.

The baby ducks I am raising now make such a mess that id love to try it if it would
work. Has anyone used nipple waterers for ducks?
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9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
I haven't tried it, but if it's physically possible for them to use one, I was thinking I'd put one in their house just to be water that's available whenever. I don't think I"ll leave feed in with them at night. I think during the day I'll offer a deeper water source at the same time as food, outside of the coop proper so it doesn't get as wet in there. Since this is all strictly theoretical still, I'll be curious what everyone else has to say.


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
I have two ducklings and learned a nifty thing (from this forum) about watering them.

Take a plastic butter container, or a Cool Whip tub container, (empty of course) and cut a semi-circle out of one side of the lid. I used a pint cottage cheese container. The semi-circle is about 1/4 of the whole lid size, large enough for ducklings to put their heads in to drink and babble in it, but not to get INTO the water, or to fling it around all that much.

The lid snaps on tightly, and the water mess is greatly reduced!


Drowning in feathers!
10 Years
Oct 22, 2009
The best thing about plastic tubs with cut out tops for waterers, you can use bigger ones as the ducks get bigger. For really young duckings, you can cut the hole in the side of the tub so they don't have to reach over the top.

I found that filling the tub only halfway helps a lot (assuming it's more than deep enough for them to clear their nares even when half the water is gone). We use large 2 gallon containers and fill them halfway (about a gallon). Two adult runner ducks generally drink/splash about 1/2 gallon per day so I only need to change it daily. If I fill it up all the way, they play with the water by flicking it everywhere...

expect to find random objects in the water including things you'd never expect a duck to be able to move. For some reason ducks love to pick things up and dump them in the water and sometimes fish it out later.


11 Years
May 14, 2008
NE Wisconsin
Ducks do need to be able to submerge their heads in water to clean out their nostrils, and they like to take big mouthfuls of water to help digest their food. You could try using them, but make sure they have a place where they can submerge their heads in water as well.


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
San Francisco Bay Area
I have the same question. My three Cayugas are 5 weeks old, so I am still keeping food and water in their house during the night. Oh, what a mess. Outside in their pen they have a deep water dish and a swimming pool to dunk their heads in during the day. Can they get enough water with the nipple waterers with their food during the night? It seems they like to get a bite of food and then squish water out the sides of their bills to eat it. Half of their water ends up in a pan under a screened platform. At ten weeks, I'm taking the food out at night and plan to have only nipple waterers in their house. Only about 5 more weeks of cleaning up that mess, unless I can switch out to nipple waterers now. I've been watching YouTube videos of ducks using nipple waterers and they seem to be OK; I was just concerned about them choking. They are eating a combination of finely ground duckling starter and some big-girl pellets.


Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
Southern New England
I would also be concerned about choking. See if you can hang in there, after ten weeks or so, you can keep food and water away for eight hours overnight.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Dec 22, 2009
I would also be concerned about choking. See if you can hang in there, after ten weeks or so, you can keep food and water away for eight hours overnight.

I was given a Poultry Nipple system to test out for BYC. It's lovely and makes things much easier in the winter BUT I would never leave them without water deep enough for them to dip their bills in.


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for the feedback Amiga and Kevin!
I may have to leave the food and water in their house at night longer than ten weeks. Since the nights are so long now, they put themselves to bed by 5 pm and then it doesn't get light until after 6 am. That's 13 hours, and the days won't start to get shorter until December 21. More realistically, I may have to hunker down into this cleanup routine until March perhaps. Sigh. But whatever it takes for happy ducks!


7 Years
Nov 15, 2012
ellis kansas
i use 2-five gallon buckets with 3 nipples in them, in my coop for nights then at 7:30 am i let them out of the back room and the next room has another nipple drinker and a bucket that is a 5 gallon with the top 1/3 cut off. filled with water, and that is were there food is as well, they also have 2 swimming pools out side they drink out of most of the time. they run inside eat them back outside to drink do that 3 or 4 time then they are full lol. some of them use the drinkers but mostof the time they don't till night time. i have 14 duck currently, they drink about 3 gallons from 6pm to 7:30am, i have a light that comes on at 530:pm to 6:30 pm and then at 5am to 8am hope that helps
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