Nipple waterers in the brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rollplainpoultr, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. rollplainpoultr

    rollplainpoultr New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2015
    Brush, Colorado
    I am not new to chickens, however I am new to nipple waterers. I am trying to transition my flock to all nipples, so I was wondering how you trained chicks to use the nipples, and how do you put them in a brooder? pics?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I start them off from day one with vertical nipples until I know for sure that every one of them is getting plenty of water and can trip the mechanism with no issues. Then that waterer gets cleaned out and put away until the next batch and they are switched to horizontal nipples. To "train" them, I clicked the trigger a couple of times. One the chicks came over to see what that was, pecked at it, and got water in return. The other chicks saw her do that and presto, training time over.

    [​IMG]
    Using the vertical nipples in the indoor brooder.

    [​IMG]
    And in their outdoor brooder.

    [​IMG]
    Transition to horizontal waterer in the run was totally uneventful.

    [​IMG]
    This was little Scout, a single chick that had to come in to treat an injury, with the iced tea container and horizontal nipple.
     
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  3. rollplainpoultr

    rollplainpoultr New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2015
    Brush, Colorado
    Thank you! What is the difference between the vertical nipples and horizontal? Why do you use the horizontal when they are older?
     
  4. tenagr

    tenagr New Egg

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    Jan 13, 2014
    I've heard that you can get them to use the nipples with a laser pointer; haven't tried it. I put a five gallon bucket with nipples and a float valve in it in they're coop when I took them out of the brooder and they figured it out pretty quick on their own.
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    In one word, dripping! Vertical nipples drip when they bump their backs against them, get to tussling and knock the hanging waterer, and when they drink the vertical nipples drip a few drops when the chicken backs away. So once they are drinking well out of the vertical nipples out they come!

    Chicks I get in are usually shipped. When they finally get here they are stressed and haven't had water yet. So I take each chick out, put them under the waterer and make sure he/she gets a drink before taking the next one out and doing the same thing. But I want to make absolutely sure each chick is well hydrated and knows exactly where to get more, and that none of them are a little too weak to push the trigger. So I click the trigger a few times until one comes over to investigate, and that's usually all it takes for the rest to follow. Once I'm comfortable with that, then they get switched to horizontal and I've never had a problem with the transition. The chicks have had enough time to learn where water is and how to get it by clicking the little red thing, but not enough time to get so used to that they don't switch well. I usually let them use the vertical for a week before, but lots of people say they put them on the horizontal right away and have no problems. I just want to make sure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  6. rollplainpoultr

    rollplainpoultr New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2015
    Brush, Colorado
    Thank you! One last question, Do you put anything under the verticals while they are in the brooder so the bedding doesn't get wet?
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Nope. The amount of water dripped is far less than the amount they'd dump or walk through with an open waterer. A simple pick up with a spatula and tossing another little handful of dry under it takes care of the damp spot. I'd rather do that than change out the entire brooder two or more times a day! I'm too lazy for that much work! [​IMG] My first batch of chicks had the usual open waterer, heat lamp, and stayed in the house way too long. Now I just do everything the easy way and totally enjoy them instead of stressing about them and their messes.
     
  8. Mely75

    Mely75 New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2015
    I wish I had seen this before I put my open style water tray in my brood house. I've since put in vertical drippers with a small 1/2 gallon water source, but I cant seem to wean them off the open water tray.
    I'm leaving both in for safety factor while I am at work, but I would really like to get away from the mess of the open watering style, any tips for this scenario.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Simple answer? If you know they know how to use the nipple waterer. remove the alternative. It only takes a chick (or chicken) a few minutes to figure out that water comes out when they trip the trigger. If they have a more familiar water source in there, they'll go for that every time instead. But I saw chicks stare at the underside of a leaf intently, and even though I couldn't see what they were staring at, they could....and one zapped that little droplet of water just as it dawned on me! If they can spot a drop of water on the underside of a leaf they can learn to trip the mechanism on a bright red horizontal or vertical nipple.

    I was using the open waterer for my first chicks last year and cleaning constantly. And let's face it - wet litter and chicken poop stinks, I don't care who tries to tell me differently. They were about 3 weeks old and I was over it. I was whining to some of my friends on here and got an education real fast! Done. No weaning them off either. I was over it. Removed the open one, substituted the vertical nipple one, and they caught on right away. Did I worry they weren't getting enough water? Yep, for about 2 hours. But then I started hearing that little "click click" sound with regularity and knew they were hitting it well. So that was it. Now my old open waterer is gone and every chicken water container has nipples. I use a 5 gallon bucket from Lowes and put the horizontal nipples in it. I have a 2 gallon smaller one for the vertical nipples for the chicks. I brood my chicks outdoors in a "cave" with no heat lamp and as much as I'd like to I just can't watch them 24/7. I like not having to check every half hour to make sure their water isn't fouled or dumped. Last year's chicks are now a year and a half old, and this year's chicks are almost 7 months old and they are all doing great.

    If for one minute I thought they weren't getting enough water or that they were dehydrated, I'd be the first to pull out the nipple system and put in an open waterer. (And would someone explain to me why the little spell checker dude hates the word "waterer?" Us chicken folk know that's a word!!) They do use an open pan when they are out in the yard. They share it with the dog. Out there I don't care if the water spills and they aren't kicking litter or pooping in it. And they have no trouble going back to the nipple waterer when they go back into the run.
     
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    In addition to this, I have hard well water, and the water used in the coop is not softened... This seems to cause a big problem with the vertical nipples, they seem to accumulate a little bit of iron and/or calcium deposits on the ball bearing inside and fail to seal up properly in about 1 weeks time requiring them be taken apart and descaled in acid (vinegar) or they drip 24/7... I have not had the same issue with the horizontal nipples, they don't drip at all even with the hard water... And last but not least it's much easier to keep the horizontal nipples from freezing in the winter...

    Right click and select 'Add to dictionary' problem solved ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015

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