Nipple Waterers VS Pail of water.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KenOmatic, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. KenOmatic

    KenOmatic Out Of The Brooder

    34
    1
    24
    Apr 5, 2012
    Houston, Texas
    I just made a gravity feed nipple watering system for my chickens. I had been using small waterers and buckets. The chickens seemed to love it, there is plenty of cool fresh water at all times. It has taken a lot of the work out of raising them.
    The problem is when I let them out of the pen in the afternoon they head for the water bucket and drink like they were dying of thirst. I haven't noticed a drop in egg laying or any signs of distress,
    Are they just getting by on the nipples or is just the nature of chickens to want what they don't have?
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Grass is greener on the other side.

    When I ran multiple coops, the flocks in each would raid each others feed in each others coop despite being the same feed.[​IMG]

    They also drank mud puddle water created after cleaning water dishes....

    As long as they are indeed using the nipple water system, I would not worry.
     
  3. freshfish

    freshfish Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    41
    Jun 7, 2011
    South of San Antonio
    I had an issue with clogged nipples :) I have two waterers and noticed one going down quicker that the other....something had clogged one of them and after a good cleaning it started working again.

    John
     
  4. KenOmatic

    KenOmatic Out Of The Brooder

    34
    1
    24
    Apr 5, 2012
    Houston, Texas
    They definitely are using the nipples. I have also noticed mine do the same thing with the feed raiding. I'm going to chalk it up as the water is sweeter on the other side.

    I haven't had any issues with clogging yet. I am concerned though because I'm using unfiltered well water. If one of my nipples get stuck open, the whole tank drains.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    The same reason my dog will drink out of the nastiest mud puddle available when I've just given him clean water to drink...he will actually bypass the clean water to GET to the mud puddle. I think it's probably in their nature to go to a more "natural" place of water...something they would find or do in nature as opposed to what we provide. My chickens will drink from a puddle the same as the dog, when fresh sparkling water is within beak's reach.
     
  6. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,314
    43
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Hehe, we had the same issue/concern when we switched to a nipple watering system. Despite seeing them all readily drink from the nipples, as soon as we'd let them out to free range, they'd all run to the nearest mud puddle, stagnant pool, or wet looking anything like they'd be left in the middle of a desert for the past week.

    Did some research, talked to people, and really, chickens are just nuts. [​IMG] If there's no drop in egg production, no other signs of illness or distress, and they're using the nipple water, they're fine. They're just drawn to any standing water by instinct as it's the only sources they'd find if they were still roaming the jungles of Asia. Keep in mind that this means that if you keep a nipple water and a bucket/font in their coop run and let them choose what to drink from, they'll ALWAYS choose the bucket/font. That doesn't mean that they don't get enough water with the nipples, it just means that their programming is still in tact after all of these years. [​IMG]

    You just can't beat the cleanliness of a nipple watering system, though, so we've stuck with it and all of our birds are just fine. We combat their tendency to drink from the nastiest standing water in the yard by putting a bucket of clean water right outside their run door before we let them out to free range. They come running out, they drink from the bucket a bit and then they go about their day without consuming muck. All is well. [​IMG]
     
  7. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

    926
    51
    148
    May 26, 2011
    Central Florida
    Couple of things to consider:

    Is the water in the nipple waterer fresher and from the house supply coming from municiple source? It may have more chlorine than water that has been outside in the open and exposed to light which allows the chlorine to evaporate out.

    Could be a temperature difference: Is the nipple source water exposed in the sun at any point? It may get hotter than the deep water in a bucket. Or if it is cold where you are, the nipple water may be colder and the bucket water warmer.

    If the system is new, the chemicals from glue or plastic might still be getting into the water, especially as chickens dont drink so much as to keep the water from standing in the plastic for a while. New plastics offgas significantly and do so more when heated. If you have pvc piping or garden hose, it could be adding a very strong taste. Even new water pitchers of plastic have a discernable plastic odor, and humans have the weakest sense of smell in most of the animal kingdom...imagine how that must smell to an animal with a far superior sense of smell! Probably like a trip to the dump does to us :p

    If you have an auto feed waterer, try flushing it out and catch the first couple of cups of water...smell it, check the temp, or even taste it like you're doing a wine tasting and make sure nothing funky is going on.

    Additionally, if you let them out in the morning and put them in at dusk, it could be that they just dont eat or drink much at night, and so are thirsty when you let them out.

    I only have three 6 week olds so I use the one quart nipple waterer. They dont drink much at night and I move the container out of the coop when I open it up in the am. They do spend a lot of time drinking in the first half hour out. Together they only seem to drink about a cup and a half a day, so you actually might have water standingfor a while in your system if it is an auto fed waterer.

    Of course, it could just be the draw of novelty or that competetive chicken nature...
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    It is for mine...they are all on well water, no chlorine added. They have a nipple waterer in the coop and one outside the coop, so no unnatural thirst from deprivation all night going on there...they simply love puddle water. Nature's fountain!
     
  9. curiositykt

    curiositykt Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    3
    93
    Apr 4, 2012
    Marlborough MA
    My cat has a very expensive awesome fountain waterer - his favorite watering source - the bathtub after I get out of the shower.
     
  10. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,314
    43
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Our nipple waterer is several months old and was put together with pipe tape and bolts (no glue, caulk, etc.). Our water is well water that we do not treat with anything. We replace the water in our waterer (5-gallons) every other day and scrub it down with vinegar every time we do so. They'll still go for any quantity/quality of pooled water. They are indiscriminate puddle birds. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by