Nipple watering

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Lorraine Perth, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Lorraine Perth

    Lorraine Perth Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 21, 2014
    Perth Western Australia
    I am about to change my hens over to a nipple watering system. How do you train them to use it and do you need to leave their usual water bowl out while they are learning?
  2. roostereggs

    roostereggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2013
    I have been teaching my 6 week olds for the past week in the brooder. They picked it up within 20 minutes. I am leaving the bowl of water out and they are still emptying that daily. Can't guarantee that all 18 know how to use it, so I keep it out for now.
  3. ThomasMcD

    ThomasMcD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 3, 2013
    I ordered i 30 watering nipples, and they didn't get the hang of it. Its been a few months since then. When it gets warm out, ill try it again.
  4. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    You can always try the drinker cups. They work much like the nipples but leave a little pool of water in the cup that chickens can see and drink.

    2 people like this.
  5. ourFRUGALfarm

    ourFRUGALfarm New Egg

    Jan 27, 2014
    It takes a lot of patience and attention on them to make sure none are dehydrating. It really is good to start them young. I haven't had much luck with training adult birds compared to the young ones. The cups are nice and helps them understand that the nipple equals water. You just have to keep them clean as the birds will at times get the cups filled with debris. Good luck I am sure you will get them trained!
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    The cups looks great, but won't work in our climate...too cold in winter.

    For our chicks, they all had the nipple waterer figured out within 2 hours. I started them on the nipples around 2-3 weeks of age, though I'm sure you could start sooner. The first chick figured it out in under 15 minutes and the others followed in less than 2 hours. I removed all other sources of water. Thirst drove their desire to find water. If you leave them an easier/known source, they will likely ignore the nipples.

    For our grown birds, it took a bit longer. When I first hung the nipple bucket, they pretty much ignored it for the first couple hours. Then when one of the chickens was near it, I flicked one of the nipples in front of her and I saw that she saw the water drip from it. I did this several times and each time it garnered more interest from this bird, she kept going to where the water was dripping onto the ground litter. This was after a couple hours, so I know she was thirsty (it was a warm day 85F or so). I set up a video camera aimed at the bucket and left for 3 hours while it recorded. When I reviewed the video, the first bird to figure out the nipples was the one I had shown it to and she figured it out about 30 minutes after that. Within a few hours, most of the birds had figured it out. They seem to learn from watching the others. There was a couple birds that I hadn't yet seen using the nipples, but that doesn't mean that hadn't figured it out. They acted and appeared sluggishness or signs of dehydration. I had removed other sources of water except for the small pond that was about 150 yards away. They usually only drank from the pond in the morning, so for two mornings in a row, I kept them shut in the coop/run with the nipple bucket as their only option for water until after noon. I verified all but one on the first day of the shut-in and the last one on the second day. To summarize what I did:

    day 1: hung the bucket, flicked a nipple in front of a bird, let them free range, verified most birds use the nipples
    day 2: shut them in for half the day, verified all but one bird using the nipples
    day 3: same as day 2 and verified the last bird
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  7. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2013
    You have to remove all other sources of water or they won't use the nipples.

    Once all other sources are gone then they will use the nipples. You need to show one or two chickens how they work, flick the nipples so that water drips and make sure that they see you. Watch for them to use the nipples, and then the other chickens will learn from them.

    Good luck! Once you go to a nipple waterer you will never go back to the dirty old dish!
    3 people like this.
  8. Lorraine Perth

    Lorraine Perth Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 21, 2014
    Perth Western Australia
    Thanks for the great suggestions, I removed their other sources of water 2 hours ago and they all have used the nipples! So there you go easy!
  9. chad-o

    chad-o Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2013
    According to Solway Feeders there is no trick to training them to use nipples. Remove all other sources of water they learn very quickly. You might think they are not getting enough water because the water level does not drop as much. That is because there is less wasted water.
  10. roostereggs

    roostereggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2013
    OK, so I hung a 5 gal waterer with 4 nipples a week ago for 18 6-wk-olds. I was filling a quart bowl once daily before, but noticed I am filling it twice daily since hanging the nipples and they empty it faster. The nipples are all working and checked twice daily. All of them know how to use it.

    However, when I fill the bowl, they all run over for water and start gulping larger amounts than they seem to get from the nipples. I am worried they aren't getting enough from the nipples...?

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