Not sure my nipple watering system is working well...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 5Leepy!, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Hi everyone,

    I built a watering system using a 5 Gal bucket, 3/4" PVC piping and nipples. Took me a while to fine tune it so it wasn't leaking anywhere but now it's up and seems to be working perfectly. Problem is that my hens don't seem to get enough water out of it. They peck at a nipple a few times and then stand back and look at it. Then move to another nipple and do the same thing. It's almost like they're not getting water out of it or not enough to satisfy them. I checked and they're all working perfectly when I use my finger.

    A little background, these hens came from a home where they used both nipples and a regular waterer so they were already trained on them. They know water is supposed to come from the nipples. Because it's SO HOT here right now (104 today) I've been putting frozen milk jugs in the 5 Gal. Bucket to keep their water cool and in the hotest part of the day I let them free range so they can find the coolest spot they can. In the yard I have 2 large-ish plastic pans out that I keep water in and they like to drink out of them as well as stand in them occassionally. When I let them out of their run late-morning, they RUN for the pans of water as if they're dehydrated and dying of thirst. The nipple system is inside their run and have access to it 24/7. When I put them back in their run close to their bedtime, I watch them do the dissatisfied pecking at the nipples.

    Not sure if I'm over analyzing or not but I can't help but think the system isn't working well enough for the amount of water they need. Any and all feedback is appreciated.

    5Leepy!

    Oh, and you can see the system here... https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=94749-nipple-system
     
  2. babylotzahenz

    babylotzahenz Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2010
    lexington
    I too have this question. I have the nipples and the chicks all use them a lot, but when I put in a fresh waterer, they run right to it and drink. I worry they are not getting enough water from the nipples, even though others swear by them. I would love to get rid of the other waterers, but am afraid to in this hot weather.
     
  3. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    I have both too. The 5 gal. bucket in the run with nipples, and the metal double wall in the coop. Ours drink the same way as yours do from the nipples. Today it was close to 90 and they did not look stressed at all. i did not see them run into the coop to grab a drink, but they did go to the nipples, switch to another one, then hit it again in a minute or two. I believe they are getting enough from the nipples or they would be at it all day or running into the coop for a drink. But it does look like they do not get enough from the nipples from a human perspective. The bird's eye view may be different.

    I have not heard of anyone having chickens die from using the nipples, so I guess that is a vote of confidence for them.
     
  4. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    If your finger makes them work, then they are probably getting water.
    I used them in the past and moved to the waterer cups for that reason, they just like drinking from a pool of water and I did not feel they got enough water from the nipples.
    I have been very happy with waterer cups like these:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2009
    I used a nipple waterer in the past and had the same impression: They can get enough water from them if necessary, but they prefer/enjoy a pan or puddle of water if they have access to it, and would run to it like crazy when I gave them one. I don't know why. I know for me, it is more satisfying to take a bite out of a sandwich than to be fed one crumb at a time. Maybe the chickens feel the same way about nipple waterers vs. pan/puddle water.

    I actually got rid of the nipple waterer for that reason. I felt like I was depriving them of a basic pleasure!
     
  6. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    I think the cups are better. No idea where to get them here in australia (without buying 200!) so I have made a drinker out of 2 bottles so theres a constant shallow pool of water available. As long as it's high it just as clean as the nipples. I think the nipples would be like drinking through a crushed straw, frustrating when you just want a good drink!
    I'd be scared of using the nipples in hot weather too. I think the birds might give up on waiting for drips rather than guzzle as much water as they need to
     
  7. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    www.beaktime.com ships to Austraila as the cups seem to be very popular out there due to the heat.
     
  8. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for all the feedback. Funny, I didn't read anywhere about chickens preferring a pool of water before I built this system. All I remember seeing was glowing reviews. I'll stick with the nipples for a while and see how it goes, they always have their little pans for when they're free-ranging. If they start seeming stressed I might switch to the cups. I just really liked the idea of the water being fresh and clean all the time. I wouldn't want to drink out of the waterer they had before, that's for sure. 5 minutes in the run and it was a mess even though it was raised up. Mostly from shavings, etc... falling from their coop above which is why I wanted an enclosed system.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. gale65

    gale65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    5Leepy! :

    Thanks for all the feedback. Funny, I didn't read anywhere about chickens preferring a pool of water before I built this system. All I remember seeing was glowing reviews. I'll stick with the nipples for a while and see how it goes, they always have their little pans for when they're free-ranging. If they start seeming stressed I might switch to the cups. I just really liked the idea of the water being fresh and clean all the time. I wouldn't want to drink out of the waterer they had before, that's for sure. 5 minutes in the run and it was a mess even though it was raised up. Mostly from shavings, etc... falling from their coop above which is why I wanted an enclosed system.

    Thanks again!

    I'm worried about this too because the nipple system seems like it would be the only one that we wouldn't have to worry about freezing in the winter. I know they have regular heated waterers but I want something less messy.​
     
  10. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    Quote:Thankyou!

    Also in winter couldn't the nipple freeze up so the chook can't make it work anyway? Since they need to push it up to release the water, what if the water behind it was frozen?
     

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