Question About Introducing Water Bucket W/Nipples

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Patinas, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first flock of chicks vary between 2-5 weeks old so I have a variety of sizes. A while back, I bought a 2 Gal. water bucket with horizontal nipples.

    My question is, should I introduce it to them now? I am so tired of shavings in the waterers. I currently have two, one large and one smaller to accommodate the sizes of the chicks. I've even raised the waterers on upside down plates but still they get tipped and/or full of shavings.

    If I introduce the bucket should I leave one of the other waterers in the pen until I see that they've figured it out? Should I just take the other waterers out and put in the nipple bucket and make sure they figure it out? Or should I wait until the chicks are bigger?

    Thanks!
     
  2. chickens r life

    chickens r life Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't see why you can't introduce it to them now. The way I introduced it to them was I gently grabbed them and lightly pushed their beak onto the silver part of the nipple until water came out. I did this with only a couple of them and the rest picked up on it pretty quickly. Also, its a shiny so who wouldn't want to play with that!!![​IMG]

    If you decide to only keep the nipples in there, then you should keep a close eye on them until you know they all understand it. If you don't want to keep a super close eye then you should just keep the other water in there just in case.
     
  3. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. The older ones are more curious and are clearly the teachers. I guess I should just put it in there and see what happens. Good point about shiny things!
     
  4. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put the nipple bucket in the coop yesterday morning and left the other waterer in the coop for now. Too busy working on the coop build to watch them but will have time today to watch and see if any of them are using it.
     
  5. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today I had a minor disaster with my nipple bucket. When I put it in there I put it on top of an upside down bowl to keep off the floor. Decided not to hang it until I knew they were using it. Went to check on them this evening and they were all huddled in the furthest corner of the temporary coop. Never seen them do that before! After a closer look they had knocked the nipple bucket over and the top had come off and all that water flowed into the coop. My bad for not double checking that the lid was on tight!

    Took me half an hour to scoop up all the soppy shavings and still had to use a roll of paper towels to get the floor dried up. Got it all back together which made them happy. I then watched them for about half an hour and none of them used the nipple bucket. They are still using the regular waterer.

    Next plan is to put something on the nipples, like a little peanut butter and see if that attracts them to investigate it.

    I've also hung it this time and made sure the lid is tight so if they again knock it off the upside down bowl, it will not tip over and flood them!

    I guess I just have to be patient and more creative on how to get them to figure it out.
     
  6. ~KH~

    ~KH~ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With my two batches of chicks, I just showed them what it was by tapping it with my finger and they'd all get interested in what was going on. Once one of them got the hang of it, the rest followed.
     
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  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    There's another option I used when introducing the concept to hens I was switching over that weren't mine (extended chickensitting). I installed the bucket, left the familiar fount in place for a week. Then, I chose a time I could watch for a long while and removed the fount. After every chicken had demonstrated that she could use it, I considered the transition complete.

    You mentioned fastening the lid on so I'm also going to point out that you don't want an airtight container. If it's sealed, you'll need to add a tiny hole above the waterline to avoid a vacuum forming.
     
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  8. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks debid. I still have not seen them use the nipples so I think I'll try your approach and take the reguar waterer out and just watch them for an hour or two and see if any of them use the nipples. I'm sure once one gets it, the others will follow. Every time I go in the pen I push on the nipples to make sure they are functioning and the water does come out so it's just a matter of getting them to figure it out and use it. I'll keep trying!
     
  9. Patinas

    Patinas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I honestly did not think this would be a big deal getting the chicks to use the nipple bucket, but I was wrong!

    Yesterday, I took out the regular waterer and moved the nipple bucket to where the regular waterer sits. I spent several hours (home sick) watching them to see if they could catch on. I tried sticking broccoli pieces in space around the nipples but all they did was grab the broccoli and run! After about an hour the biggest chicks figured it out and others started trying. I have 21 chicks at the moment and in order to keep track I started writing down which ones seemed to figure it out throughout the day. After about 6 hours, it was getting late in the day and per my tracking, there were still 7 chicks that hadn't tried to use the nipple bucket, or had tried but gave up really easily.

    I was concerned to just leave it there overnight for those that hadn't quite caught on so I did put the regular waterer back in for the night and the chicks that hadn't caught on ran right over and started drinking which confirmed, they hadn't been successful with the nipple bucket. My youngest chicks are now 3 weeks old so they should be able to use it right? The youngest ones tried to use it but it looked like they just weren't pushing against it hard enough to make the water come out. I checked throughout the day to make sure all the nipples were working and they were.

    Anyway, I'll try again today with taking out the regular waterer and see what happens. I just figured that when the bulk of them caught on, the rest would follow but that hasn't been the case so far.

    I really want to use the nipple bucket when I move them to their permanent coop but I have to be sure they all know how to get a drink!
     
  10. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I started my 3-day old chicks on the vertical ones, that's how easy those are. I put the chicks in their brooder tapping beaks on the nipple as I added them and they had their water party started before I even got to the sixth chick. No "just in case" dish required. I don't know if it's being able to see a drip hanging sometimes or having a shiny & red thing at eye level that does it but I think it's somehow more intuitive for them.
     

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