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Vertical (gravity) vs. horizontal (spring loaded) watering nipples

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pdirt, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I'd love to hear more from others who have used both systems and have a climate that freezes regularly. Some questions I have:

    The horizontal ones are spring loaded. Do the springs wear out (and how long have you been using them)? Do you think the spring is strong enough to cause undue stress on the birds' neck over time? I read that they don't leak. My vertical ones also don't leak but the birds do let a fair amount of water drip as they are drinking. So do your birds leak/drip any water as they drink from horizontal nipples? It looks like they have a very tiny cup for the bird to drink from. I did not realize how much water my birds were dripping until it got to freezing weather here. I now have a mound of ice nearly a foot tall under the bucket and it's only mid December. It is very cold and dry here, 0-20F and 20% humidity, so they have been drinking quite a bit of water. have 12 birds using two nipples on one bucket. I might just find a lid or something to catch most of the ice that I can remove and defrost occasionally but am curious if the horizontal nipples might just be a better solution altogether.

    Have any of you switched BACK to the vertical nipples after trying the horizontal ones and if so, why?

    As for the neck stress on the birds, I'm sure any nipple system going to cause some small amount. It can't be natural for birds to have to crane their neck to use the vertical ones nor to have to depress the spring loaded thing on the horizontal ones. Just curious if anyone notices a difference in their birds between the two styles of nipples. I see pics of chicks using the horizontal ones so the spring can't be all that strong. FYI, I haven't noticed any issues or neck stress in our birds so far using the vertical nipples but we've only been using them for 7 months.

    Thanks for everyone's two cents on the matter!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  2. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    The horizontal nipples make a lot less mess than the vertical ones and they don't necessarily drink out of the little cup on the nipple. The birds generally peck at the nipple and drink up what ever comes out. I've had mine since last spring and haven't had any problems with them so far. I don't believe it causes the birds any extra stress pecking at the nipples, they just want a drink and will get it wherever it is available.

    I have horizontal nipples in my main coop and I also have a smaller system in my brooder that 2 week old birds learned to drink out of. I had one nipple get some trash in it and it wouldn't close but it only took about a minute to take it out and clean it and then reinstall it. Where I live it doesn't get real cold very often so I'm not good to ask about how to keep them from freezing.


    I don't have a picture of the one in the brooder, my camera broke.
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Thanks, LoneOak, for sharing your experience. They do look worth trying. We have some silkies as well as more normal sized birds and if I make the waterer short enough for the silkies, I think it's not the ideal height for the larger girls, at least with the vertical nipples. The horizontal ones would solve that problem as well as it sounds like their dripping issue.
  4. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2012
    Boise, ID
    I didn't even know about the horizontal ones! Very cool. I have the horizontal ones on a heated bucket for the winter, but the chickens by far prefer the regular gravity fed waterer that I leave in the run during warmer weather. I like the chicken nipples because the bucket doesn't get filled with poop and dirt like the normal waterers, but I don't like that there does appear to be a lot of leakage and it turns into a chicken sized ice rink under the water bucket in the winter. I'll have to look into the horizontal ones. Have you heard of a way to heat those?
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA

    From what I've read, if you heat the bucket (assuming the h-nipples are installed directly into the bucket) with something like one of the deicer devices, that should be enough. It wasn't for the vertical ones (had to I install a fish tank heatr instead) when the temps got to 0F here. The horizontal ones apparently do not store water inside the nipple like the vertical ones do, at least that is what I've read about them.

    Re th solution I've come up with for the pile of ice below the waterer is to occasionally pry it up with a heavy duty garden fork, like a pitch fork, but the tines are much stronger. It was easy to do because our run has about 15" of leaves, grass clippings and wood shavings on the ground.

    Yes, thanks..nearly 4 years use is a good test period, I'd say! Good to know. I am aware of rich386 selling the horizontal nipples and some of my questions have been answered by his posts. But I also wanted to hear from more folks who had simply used them and were not selling anything, so thank you. If I do decide upon trying the horizontal nipples, will probably buy from Rich386.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  6. adacombe

    adacombe Out Of The Brooder

    The horizontal nipples are far superior for resistance to freezing, I switched from the gravity ones because they were freezing even with 2 heat tapes on my pvc pipe system. I haven't had an issue with the horizontal one's freezing at all with the use of a heat tape, and I am in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Look up our weather from December to February here and you'll be impressed. -30'C to -40'C. (-40'F) Rich is also a very helpful guy if you have any other questions.
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Ordered some horizontal nipples from Rich386. I'm hoping I can ditch the overheating aquarium heater and go back to the cooler stock tank deicer. I hate to use more electricity than necessary. Will update as to whether this will work, though I'm not sure it will get to below zero again this winter.
  8. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2007
    You'll be happy with them! The buckets in my coops with the horizontal nipples never freeze even when it gets well below zero.

    The horizontal nipples make my life as a poultry mama so much easier. I use plastic brooder totes for my hatches until they are bigger and they then go into grow-out brooders. I have small bottles for the little ones and larger bottles & bucket for my breeders. Keeping the bedding dry is essential for chick health and with this system the bedding lasts so much longer because it stays DRY. I've used the vertical nipples, fount drinkers, etc. Once I switched to these there is no going back to the old way for me. Yes.....I sell them so I'm going to say good things about them, but seriously, if you try them you'll be a believer too. You can get the horizontal nipples from two different people on eBay or All'Bout Chickens for a DIY project with only a small investment.
  9. adacombe

    adacombe Out Of The Brooder

    You could always wrap a heat tape around your pipe or around the base of your bucket, they use very little electricity and if your temps don't stay consistently below zero you'll be fine.
  10. chad-o

    chad-o Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2013
    My horizontal nipples have been installed for 3 1/2 years no springs have worn out yet. No stress of any type, Chickens are always going to waste water the horizontal nipple keep that to a minimum. Since only the back tip of the valve is in the water and the nipple itself has none. They are less likely to freeze. The other thing I have had vertical nipples freeze open. That can't happen with horizontal nipples.

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