Watering a small flock .....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pilgie, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. pilgie

    pilgie In the Brooder

    I have two small plastic waterers (is that the correct word?) for my 5 chicks. The problem I'm having is that they get ridiculously dirty and full of shavings (and worse) really quickly. I've tried elevating them which works somewhat but I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions about watering in a way that will keep the water cleaner. I'm looking for a better system especially as the cold winter weather approaches. Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's a universal problem. Can you get them a little higher? They can be up around their necks -- as long as they can reach over. You can put something like a sheet of plywood under the waterer area to prevent the shavings from getting too close to the water. I do this with young chicks, especially. If they are standing on top of the waterers, you could do something like glue a plastic funnel to the top so they can't stand there. I just set mine on a concrete block and change the water daily. It usually doesn't get very bad at all by the next day.

    You could also look into nipple watering systems if you wish, which I know nothing about; I don't know how readily they freeze up in winter.
  3. MEMama3

    MEMama3 Songster

    May 23, 2013
    Vacation Land; Maine
    I built a frame about 1' bigger than the waterer and covered the frame with 1/4" hardware cloth. I put the waterer on the frame so now the girls have to either stretch or get on the box to drink. The hardware cloth cleans their feet and the bedding/poo/dirt falls through the wire.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You’re right. There are two different things that can get the water dirty. They scratch a lot of trash in it and they poop in it. Another problem you can have is that they can turn it over, usually by perching on it. If they perch on it, they can poop in it.

    There are a lot of different ways to water but like Flockwatcher said, if you elevate the waterer above the bedding in the coop or ground if it is outside, they don’t scratch near as much stuff in it. Depending on what your waterer looks like, you might be able to hang it or you might need something to set it on. Many waterers need to be level so hanging is not always a good option. There is nothing that says the waterer has to be on the ground. You can build a platform a foot or more above the bedding and put your waterer on that as long as they have room to stand around it to drink.

    If they perch on it and poop in it, hang something over the waterer so they can’t do that. Make sure you don’t give them something to perch on hanging over it. I’ve used a plastic gallon milk jug for that, but it’s so light a light breeze just blows it out of the way, so maybe put sand or dirt in it. There are lots of different ways to do that.

    I’ve pretty much come to watering in bowls. In the winter I use those black rubber tubs you can get at Tractor Supply. If you set them in the sun, solar heat helps keep them thawed. If they freeze, just turn them over and stomp the ice out. In the summer I use large white dog food or water bowls if they are in the sun. To help keep from turning them over, I take a piece of plywood and cut a hole in it the size of that bowl. That plywood is big enough so they have a platform around it to stand on. Then I put another piece of plywood about 1-1/2” under that so the bowl can settle into that top one. If I have young chicks in the flock, I put rocks in the bowls so they can walk out if they walk in.

    This photo shows what I do in my brooder. I have a wire bottom so I don’t use bedding, but you can elevate that board to get it well above the bedding. Make sure that board is very level. I use the screws to keep them from knocking the waterer around and bent a heavy wire so it fits over the waterer and hung it so they can’t knock it over. If I had to do it over again, I’d probably cut a hole on a piece of plywood to fit over the top instead of bending that wire. I refill the water at least once a day. That keeps it clean enough.

    There are lots of different ways to do these things. But in general, elevate it, keep them from perching on it, and keep them from knocking it over.
  5. pilgie

    pilgie In the Brooder

    Thanks so much for all these great ideas! I hadn't thought of the perching bit..... The waterer I left in the bottom of the coop today was flipped and empty!!! I will outsmart them yet (I think :))

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