Watering solutions for hoop house

TheBajan

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
332
1,051
216
Davisburg, Michigan
We are building some movable hoop coops to pasture our flocks. In the main coop we have always used normal watering systems that you fill and it flows out the bottom to fill the rim. In the hoop coops I am considering using the horizontal nipples attached to PVC pipe that well be gravity fed from a five gallon bucket. How many nipples do I need (nipples per population) and what should the spacing be between nipples? Each coop will house 10-12 chickens.


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U_Stormcrow

Crowing
Jun 7, 2020
2,098
4,706
326
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I use chicken watering cups attached to 3/4" PVC, fed by a 275 gallon water tote. Obviously not portable, but the consistent recommend has been 1 cup per 5 birds, maximum - and that they aren't suitable for larger birds (like my ducks, for whom I use an automatic dog watering bowl, which could also be fed from a 5 gal bucket.)

In a hoop house of 10-12, I'd go three watering cups, and be aware that the birds will perch on the pvc feeder pipe, so be sure you have a way to support it if you go that route. If attaching multiple cups straight to the bucket (I'd go this route, 3 cups at 90 degrees to one another - left, center, right, none in the "back"), and have something to set the bucket on to raise it off the ground some. Target height (again, according to the mfg of my cups) was about 6" off the ground. If you hoop coops are semi stationary, I'd set the bucket on an upturned half cmu - the hollow core concrete blocks about 8" on a side you can buy at the big box for around $2-3/block. Then I'd surround that with a bag of river rocks, not pea gravel, so the chicks don't stand in the water they will inevitably splash, to reduce mess when a leak eventually develops, and to hit your 6" target height. Those are $5 a bag, you will probably want two, they are only half a cu ft each.

Hope that helps!
 

TheBajan

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
332
1,051
216
Davisburg, Michigan
I use chicken watering cups attached to 3/4" PVC, fed by a 275 gallon water tote. Obviously not portable, but the consistent recommend has been 1 cup per 5 birds, maximum - and that they aren't suitable for larger birds (like my ducks, for whom I use an automatic dog watering bowl, which could also be fed from a 5 gal bucket.)

In a hoop house of 10-12, I'd go three watering cups, and be aware that the birds will perch on the pvc feeder pipe, so be sure you have a way to support it if you go that route. If attaching multiple cups straight to the bucket (I'd go this route, 3 cups at 90 degrees to one another - left, center, right, none in the "back"), and have something to set the bucket on to raise it off the ground some. Target height (again, according to the mfg of my cups) was about 6" off the ground. If you hoop coops are semi stationary, I'd set the bucket on an upturned half cmu - the hollow core concrete blocks about 8" on a side you can buy at the big box for around $2-3/block. Then I'd surround that with a bag of river rocks, not pea gravel, so the chicks don't stand in the water they will inevitably splash, to reduce mess when a leak eventually develops, and to hit your 6" target height. Those are $5 a bag, you will probably want two, they are only half a cu ft each.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for the feedback. Do these tend to leak a lot? I was under the impression that they do not. These hoop coops will be moved every couple of days to keep the grass growing so putting down river rock isn't going to work in my situation. My plan is to draw water from a larger reservoir (5 gal bucket) that stays with the coop and gets refilled as needed. For the feed I'm be building J feeding tubes. It's worked very well for us in our main coop. Is there a reason you would go with the five gal bucket rather than the PVC pipe? Thanks for pointing out the fact that they will perch on it. I hadn't thought of that. Of course, they perch on the 5 gal buckets too so I'm not sure how to discourage that either. I will keep it in mind as I plan out the design.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crowing
Jun 7, 2020
2,098
4,706
326
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Alot? No. and my cups have a slightly different design than yours - they were intended to be screwed right in to a hole the correct diameter, using a little rubber o-ring as sealing surface. There is no nut on the back side of the threads, like you might see in a bulkhead.

Periodically, I have to give my cups a 90 degree twist, so I can get dirt, etc out of the bottom of them, and sometimes I'll get a slow drip I don't notice at first - or one of the chicks will stand on it, and do the same. Twist it back and forth once to ensure there is no dirt on the ring, and things seat back just fine, no leaks. But because the design is "twist in", the birds standing on them can cause slow drips.

Because you want it portable, and because you don't need a lot of cups, attaching them directly to the 5 gallon bucket simply removes potential points of mechanical failure, and makes it easier to transport.

I don't discourage mine from perching - it would be pointless, though (as mentioned above) the y do sometimes step on a cup along the way. Put the lid on top of the bucket, then even when they perch, it won't be a problem for water quality - though you may need to hose it off occasionally.

I use J feeders (3) in my coop too. Looking at one of 32 gallon garbage can feeder designs for winter, but if I kept it full now, my lazy birds would never free range. I swear if I set food and water next to one another, my Cornish would flop down in the middle and grow like watermelons. So would the Pekins.
 

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