Watering system with 55 gallon rain water barrels

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pond, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. pond

    pond Chirping

    Sep 18, 2013

    I'm trying to put together a watering system for my chickens. It will comprise of four 55 gallon barrels and either watering nipples or watering cups (unless someone has a better idea). I'm looking at the nipples at
    and am wondering if the water pressure from 4 barrels will be too much for them. Would anybody have experience with such systems and could comment on this? The watering cups I found are at http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/120929520586?lpid=82 and the same question about pressure applies.

    Regarding the nipples it seems they expect a flat surface to be screwed into. I'm planning to screw them directly into a round pvc pipe (about 3/4 inch diameter). Is that going to work or will they leak? Here is what I found on another web site

    Screw directly into square PVC pipe, or use reducing tees with thread sealing tape for round PVC pipe.

    What "reducing tees" are they talking about? Is that for reducing water pressure? I'm lost here.

    Lastly, if anyone can comment on the pros and cons of nipples versus cups, that would be appreciated. The promise of cups is no drips. It looks like they are better suited to attaching to a round PVC pipe. How do they both perform in real life? It looks like most people use nipples.

  2. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Songster

    May 26, 2011
    Central Florida
    How did your system turn out?
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    I would stay away from vertical nipples. They're typically only rated to about 1 psi, which is only about 2 feet of head height. It's going to be really tough to use rain barrels and not exceed that. Spring loaded nipples are usually rated to about 8psi.

    Also, the number of barrels really doesn't matter - it's head height that does (the difference in height between the top of the water and the nipples)
  4. cowboyhunt

    cowboyhunt In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2014
    Bryson city, nc
    I have this type system but with only 1 55gal barrel. It works but I can only fill the barrel about a quarter the way up or it is to much pressure. It doesn't leak but when birds use it it sprays water but. I use tubing coming from the barrel to a 6ft pvc pipe. Itis important to keep it as level as possible if it has to much drop it adds to the pressure. I use standard 3/4 sch 40 pvc. Drill 11/32 hole screw them right in no trouble. The reducing tee is a 1/2x1/2x1/8mpt it uses standard 1/2 pvc and the nipple threads right in. They are about $1 each I think. They would work great i think but after I tried the 3/4 pvc I decided no need.I also have a similar system for my quail but use a 5 gallon bucket.and one on a chicken tractor with 5 gal bucket.I use nipples alot from single 1/2 gal jugs in the brooders on up to the bigger one. I have tried several different options.I always get mine from Amazon.com. you are welcome to pm me and I can help you more if you like
  5. Cantonmentchickenmama

    Cantonmentchickenmama In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2011
    Cantonment, florida
    I use an automatic dog waterer that connects to a water hose. I clean the dish out twice to three times a day, but I love knowing that there is a constant flow of water in my coop.
  6. pond

    pond Chirping

    Sep 18, 2013
    Hi all

    I wanted to post a follow up with how the system works so far. Here is how it looks:


    I have 4 barrels, 55 gallon each, daisy chained at the bottom. We have not had enough rain to fill the barrels completely yet. I do not have an easy way to tell how much water they are holding right now, but my guess is that they are 1/3 full or so (though it is raining finally again). I have not had issues with this system leaking so far, apart from one incident. I thought it was frost that cracked connection of one of the cups. Turned out to be a little rock in there (deposited by one of the chickens), keeping the yellow "tongue" open and water flowing.

    So far I'm happy with this system, though I made a couple of mistakes:

    1. Not enough cups for my chickens (I have about 20). That's easy to fix extending the pipe.
    2. No shut off valve before the cups. Since I used "shark bite" connectors (elbows), I can fix it quite easily once the barrels are empty.
    3. Still need to add an overflow for the barrels, though with the current draught, it's not a priority... :-(

    Thank you all for your comments!

  7. LilyBird

    LilyBird In the Brooder

    May 20, 2015
    Ontario Canada
    Lidia, how do you like the cups? Do they need to be cleaned out often? I'm wanting to make a rain barrel water system for my birds as well and I'm undecided if the cups or nipples would work better.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: