What are your favorite methods to feed and water chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by the_great_snag, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    I see a lot of post in here about the best way to keep chicks' feed and water clean as well as the chicks themselves. I thought it might be a good idea for our more forum members to share what works for them and why.

    The most important thing to me is elevating feeders and waters to the proper height where chicks are unable to kick bedding into them and they are less likely to be able to climb into them. For watering I usually set up a platform above the bedding and then further elevate the waterer above the platform to roughly the back level of my shortest birds.

    Feeders I simply elevate on their legs or on blocks. I'm not a fan of hanging feeders or waterers as I find it annoying to try to refill them.

    My personal preferences for feeding are open troughs with spinners on them to prevent roosting. I like that you can simply pour more feed in them when they get low as well as the large amount of linear space for multiple birds to feed. I find I only need to clean them when they get soiled with too much poop.
    EDITED TO ADD: I do not like the chick feeder troughs with the little individual holes in them. I find that the chicks tend to fight over one hole and they are a pain to refill, since they must be opened up instead of simply refilled in place.

    I prefer traditional fount type waterers. My favorite are galvanized double wall units because they are easy to carry around and quick to wash out and refill with a garden hose. I'm not a fan of messing with plugging the bottom hole so I can fill the top as some founts require. I like to perform all water changes outside the coop where I can avoid the chance of spilling water where the birds are kept.

    I should add that most of my experience has been with flocks of 25 to 50 birds.

    What do the rest of you prefer to use? Please tell us the flock size you are working with when you post your recommendations.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  2. Peeplperson

    Peeplperson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have a much smaller 'flock' - 7 chicks, but the mess from wood shavings in the water was driving me crazy. Makes a soupy mess, and I worried that they couldn't find good drinking water. I've found that judiciously placed paper towel (just in a 4-5" apron around the waterer) has really helped. Raising the waterer about 3 inches has also been a big help. I also place the feeder - the galvanized one with 7 holes on each side- on a sheet of paper towel which is easy to switch out when it gets overly poopy.

    No matter what I've tried, I still need to clean out the waterer and feeder every day, but I feel like they're in a better environment.

    I'd love to hear other suggestions
  3. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Quote:Elevating your feeder and waterer as much as possible so they can still reach them is your best bet to keep clean.

    You may also want to remove the holed top on your feeder. This would allow you to simply pour feed into it when it gets low. If it's elevated enough it should not get that soiled. I am assuming you are talking about a straight trough type feeder and not a round mason jar version??

    Remember it won't hurt them if there is a little poo or bedding in their feed. They eat stuff off the floor of the coop anyway, so don't spend a lot of time throwing out good feed and cleaning it meticulously every day. Dirty water is much more worriesome as it's more of a breeding ground for bacteria and general yuckiness.

    Small wood blocks or bricks work great for elevating feeders.
  4. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    I will try to remember to take pics of my waterer set up tomorrow. It basically consists of a small pallet set on top of the bedding. On top of this I placed an overturned skillet (handle is removed) and then placed the waterer on top of the skillet.

    The pallet is easily low enough for my 3 week olds to climb unto. At that point the water is at just the right level for them to drink. If the pallet gets dirty I can simply scrape off the manure with a shovel, etc...

    My feed trough is set across a pair of 4x4's usually or I simply place it on the pallet with the waterer.
  5. mightieskeeper

    mightieskeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2009
    Clio Michigan
    I have 5 8 week old BO's. I put the water on a stack of wood blocks. They fill there food up with shavings. I use plastic chick waster and a mason style feeder. I need to get a bigger feeder and water, they have out grown. They eat all the feed in one day now.
  6. andreamunroe

    andreamunroe Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    i have a small flock too- just 7 chicks. i have one of those round metal chick feeders with the holes in it. it works pretty well, though it is annoying to fill because the top is hard to get off. i took the top off altogether today to they could scratch in it a bit more, they seem to have fun with that. i'd been noticing, too, that they all seem to go for the same hole when eating together.

    i had a little water dish (i didn't buy a bigger waterer yet because my brooder is quite small), and they did OK with the dish, but would kick shavings/poop into it so quickly, and often they'd walk right through it. so i went out and got the kind of water bottles that rabbits/guinea pigs/etc use, with the spout and little ball bearing. i was worried about how to teach them to use it, but it was so easy- i just heald it in the brooder, and they all got super interested and started pecking at it right away. the first few pecks weren't very effective, but they learned within maybe 5 minutes to hold their little beaks against the ball to get a good drink. it is working out wonderfully for us, and nice to know that the water is much, much cleaner than before. i'm not sure how this will work once they grow up, but for now it is great.
  7. aidenbaby

    aidenbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    I'm going to build one of these http://www.fowlvisions.com/?p=633 for my run. I want the top to come out of the top on my run (it's only about 4 feet) so that I can refill without having to be in the run. I'm trying to think of a way to shelter it a bit for when it snows.

    I'm still looking for a waterer that I can do similar with.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by