Say you decide that you want to buy some day-old chicks from a hatchery or a place like Tractor Supply.  The very first thing you are going to have to figure out is how you are going to keep them in warm environment where you can keep them until they develop enough feathers to weather the environment of a chicken coop.  My solution has been to put them in a large plastic tub with straw or pine shavings on the bottom to absorb their mess.  If you do this, you are going to have to provide them with food and water. 

Tractor Supply sells watering and feeding dishes that are designed to be placed in the bottom of the brooder so that the chicks can get to them.  In the second and third photo you can see the base of a watering base and the base with a jar screwed into it.  The threading of this base matches the threading on a small-mouth Mason jar.  I can tell you that this is not the way you want to go.  If you have pine shaving in the bottom of the brooder, the trough around the base will be filled with shavings within five minutes.  Within a week the chicks will be able to jump up and perch on the top of the jar and aim their precious dropping down into the trough.  You will be cleaning this out every couple of hours. 

This instructable will show you a much better solution.

Step 1: A hanging water bottle with chicken nipple

The solution is to attach a chicken nipple to the bottom of a water bottle and hang it over the brooder.  If you go to Tractor Supply and ask for chicken nipples, they just don't know what you are talking about.  I've even carried one into my local store and showed it to them but they didn't seem to be interested in getting them.

A chicken nipple is small valve that has thread on the top and a lever hanging down at the bottom.  The idea is that when a chick taps the lever, a drop of water comes out.  The nipple is usually red and the lever is silver.  To find chicken nipples on the internet, I would suggest that you search for them on Amazon.com.  There are a number of suppliers.  One such source is


You might think that this is a slow and odd way to give water to the chicks. In my experience, when I first introduced it to them, a chick explored it in about a minute and then started drinking.  Within five minutes, all the chicks were using it.  Three or four might gather around, all pecking simultaneously. 

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