Making a Chicken Water System





Introduction: Making a Chicken Water System

Chickens need water but the conventional water containers for chickens allow water to go stagnant and accumulate back wash when the chickens drink. So you are forever changing and cleaning their water.

The idea behind this system is that there is no way for any back wash to enter the water and the water staying fresh. 

To start with you need the following items:
- PVC down pipe (2 lengths to suit your situation)
- PVC 90 deg bend to fit the down pipe
- 2 end caps to fit your down pipe
- PVC cement
- watering nipples
- rubber gloves for protection
- 2-3 x wall brackets to fit your down pipe and screws (not shown in picture)

Step 1: Bottom Pipe

We will make an L shape with the two length of PVC pipes with the watering nipples aligned along the bottom of the L shape.
Pick one length of PVC pipe to become the bottom part of the L shape. If necessary cut to size so it will fit the location where you are planning to install this system.

Now drill holes  along a straight line. Leave enough space on either end to fit an end cap and the 90 deg bend without overlapping any holes. The diameter of the holes should you slightly smaller than the diameter of the threaded part of the watering nipples.

I generally space the holes far enough apart so one to two chickens can get to each watering nipple at the same time.

Step 2: End Cap Along Bottom

Now smear a coating of the PVC cement around one end of the bottom pipe and the inside of one of the pipe ends.
Once they are both coated put the pipe end onto the coated pipe end and push on all the way. The PVC cement I used sets pretty quickly and takes a little longer to cure.

Read the instructions that come with your PVC cement.

Step 3: Completing the L Shape.

Now complete the L shape by glueing on the 90 deg bend and the upright pipe.

Hints for later: 

Again cut the upright pipe to length before glueing so that the complete L shape fits the spot where you intend to install this.

When glueing on the 90 deg bend to the bottom work it such that the holes for the watering nipples are along the bottom and slight pointing towards the front; away from any wall that you might install this contraption on. This will make it easier for your chickens to reach the watering nipples.

Don't glue on the second pipe end! It will act as a removable lid to allow filling of this watering system and keep dust and bugs out of the water.

Step 4: Installing Nipples

Now take your watering nipples and screw them tightly into the holes you've drilled earlier. If they aren't tight enough you will have continuous dripping which you don't want. The purpose of these nipples is to keep the water in until a chicken worries at the nipple.

Step 5: Final Installation and Happy Chooks

Now install your L shaped pipe construction on a wall with the watering nipples along the bottom of the L using the brackets and screws not shown in the intro.

It won't take long for your chickens to work out how to drink from the nipples. I showed our chickens by wiggling the nipples such that drops of water came out. This caught the interest of the chickens and they worked it out from there.

Now you don't have to waste any more water because of chicken back wash making your water dirty!



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    Just a little smaller then the diameter of the thread on the nipples.
    The nipples should screw on tight-ish, but not over tight :)

    I think I used an off cut to make a couple of test holes to find the right size :)

    they seem pretty standard so I had hoped you could give me a specific diameter, but I guess i will just need to make a few test holes myself. Tnx ;-)

    Yeah sorry... I am sure they are a standard size of some kind of imperial measurement (got them from the US)
    I however I am in a part of the world that uses metric measurements, so I just tried until I found one that worked :)

    no sweat. Metric here too. I' ll just give it a try

    I am sorry, I have no idea... Where we are we get a couple of frosty mornings in winter, but never proper freezing temperatures.


    You shouldn't use PVC pipe unless it is stamped with an NSF-61 certification (It will be printed on the PVC pipe). Otherwise, the water will leach chemicals from the PVC plastic that are not good for you. You can't use the PVC pipe from Home Depot or Lowes. It's not meant for potable water.

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    Interesting. I didn't know that. May I ask the source of your information?

    Hi all. Im from the UK and I cannot get end caps in this country at all. Anyone know a site that will deliver to UK from US for the 3" end caps and also the threaded ones in 3" and 2"? Thanks.

    I can't remember where I bought my last lot from., sorry.

    Just search to watering nipples for chickens and you should get a big list of places to buy from.

    Try this link:

    Great idea! Been looking and making something like this but i tend to over complicate things haha.

    As my hens are on an allotment im trying to think of a way i can rig it up to the roof gutters to keep it topped up with rain water.....




    Since the container is fully enclosed, no light enters it, which means no algae grows.
    On top of that I put a few drops of colloidal silver or grape seed extract in the water ever now and then to keep he chickens healthy. That also "disinfects" the water and container to a point.

    I ended up using a 2" PVC pipe and since it was on an outside coop/run, I used one of the support beams and used only one bracket and 90 degree elbow. I used a Velcro for the long beam on the chicken wire. Had a faulty leak after I installed the nipples. I thought I ran the test thru after I drilled the holes but I guess there was more water pressure when the long tube was installed. Nothing a little pinky finger and Teflon tape couldn't handle. Thanks for your instructable. The girls have barely played with it but it's only day one and only one pecked at it.

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    I trained our Hens by sitting with them next to the water system and playing with the nipples. The hens got interested in the water dripping from my fingers and learnt how to tease the water out of the system in no time.
    Just show them.

    Filling it up is not a big issue. I use a watering can without the sprinkler rose on the end to fill it and you can easily hear how it fills up and when it gets close to full. Similar to the change in sound when you fill a glass.
    Also with a 90mm opening you can look into it and easily see the water level.

    Do you find it hard to see where the water level is until its too late and over flows? I was thinking of putting a plastic colored ice cube so there's a visual aid in determining the water level. Your thoughts?