Introduction: Automatic Chicken Watering System With Upcycled Bottles

About: Hey! We're Yasmine, Simon, Blaze, Nick, and Ben. We made a bunch of little guides for our engineering senior design project that we decided to share with you. Our aim is to encourage upcycling/recycling, homes…

This guide will walk through primary steps to make an automated watering system, which let water stay inclosed until it gets to chickens. So it will keep your chickens hydrated with clean and fresh water.

There are two primary components: the water storage tank that refills by itself and small bottles with pecking nipples where chickens drink from. The fabrication process will be explained in the later step. Some training may be required at the beginning of the implementation so that chickens know how to use the pecking nipples.

This guide is also part of an automated chicken coop project, shown in the second picture. (All builds are still needed to be relocated into a run, so the horse are coiled together.)

Other guides listed below can be found via this link .

  • Automated Chicken Coop Build (with drawer)
  • Automatic Chicken Door
  • Automatic Chicken Feeder (wood or metal build)
  • Automatic Misting System
  • Solar Panel & Rechargeable Battery Setup

Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools

The bottles used in this build can easily be found in an average household waste stream. Some hardware may need to be sourced in a local store or online. If a purchase is necessary, visiting a local hardware is recommended because you will be able to check the item physically to see if it works with the things you have.


  • One 1-gallon plastic bottle (works best with a fill valve)
  • One or Two regular size plastic water bottles (you can add as many bottles as you want)
  • Water pecking nipples, one for each bottle ( online link)
  • Two 5-ft tubing (10-ft total, one for each regular plastic bottle)
  • One fill Valve (that can fit into the 1-gallon bottle), along with its attachment, ( online link)
  • Fill valve adapter (so that garden house can supply water to the fill valve) ( online link)
  • Industrial strength Velcro (Attach the bottles to a vertical beam or wall), ( online link)
  • Hot Glue
  • Teflon Tape
  • Shut-off valve (optional)


  • Hot glue gun (for attaching tubing and gaps)
  • Scissors (for cutting bottles, tubing & Velcro)
  • Power dill or a tool that can drill a hole at the bottom of a regular size plastic water bottle

*float valve may also be used, but the orientation of the tank may be horizontal instead of vertical.

Step 2: Make the Waterer Storage Tank

  1. Cut open the back side of the gallon bottle
  2. Make sure the fill valve can fit through the cap inlet
  3. Mount the fill valve as shown in the picture

*If you have a float fill instead of the fill valve, you can use the gallon bottle in sideways:

  1. Cut an opening at of the sides and near the bottle cap inlet
  2. place in the fill valve and through the cap inlet and seal the inlet

Step 3: Test Water Storage Tank

  1. Put in some water.
  2. Check if there is any leak.
  3. Make sure the fill valve can move up and down freely

Step 4: Attach Adapter & Shut-off Valve

  1. Attach a shut-off valve to the adapter (optional)
  2. Check if the adaptor fits the tank

*In our project, this automatic watering system is integrated with a misting system. So the one-way shut-off valve shown in the picture will be switched with a Y-shape shut-off valve.

Step 5: Make Pecking Nipple Bottle

  1. Make a hole on each of the caps come with the bottles
  2. Wrap Teflon tape around the threaded part of the pecking nipples
  3. Screw in the pecking nipples
  4. Seal hot glue to fully seal of gap

Step 6: Test Pecking Nipple Bottle

  1. Put some water in the bottle
  2. Screw on the caps with nipples made in the last step
  3. Check if there is any leak
  4. Tap the pecking nipple and water should come out

Step 7: Mount Water Storage Tank

  • you can mount the tank to a 2x4 beam or a wall
  • A 2x4 beam is used in this scenario, which makes the system portable
  • Put some water in to make sure the velcro can hold up

Step 8: Attach Water Transfer Tube

  • use some tape to temporarily secure the tube
  • make sure the inlet end reaches the bottom of the storage tank
  • remove the tap as you apply hot glue to secure the tubes

Step 9: Make a Hole on the Nipple Bottle & Mount It

  1. make a hole at the bottom center of the pecking nipple bottle
  2. check if the tube will fit through
  3. then use velcro to mount nipple bottle

Step 10: Put the Tube Through the Bottle & Seal It With Hot Glue

  1. remove the nipple cap
  2. pu the tube through the bottle
  3. make sure a bit of the tube is sticking out, which will be used to suck the water and create the initial flow of the water
  4. seal of the hole with hot glue

Step 11: Bleed Air Out of the Nipple Bottle & Fill It With Water

  • Put some water in the tank (enough to fill the number of bottles you have and immerse the inlet of the tube in the tank)
  • Create an initial flow of the water by suck water out of the tube (use a bulb or just by sucking it with mouth)
  • Then the water should run continuously on itself due to the pressure difference between the storage tank (at a higher position) and the nipple bottle (lower position)
  • Then push the tube back into the nipple bottle (the water should flowing)
  • Tilt the bottle back so that the cap end faces up
  • Make sure no leak at the end of the bottom, where the hole was sealed
  • Wait till water fill up the bottle, then cap it with the nipple cap
  • Velcro the bottle back on

Step 12: Cap the Water Storage Tank

  • Use a tape to secure the cap

Step 13: Attach the Adapter and Hook Up the Hose

Attach adapter and hook up a garden hose

Check any leaks

Step 14: Integrate With a Misting System (optional)

  • This build is integrated with an automatic misting system that cools down chickens in the summer heat.
  • Therefore, a Y-shape two-way shut-off valve is used. One goes to the water storage tank for the watering system; the other goes for the solenoid controls the misters. If you are interested, please feel free to check out the guide for mister system, which can be found on our homepage .