Introduction: Chicken Water Tower
My wife and I recently started our back yard chicken flock. As the chicks have grown so has their water consumption. We are adding water to their small watering thing every other day with it pretty much running dry by the end of the second day. With our little boy just excited to try and get in the hen house it can be tricky to give them water. I wanted to make watering the chickens easier and not have to bother them while doing so. I watched a number of YouTube videos with lots of different systems and then combined them into something of own with junk I had laying around.
Most of the wood I had leftover from building the chicken coup. The 2x6's I had leftover from pallet wood gathering I do from time to time. The pipe, hose, and pipe fittings, I had laying around from a failed aquapnics system.
Harris Farms Poultry Watering Nipples (Available at Tractor Supply or Amazon)
1 - 5-gallon bucket
4 - 2x3 or 2x4 24 inches long
2 - 2x3 or 2x4 11 inches long
2 - 2x6 11 inches long
2 - 2x6 18 inches long
1 - 1/2 PVC pipe 24 inches long
1 - 1/2 Clear Vinyl Tubing 24 inches long
1 - 1/2 PVC Value
1 - 1/2 PVC 90-degree elbow with one side threaded
2 - 1/2 inch to 1/2 inch barbed nylon hose adapter
1 - 1/2 inch PVC locknut
1 - 1/2 inch rubber o-ring
20 or so 2 1/4 inch outdoor screws
6 to 8 feet of Paracord
Step 1: The Wood Stand
To get an idea of how big the wood frame would need to be I measured the diameter of the base of the bucket. I got just a bit over 10 inches. I chose to make the frame 11x11 inches just so the bucket can get in and out with ease. I then cut the 2x3s and 2x6s to 11iches. I wanted to make sure the legs could be attached really well. I decided the best way to do is extend one 2 of the sides out passed the 11 inches just a bit. I used the bucket to good an idea of how this would look. I then screwed the 2x6 to the 3x3 making kind of an l shape. The 2x3 is to support the base of the bucket while the 2x6 is to keep the bucket from tipping over. To help get a better idea of how long I should extend the sides to for the legs, I roughly put it together around the bucket legs in place and measured. It was close enough to 18 inches. This would be good enough for this scraped together stand. I figured 24 inches would be tall enough to fit where I wanted it to. So I cut 4 -2x3s for legs at 24 inches. With my woodcut, I just started to screw everything together checking with the bucket to make sure it fit. I found camps useful to hold the wood as I drilled pilot holes and then put in the screws.
I noticed that the wood I was using was pretty warped. This made the stand kind of unstable on flat level ground. On the dirt, I could just dig under the legs to make it sit level enough. I realized that being this tall with a small base it could easily be tipped over. To help prevent this. I put two 1/2 inch conduit clips on legs kiddy corner from each other. I then used some spike style tenet pegs through the clips into the ground. This will anchor it to the ground and make it hard for our curious 15-month toddler to tip over.
Step 2: Plumbing
After looking at the bottom of the bucket, I decided to offset the hole for the 1/2" barbed hose adapter. This was because in the center of the bucket was a ridged circle about the size of the hole I need to drill. I used a step bit to drill the hole. The step bit allowed me to slowly enlarge the hole so the threads on the adapter would thread in. I made sure the threads were on the inside of the bucket and barbs on the outside. I then put the rubber o-ring over the threads and put the locking nut on the adapter. I then tightened down with two sets of channel locks so it wouldn't leak.
I installed the poultry watering nipples by drilling 4 holes a 23/64" bit spaced roughly 6 inches apart. This will give the chickens enough space to share. I then just screwed the nipples into the holes. This was kind of tough to get started but once they did they tightened pretty quick. Be careful not to over tighten them as they can strip out the plastic. This will make very difficult to stop leaking.
I pressed on the elbow on to one of the ends of the pipe then screwed in the second barbed hose adapter. I didn't use glue because this is a low-pressure system. Not gluing them will also make it simple to clean from time to time. I put the valve on the other the end of the pipe. This value is to drain air out the system after adding water.
Step 3: Finishing Up and Test Run
The poultry watering nipples I used must be hanging downward to work correctly. I used some paracord to tie it from the coup in a 4 way the nipples would be facing down. I put one piece of cord on each slide to level it. Once it was hanging where I wanted it, I slipped the hose on to the barded hose adapter and then fed it through one of the holes of the chicken wire. I then placed the bucket in the frame on the stand. After connecting the hose to the bucket I was finished and could do a leak check. Remember that it is important that the nipples are lower than the hose adapter on the bucket. The nipples need to be the lowest point in the system for the water to empty properly.
For this test, I put one gallon of water in the 5-gallon bucket. I opened the valve to purge the air waited till just a bit of water came and then closed it. Watching each connection I just made sure no water was dripping. I did have to tighten the connection between the hose adapter and elbow but everything else seemed good.
As for training the chickens to use the nipples, I was told chicken will naturally peck at red. This seemed to be true because it wasn't long before they pecking the nipples. I really didn't have to do much at all to train them. They kind of trained each other.
This build only took me a couple of hours to complete was done with stuff I really had just laying around the house. Well, I did have to buy the poultry nipples. They can be found at almost any store that sells chicken supplies. They can also be found online. I am very happy I can now water them from the outside of the coup. The next feature I would like to add is a rain catch from the roof of the hen house into the bucket.
Participated in the
Scraps Speed Challenge