Introduction: Clean 5-Gallon Chicken Waterer

Clean and easy-to-build 5 gallon Chicken Waterer / Watering System

This is a cheap, easy, and clean way to keep your poultry, chicken, or even your dog watered. I have had tons of luck with this! Chickens do not roost on top, debris is not easily kicked in, and I have gone months without needing to clean it....and i have 9 chickens! Total cost is under $20 for the parts. Let me know what you think!

Step 1: Parts & Tools


  • (2) Standard 5-Gallon Buckets w/ metal handles and Lids.
  • (1) PVC Mini Float Valve with Adjustable Arm – Internet Search it. About $10.
  • (Optional - ¼” x 5” bolt with 2 washers and 2 nuts) – See Clean Lid


  • Electric Drill
  • 1” Hole Saw (or large enough for the Float Valve)
  • 3/16” Drill Bit
  • Sharp Utility Knife or Reciprocating Saw to cut through plastic
  • Pliers
  • Dry Erase Marker
  • Measuring tape / Ruler

Step 2: Mark and Cut Bucket #1

  1. Draw 2 horizontal lines around Bucket #1 at 2.5” and 5” - Using a Dry Erase Marker.
  2. Make 4 marks on the top horizontal line that are each one-quarter around the bucket. I used a ruler siting on top of the bucket to help line-up where these marks should be.
  3. Drill a hole at each of the 4 marks - Using a 3/16” bit.
  4. Mark vertical lines at 2” on each side of each drill hole.
  5. Erase the horizontal lines near each drill hole to make 4 squares around the bucket.
  6. Cut out each of the 4 squares - Using a sharp utility knife.
    • ! Careful - Make sure not to accidentally cut below the bottom line. This can cause leaks.

Step 3: Add Wire to Bucket #1

Everything here can be done with a good set of Pliers.
  1. Remove the metal wire handle from Bucket #1
  2. Break, Cut, or Bend the metal wire handle about in half
    • Bend the metal back-and-forth, eventually it will break!
  3. Straighten the 2 pieces of metal. However, you can leave a curve at one end.
  4. Insert the 2 pieces of metal into the bucket as shown.
  5. Bend over the metal ends so they are secure.

Step 4: Bucket #2

  1. On the bottom of Bucket #2, mark a spot that is about 2” from the edge of the bucket.
    • ! Make sure this area is clear of writing/embossing. This might cause leaks.
  2. Drill a hole large enough for the float. Using 1" Hole Saw
    • Clean up any shards of plastic - Using a utility knife.
  3. Insert the float valve into the hole with the rubber washer/nut on the inside and tighten with pliers.

Step 5: Assemble and Adjust As Needed

Assemble and Adjust

  1. Insert Bucket #2 into Bucket #1.
  2. Partially fill with water.
    • Adjust the float valve as needed to ensure no water spills out any of the 4 large holes.
    • Wait a few minutes until the valve closes and ensure there is no water leaking.

Step 6: Clean Lid

This is optional, but this lid ensures no birds jump onto the top of the bucket, keeping the water cleaner. The top lid should be quite loose as to scare any birds that jump onto the bucket.

  1. Drill holes through the center of each bucket lid.
  2. Using the bolt, insert 1 washer, 1 lid, the plastic bucket handle, 1 lid, 1 washer and 2 nuts (In that order).
  3. Tighten the two nuts with pliers.