PVC Chicken Waterer

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Introduction: PVC Chicken Waterer

About: We love working on DIY projects together, and yes, conflict does happen, but we just work through it!

An easy way to keep your flock watered and not have a mess with overturned water containers!

Step 1: Supplies Needed

Here is a list of supplies that you will need for this project. I did add a few pieces to the pipes to make it easy to take apart and clean, but they could be left off to save money and to simplify the project. I will explain each addition throughout the project.

4 BeakTime Watering Cups (purchased through BeakTime.com)

2 foot piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe

2 foot piece of 2 inch PVC pipe

3 inch piece of 3 inch PVC pipe (I had extra in my scrap pieces from previous projects)

4" X 3" PVC coupling

3" X 2" PVC coupling

4 - 1/2" adapters (male end threaded)

2 - 1/2" threaded caps

2 - 2" cleanout drain plug adapter

2" cleanout drain plug (threaded)

2" trap adapter fitting

2" 90 degree Cross Tee

2 - 2" X 1/2" Bushing

Pipe Joint Compound

PVC Cement

3 gallon or 5 gallon water jug (I chose a 3 gallon)

3 foot 2x6 lumber (I just used some scrap pieces I had)

Total cost of project is around $55.

Step 2: Cut PVC Needed

I used my compound miter saw to cut the PVC used in this project. It give nice, clean edges and is a whole lot easier on the arms. Just remember to keep steady pressure on the pipe and the saw blade and move slowly. WEAR GOGGLES!!! :)

Cut the following pieces

1. 1/2 inch pipe - cut 2 pieces 6" long and 4 pieces 3" long

2. 3 inch pipe - cut a 3 inch section

While you have your saw out, cut the wood needed for the bracket. I cut 2 pieces of 12" long. Also, you need a 6 inch piece, with 45 degree angles on each end to make the support beam. The 6 inch length will be the long length of the board.

The girls are always curious when the tools come out!

Step 3: Put the Tee Together With the Vertical Shaft

First, assemble the tee that will be at the base. Use the PVC cement to put the 2"x1/2" bushings in the left and right side of the tee. Then, cement one of the cleanout adapters to the bottom opening. Use joint compound on the cleanout plug and screw it into the cleanout adapter. Next, connect the 2" pipe to the top opening (using cement). At the top of the 2" pipe, glue the 2" trap adapter fitting on. Set this aside to cure while you work on the horizontal beams.

Step 4: Horizontal Beam Construction

Well, in the hurry of trying to get this together before the kids needed to be run here and there for sports practices, I forgot to take the detailed pictures of the construction of the horizontal beams that I had planned. UGH! We will try to make it with this one picture and a bunch of verbiage.

Start with a 3" piece of 1/2" pipe and glue one of the Beaktime cup couplers. I chose to order the ones with the 1/2" PVC couplers, but they have other ways to add them to your system. This is just the best way for ours.

Next, add the 6 inch piece to the other end of the cup coupler. The next piece will be another cup coupler, followed by another 3" piece of pipe. Make sure to line up the cups so they are straight.

Repeat these steps to construct the other side of the beam. On the outside end of each beam, install the 1/2" adapters and screw on the plug using the joint compound.

Add the other two 1/2" adapters to the bushings on the left and right side of the tee using joint compound. Once those two are in place, cement the left and right side horizontal beam making sure that the cups are lined up and that the cups sit flat so that water doesn't spill out easily.

Step 5: Top Half Construction

Another picture opportunity missed! Sorry! :)

To connect the 4"x3" coupler and the 3"x2" coupler, use the 3" piece of 3" PVC pipe and secure them together with cement. You can use a longer piece to give the top more height, but I think the closer the jug is to the wooden bracket, the less likely you will be to have the jug fall off or be wobbly.

Add a cleanout adapter to the 2" opening of the couplers with glue and allow all the pieces to cure for 2 hours or whatever the recommendations of the pipe cement is that you are using.

Step 6: Bracket for Mounting

You will need to determine where the neck of the water bottle will be on the platform of the bracket. Drill a 3 inch hole at that spot so that the cleanout adapter on the top piece sits easily inside the opening. It will need some room to be able to screw the cleanout adapter onto the trap adapter that sits atop the bottom shaft. I used a jigsaw to cut the opening, however, I would recommend a hole saw if one is available.

Disregard the first hole drawn that has the X in the middle. I chose not to use that one. I decided to push it a little further out so that I had enough room to have the angle support a long as possible. I wanted to make sure that the bracket was strong enough to withstand the weight of the water bottle when it is full.

Screw the top piece to the vertical piece that will attach to the stud or other area that you plan to install the waterer. Next, add the support piece to the bracket with screws. Start your screws in the vertical board so that it is easier to attach once the height is determined for the bracket.

Step 7: Hang the Bracket

To determine the height of the bracket, drop the top section into the hole of the bracket and screw the bottom portion to the top. When the height of the watering cups is determined, mark where the top of the bracket needs to be. Disconnect the top and bottom portions of the waterer and set aside. Mount the bracket securely to the site. I mounted mine to a stud in the run area of our coop. I centered the 2x6 board on the 2x4 and it worked great. I also am installing a 2x4 piece to run behind the water jug to take up the space between the 2x4 stud and the jug. This will also give me a extra place to put eye bolts and use bungee cords to hold the water jug to the stud. (This is not in the picture as of now, but will update the post when I get it done).

Step 8: Finish It Up!

Using joint compound, connect the top and bottom portion snuggly. Check all joints to make sure that are tight and ready for water. Open the top of the jug and insert the neck into the top. Watch for drips and tighten where necessary.

Note: I have found that my chicks like to walk behind the cup beam, sometimes causing the waterer to twist. I will be adding a new bracket with attachment points to keep this from happening. I hasn't caused any problems, other that me having to go out and twist it back into place. Just want to make sure it is safe as can be. I will add this step and pictures once I finish it.

Hope you find this helpful for your flock!

~Julie

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    44 Comments

    0
    mpemburn
    mpemburn

    6 months ago

    Further enhancements: Our coop is a little ways from the house—just far enough that we can’t tell how much water is left in the bottle just by looking out the window. To remedy this, I stopped at the sporting goods store and purchased an Eagle Claw “Lazer Sharp” Bluefish float (https://www.tackledirect.com/eagle-claw-lazer-sharp-l930-bluefish-float-rig.html).

    After snipping off the hook (and leaving the ring on the end so that it doesn’t pull the wire through) and the triple-eye thing from the other end, I stuck it in the bottle and fastened the loop of the wire to the inside of the neck with a stainless steel bolt and nut. As the water level changes, I can now easily see it from the house.

    I was considering wrapping the tubes with a heat tape. Before doing this, I wrote to the Frost King folks (who make them) and asked if it would be safe to do this. They said no. The tape should be used only on pipes that water flows through. After reading some recommendations, I went to the pet store and got a 10 watt immersion heater for Betta fish tanks. It’s designed to heat the water to 78° F, and that is way too hot. To moderate this, I got a thermostatically controlled outlet block from Tractor Supply (https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/farm-innovators-thermostatically-controlled-outlet) that will come on at 25° and turn off at 45°.

    I dropped the heater into the tube below the bottle as far as it would go. Before doing so, I drilled a hole large enough for the wire just below the rim of the upper part, then sawed down with a hacksaw to make a slot, being careful not to get plastic chips inside the tube. Plumber’s putty seals around the wire to prevent leakage.

    It hasn’t dipped below freezing yet, but may in the next week. It remains to be seen. I have other ideas if this doesn’t work.

    55A003A7-4EDC-45AF-A34F-51F59CFA5EED.jpeg6CEFC5BF-466F-4251-9C56-E61B9A350262.jpeg
    0
    mpemburn
    mpemburn

    7 months ago

    I finished my own variation of this waterer today. It has two basic differences from the original 1) It sits outside the coop so that we don’t have to shoo the birds away from the door when we go to fill it and 2) it has garden hose fittings on either end to facilitate flushing the system when it’s needed.

    Two items remain to complete it—a heat tape to prevent freezing, and a "poop guard" above the horizontal pipe to keep the chickens from roosting on it.

    BTW: Definitely go with the Rent-a-Coop cups. They are simpler and I think more durable. Great people to do business with, too!
    Waterer Inside.jpgWaterer Outside.jpg
    0
    jvineyard69
    jvineyard69

    1 year ago

    First of all thank you very much for this great idea and easy to follow instructions!! I’ve posted some pictures of a couple little changes I made to mine that I hope you’ll like. I added the valves to make for easier repairs of the cups without losing all your water and at the neck I added the coupler because I couldn’t find the 2 inch trap adapter in my area.

    6ED06345-951F-4B92-902C-4B3C25A3E0F5.jpegAEF53F38-DFED-4DAC-B674-52F13F6C4621.jpeg1D1A101D-71B8-4489-97ED-2E7FF1574D12.jpeg
    0
    Johnpkenney1
    Johnpkenney1

    Reply 8 months ago

    Hi where did you get the valves. Brilliant upgrade.and the coupling looks unfamiliar can you share more detail on that please. I’m not seeing threaded coupling like that non the big box websites. Thanks.

    0
    Johnpkenney1
    Johnpkenney1

    Question 8 months ago on Step 8

    Hi,
    amazing design and looks cool too. Thanks for sharing. In applying the cement were you concerned about potable water coming into contact with it and possibly Getting in the water supply?
    thanks,
    john

    0
    mpemburn
    mpemburn

    8 months ago

    Brilliant! We got some waterer nipples from RentACoop, and I’ve been mulling over how best to make something, but this totally solves the problem. Because we live in a place that freezes hard in some winters, I’ll be wrapping it in a heat tape. Also, I think that the end of the arms should have removable caps to facilitate flushing the system. Garden hose threaded fittings should do the trick.

    0
    kcbaltz
    kcbaltz

    10 months ago

    We've run into an interesting problem with this and I'm curious if anyone else has a solution. We live in Northern California where the summer days have 40-50F degree swings in temperature and we believe this is causing the water to leak. We originally thought it was just a bad joint or something but it was only happening at certain times of the day and we eventually caught it coming out the top. The theory is, as the bottle empties, there's more air inside. The larger the air, the more it can expand with the heat which raises the level inside the top fitting and eventually causes it to overflow. I think regular office water coolers would have this problem if they weren't in a temperature controller environment. My best idea that I have yet to try is to add some kind of additional volume to the "collar" space to allow for expansion without overflow. Not quite sure how to do it cleanly yet. For now, we may just live with the overflow and refill a bit more often.

    0
    samthesham66
    samthesham66

    11 months ago

    Mine seems to be leaking for the top portion, i.e. the water never stops flowing even though I have a top on the bottle as indicated. Any thoughts? thanks

    1
    Takeawayplus
    Takeawayplus

    Reply 10 months ago

    You check for leakage on the bottle itself. Once there’s an air flow, the water will leak

    1
    Dcowboys9
    Dcowboys9

    3 years ago

    how do i install the water bottle i read that it says to leave the cap on. if you do this then how does the water flow out can someone please explain the process for keeping the water flowing from the bottle thank you very much

    2
    stoobers
    stoobers

    Reply 11 months ago

    Each little cup has a yellow bobble in it. The chicken pokes the bobble & water refills the cup. The bobble is hooked to a valve that lets water flow in & refill the cup. It is beak activated.

    1
    ugarxfish
    ugarxfish

    Reply 2 years ago

    Sorry for the delay. All out water jugs have a whole in the center that we just pop out. The important thing is that you not remove the entire cap, or the water will continue to flow out, and over the large PVC opening that the bottle sits on. Back pressure on the smaller hole keeps the water from continually flowing. I hope that answers your question! Thanks!!!

    0
    BriannaS33
    BriannaS33

    4 years ago

    How well does this work in winter, what can you do to prevent the little cups from freezing?

    0
    stoobers
    stoobers

    Reply 11 months ago

    Buy an electric kettle. Boil a full pot of water then dump the water on the little cups until melted. Dump the rest in the water tank.

    0
    ugarxfish
    ugarxfish

    Reply 2 years ago

    I am so sorry for the delayed response. We live in North GA, and have freezing weather as well. I usually switch to a typical metal waterer with warmer pan under it, but plan to put the heater cord wrapped around the PVC as we get ready to winterize the coop. We have the coop wired for lighting, so we are ready for that. I will look for the link for the heater wrap and post it. Thanks so much for your question!

    The chickens usually don’t leave a bunch of residual water in the cup when they drink, but I can see the concern! I will see if I can come up with some options!!! Thanks so much for the question!

    Julie (Mrs. Ugarxfish)

    0
    whitetiger1951
    whitetiger1951

    Question 1 year ago on Step 3

    Is this a good size for 15 chickens or do I need to add more water spots?

    0
    stoobers
    stoobers

    Answer 11 months ago

    1 cup for 10 chickens, so 2 cups. If hot outside a chicken will drink 1 quart per bird per day. So plan that 15 chickens will need 4 gallons per day. 5 gallons to be safe.

    0
    loftthirtytwo
    loftthirtytwo

    1 year ago

    This is brilliant! I’m going to try making this soon. Question though...do you think this same design would work with nipples instead of the watering cups? I would obviously have to mount it higher, but what do you think?

    0
    olbruizer
    olbruizer

    1 year ago on Step 3

    Thank you kindly, awesome and excellent.

    Kind regards.

    0
    ldlawson92
    ldlawson92

    2 years ago on Introduction

    Can you send a picture of the lid for your water jug? We don’t have a hole on the one we have so just wondering what kind of kid to be looking for. Also, would love to see pics of your coop! Looks like you have sand on the flooring?

    LDLawson92@gmail.com