Chicken Waterer Using Cooler and Electrical Fittings

Introduction: Chicken Waterer Using Cooler and Electrical Fittings

There are lots of great instructions showing how to use poultry nipples for chicken/poultry waterers. I encourage you to check them out for tips dealing with PVC and poultry nipples.

I want demonstrate using an easy-to-find cooler , PVC pipe, standard PVC fittings, plus standard electrical fittings to create the required bulkhead.

A "bulkhead fitting" is a bit of plumbing to pass through a vessel wall. Useful for many applications, but not sold at everyday hardware stores. You will see them sold by specialty sellers. For example for building rain barrels. Specialty fittings carry high specialty prices.

Step 1: Materials

2-Gal Igloo Sport Cooler. This has a convenient handle, a spigot, a screw-down lid, and a popup vent so liquid can flow. Less than $11 at Lowe's. When you unscrew the spigot, you are left with a 1/2" hole through a thin wall. An added bonus; we can use the spigot's gasket, too. The screw-down lid is nice, making it more spill-resistant than the standard friction lids.

1/2" male terminal & 1/2" female threaded adapters from the ELECTRICAL department. << this is the clever part to make a bulkhead fitting! The difference between plumbing and electrical fittings is whether or not the threaded bits taper! Makes a difference, who knew?

Poultry nipples & PVC pipe to create the watering manifold. I used saddle nipples made for 3/4" PVC, a scrap of 3/4" PVC, and a 3/4" end-cap to create my manifold. My small setup is great for 3 hens. But you could customize this array to your needs.

1/2" to 3/4" PVC adapter. This connects the improvised 1/2" bulkhead to the 3/4" nipple manifold. I added a scrap of 1/2" PVC (to add a bit of distance) plus a 1/2 -3/4 elbow fitting, but you could choose a different configuration.

PVC cement, Teflon tape.

Step 2: Assembly Overview

Remove the cooler's spigot. Make sure to save the gasket that is on the inside.

Here's how my parts are arranged:

  • Watering manifold is made from 3/4" PVC, nipples & PVC end-cap.
  • Connect the electrical adapters through the spigot hole to create a bulkhead fitting. The saved gasket and some Teflon tape makes it watertight.
  • 1/2" to 3/4" PVC elbow plus a scrap of 1/2" PVC connects the manifold to the bulkhead.

Step 3: Assemble

Drill 5/16" holes into 3/4" PVC to install saddle nipples. Connect the end-cap, elbow, and male electrical fitting with PVC cement.

Use the female electical fitting as a nut to screw the manifold onto the cooler. The gasket plus some Teflon tape makes the connection watertight.

Step 4: Voila, Happy Hens!

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    thank you! thank you! thank you ! i was trying to figure out what connecting pieces to use and it would have taken me forever and probably a few failed attempts to figure out to go to the electrical department.

    Sandi Spires
    Sandi Spires

    Reply 4 years ago

    Cool, thanks! Post a photo when it is done!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    FYI--Lowe's has "bulkhead fittings" in the plumbing department (in the Watts/Brasscraft section) if you didn't want to mess around with the electrical pvc conduit male and female adapters. They are around the $10 range.

    Sandi Spires
    Sandi Spires

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, good to know. But the electical parts were less than 50-cents each.