Friday, September 9, 2011

Automatic Bucket Waterer

I've had an automatic waterer in the chickens' coop for a few years but haven't been thrilled with it. It's nice that the chickens always have access to water but it is an open bowl that gets pretty dirty with all the scratching that the chickens do. The little roof that I built to keep the chicken droppings out does nothing to keep the dust out.

I thought I would try to build my own waterer that would keep the water clean. I started with a 5 gallon bucket I got from the doughnut shop. It used to hold hot cocoa mix and smelled great.

I ordered some "360 Super Flow Nipples" from Farmtek. These are more commonly used in big chicken operations but they should work for my little bucket waterer too. The chickens push on the little nipple and that allows water to flow out.

I needed some sort of float valve to stop the water once the bucket was filled up. Most of the valves I found online were more expensive than I wanted to pay so I opted for a vertical toilet float valve. It was only $6 and would fit in the bucket.

I cut the holes for the valve and the nipples in the bottom of the bucket.

The nipples have threads that screw into the hole and seal the opening.

An adapter and toilet connector allowed me to attach the valve to a garden hose.

Here's a video of me trying it out for the first time.

Who knew that water shoots out so hard inside a toilet? Not me. I got a little wet on that one, but the valve worked great and shut off just as expected. I added the blue hose to the outlet which should direct the water down rather than straight at the bucket wall. I guess it won't matter once the lid is on.

And a video of the nipples in action. I guess the chickens are going to have work a little to get enough water.

The chickens will have to learn how to use these before I can take the other waterer out but once one learns the others should pick it up pretty quickly. I'm not quite sure how to teach them how to use it though. Hmm

Update 9/10/11:
I decided to put it in the turkey coop since the chickens already have the automatic dog bowl. I have all the pieces for 3 waterers but I need two more buckets.

I just bought one hose and cut it into peices.

I added new ends and then connected them to a new four spout manifold. I would like to have one water in the chicken coop, one in the run, and one in the turkey coop, so that will leave one spout for another hose.

I hung it up next to the existing waterer hoping that they will be curious about it and peck at the nipples.

It looks high but the turkeys are so tall now they won't even have to stretch to reach the bottom of the bucket.


  1. wow, that is excellent. are the turkeys using it?

  2. I just saw the hen pecking at one of the nipples today. I'd like to think that she was taking a drink but she could have been just pecking it.