Water Your Backyard Chickens: Watering Systems and Waterers

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Water your backyard chickens with the best chicken waterer for your situation. As the proud owner of a robust flock, you know there are certain responsibilities that go along with the title of “keeper.” You must attend to your brood’s needs. You must make sure they have a clean environment with fresh bedding, food and water.

There are chicken watering systems you can use to make your job easier and keep your hens content. It should:

  • Prevent spills
  • Protect the water from other animals
  • Be easy for the chickens to access
  • Keep water fresher longer by not having feed and contaminants get inside
  • Not enable chicks or chickens to get inside and drown
  • Be easy to fill
  • Be easy to rinse out and to clean

Having a good waterer system is important. It will save you lots of time and be healthier for your chickens. You may want to DIY your own or buy a chicken waterer. Also be sure to have several watering stations around for chickens to access. This will prevent competition and minimize stress for less aggressive chickens.

Also, learn why water and safety is important for chickens in can chickens swim

Water Backyard Chickens Watering Systems

If you don’t want a DIY project, we love this chicken watering system. The nipples and water won’t come in contact with the ground, making it clean and sanitary. It’s a simple and effective system, and holds two gallons of water.

You can leave the bucket on the ground or hang it. Four chickens and roosters can drink from it at the same time. And, miracle of miracles, it doesn’t leak! You can easily fill it with ice cubes on hot days.

Note with the 2 Gallon Waterer — It took our girls almost two days to get the hang of it so be sure to keep your current watering system in place.

They will quickly come to love it but you may need to train them by showing them how it works. Once they understand, you will be so glad you have this waterer.

Open watering devices that sit on the ground can collect dirt, debris and fecal matter. Before refilling it, you will always have to rinse it out and then fill it with fresh water. That adds up to a lot of extra work. 

Watering Systems and Ideas to Water Backyard Chickens

If you don’t want to buy a chicken watering system and you have a do-it-yourself mindset, you can make your own. Here are three different DIY watering devices for watering backyard chickens.

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DIY chicken watering systems

Chicken Watering Systems

Many chicken owners like to add just a few drops of apple cider vinegar to their chickens’ water to prevent parasites and help with calcium absorption. It also helps deter algae growth. A food grade bucket will be less likely to break down when exposed to vinegar.

Simple “No Frills” DIY Chicken Watering System

This is the easiest and least expensive watering system to build of all the devices here. You can also improvise freely using many different materials and get the same results.

You will need for DIY Chicken Watering Station:

  • 1 empty #10 can
  • 1 pie pan or sturdy plastic container

Here is how DIY Chicken Watering Station works:

  1. Drill a small hole near the open end of the can.
  2. Fill the can with water.
  3. Place the pie pan on top of the #10 can.
  4. Turn the whole thing over.
  5. The pie pan will fill with water until the water is level with the hole.

DIY Chicken Watering Station

You can also use a plastic bottle.

  1. Place a small hole near the bottom of the plastic bottle.
  2. Glue the plastic bottle to the pie plate.
  3. You can use a sandwich or similar food storage container.
  4. Fill the plastic bottle from the top.
  5. Water will drain from the bottom until the water in the food container covers the hole in the plastic bottle.

A one gallon bucket with or without a lid also works well. If you use a bottle, keep it out of the sunlight as much as possible as sunlight encourages algae growth. Also, be aware of the potential of freezing in winter.

2 – 5 Gallon Bucket

This DIY watering system for chickens uses a two or five gallon bucket. Because these buckets have handles you can hang this device up by its handle or even set it on a low shelf or some bricks so the watering cups are off the ground.

Water Your Backyard Chickens 

Here is our favorite with nipples included: 2 Gallon Chicken Waterer – Horizontal Nipple Setup

DIY watering system for chickens you will need:

  • Two or five gallon bucket.
  • 2 to 4 chicken watering cups.

You can order chicken watering cups online.

How to do DIY watering system for chickens

  1. Drill holes near the bottom of the bucket to accommodate the watering cups.
  2. Secure the cups into the holes.
  3. Fill the bucket with water.

Chickens may need a little training, but they should catch on quickly to using the watering cups.

DIY watering system for chickens

You can also drill holes into the bottom of the bucket and substitute chicken nipples for chicken watering cups.

DIY watering system for chickens hacks

Make sure to use a dark colored bucket to hinder algae growth. You should also make sure the bucket is made from good quality/food grade plastic to prevent chemicals from leaching into the water.

Backyard Chickens Watering Drinker Cups

If you live in a climate where cold weather is a possibility, check on your watering system regularly to ensure that the cups or nipples have not frozen.

PVC Pipe Watering System

This system will make watering you birds a breeze. No bending, or moving the device.

You will just be able to put water into the top. As long as you keep the device closed, the water should stay free of contaminants.

PVC Pipe Watering System materials

  • Two lengths of 3-inch PVC pipe
  • One 3-inch pipe elbow
  • 2 to 4 chicken watering nipples
  • PVC cement
  • Two 3-inch PVC end caps

How to do PVC Pipe Watering System

  1. Drill holes in one length of the PVC pipe to accommodate the chicken nipples and screw them in.
  2. Use the PVC cement to attach the two lengths of pipe to the elbow and the end cap at the end of the pipe with the nipples on it.
  3. The other end cap should remain removable.

When you are finished, the device should be “L” shaped.

You can hang this device with the nipples running parallel to the ground and at a height that the chickens can access.

Add water by removing the top end cap and pouring it in.

The chickens and roosters may need to be shown how it works, but they should catch on pretty quickly.

Note: As with all of these watering systems, potential problems exist.

With this system, you have a good chance of avoiding algae growth as PVC is opaque. However, if you live in a climate that gets cold in the winter, you do run the risk of the nipples freezing. You should also check nipples periodically to ensure build up has not caused nipples to stop working properly.

Now that your chickens have clean water, they will want some recreation. Look into getting them a chicken swing to keep them entertained.

chicken watering system
Chicken watering system

Chicken watering systems

To be healthy and happy, your backyard chickens need food, water and clean shelter. As the keeper of the flock, it is your duty to ensure that they have those things. These ideas for watering systems can help make the job of getting your chickens fresh, clean water easier.

Clean water will help to make sure they stay healthy which means you will be able to enjoy your hens for a long time to come.

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