A question came in this week from a reader who has tried our deep bedding suggestion but is having trouble keeping the chicken waterer clean as a result. Chickens are certainly expert at fouling (fowling?) their water source. Which is why many people use nipple waterers like the one above. Chickens learn to use them quickly (they like to peck at things, after all).
I’ve seen two DIY options: the simplest is a suspended five gallon bucket with nipples stuck in the bottom (as in the image at top), and the other is a five gallon bucket hooked up to a pipe with a line of nipples (as in the second image).
American Preppers Network blogger Stephanie Dayle has instuctions for making a bucket and pipe system here. You can purchase the nipples on Amazon. And the bucket and pipe system pictured above is being sold on Amazon here (I have not tested it).
Ideally all the parts should be food grade as I’m not a fan of PVC. Of course the zinc in the galvanized waterer is probably not so great either, so it’s probably another case of not letting perfection be the enemy of the good.
Living in Los Angeles all my life I’m no expert on what to do with poultry nipple waterers when it freezes. I imagine it has to be drained and put away for the winter but please chime in if you have other ideas. And, in my own case, I think I’d keep my standard waterer as a backup. These poultry nipple contraptions have a tendency to leak and I’d hate to lose chickens on a 100º F day because my waterer failed while I was sipping lattes down on Sunset Boulevard (at some hip new human coffee nipple waterer bar, presumably).