Chicken Watering Systems

If you’ve landed here, chances are you are looking for the right direction for your chickens watering needs. If you’re situation is at all like mine, finding a way to provide good clean water for your beloved flock is harder than it seems.

Chickens are beautiful birds…but they are messy! There’s no way around it.

Chicken Watering System
Gorgeous Rooster.

When I first started raising chickens, I put a basic plastic chicken water container out on the ground. I realized quickly that wasn’t going to work! They had it filled with bedding and poop in no time.

Then I raised it off the ground a couple inches…still not high enough, and they also managed to knock it over as well!

So I raised it about 6-8 inches off the ground and secured it to a firm base. Well that FINALLY worked…until they started roosting on it at night… and still pooped in it!

It was then I realized I’d have to get more crafty about this! So after researching a lot of different products, I finally one that worked well for me and didn’t cost me too much either.

I use the chicken water nipples inserted into a bucket. I write about those chicken waterers here. It works AWESOME and didn’t cost me a fortune either.

What I also like about it, is that I found a way to automate it by using an automatic stock tank float valve. It’s the kind of automatic watering device used for cattle drinking troughs but it worked just fine in my 5 gallon poultry drinker. I show you how it’s set up here.

Auto waterer
lid cut out to fit around rim

It may not look pretty but I love how hands-free it is, yet still provides my feathered critters with fresh water every day.

And to eliminate problems of them jumping on top, roosting on it etc., I positioned it outside where they don’t roost! They get fresh water and I don’t have to clean out the poop – a win win!

Clearly,  I didn’t get a good cut out on the top of the rim, but it works fine and if the chickens fly on top of it, they can’t easily poop into the water. Also – it keeps out the vast majority of debris that’s flying around the yard.

And if it happens to rain? No biggie! It just means more fresh water for the chickens.

I still check on the container everyday to make sure it’s working correctly, but that’s about it. So far, it’s worked out nicely and has been problem free!

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What To Look For In A Chicken Watering System

When choosing the best chicken watering system, you’ll have to decide what will work best for you. There are dozens of good products available on Amazon or your local farm store to choose from. It’s just a matter of determining what’s important to you. Below are some of the criteria that were important to me…

 Automatic – I don’t want to put fresh water in every day so, for me, the automatic feature was important.

Low Maintenance – This goes along with automatic…along with not wanting to add fresh water every day, I also don’t want to clean out bedding or droppings from the water.

Ease of Use – I really wanted something that isn’t hard to put together or how to figure out how it works.

Durability –  Since my chicken water dispenser is outside, I needed something that can withstand the sun and rain (not to mention the chickens jumping on it).

Cost Effective – I wanted a quality product but didn’t want to pay too much for it.

 Size of Flock – I needed whatever set up I chose to be big enough to handle the size of my flock. At the moment, I only have 8 chickens. But I will be expanding my flock in the near future to around 20 or more and I wanted to have a poultry watering system that could handle larger numbers of birds so all could have easy access when they needed it. I now have two 5 gallon bucket waterers which is ample for DOZENS of chickens.

UPDATE 2021: We now have 25 chickens, and both bucket waterers are in use.

Here’s a video clip of my chickens drinking from one of my bucket watering system…no, it’s not a plug for Costco laundry detergent ?

A Few Tips…

As I talked about earlier, setting up chicken watering system is a bit of a “trial and error” process so I’ll include a few things that I found helpful….

  • For full grown chickens, you’ll want your watering system around 12 inches off the ground. It it’s lower than that, they have a hard time accessing the water…any higher and they can barely reach it. There is some wiggle room on that, but 12 inches is a good starting point.
  • Keep it outside. Again, this may be just my preference but I think it helps to keep the bedding in the coop dry. And if you have a small coop, it will allow for more space for the brood to run around in. Those 5 gallon waterers take up space!
  • Keep a lid on the top. Chickens will fly onto or roost on anything, so a lid on top will keep them from jumping on it, pooping in the water or, worse yet, drowning! I have lost a hen to this once, which is what prompted me to install a lid! If you can fashion a cone shaped lid, you’d keep them from jumping on top altogether. I’ve seen them at feed stores and online. (see below image)

Closing Thoughts

I love researching all things about chickens, chicken coops and the like. So researching chicken watering systems was a hoot!

I’ve included a link to Amazon where you can examine a few similar products that I considered purchasing when I was looking for good chicken drinkers. But your local farm store will also have several options.

Part of my rationale for buying the chicken waterer nipples is they were reasonably priced and I didn’t mind doing the extra work of cutting a few small holes in the 5 gallon bucket to install them.

But if you don’t want the added hassle, many of the similar products listed on Amazon, Etsy, or your local farm stores will work just dandy!

Good luck in finding your next chicken watering system!! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or feedback. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Chickening!

4 thoughts on “Chicken Watering Systems”

  1. You seem to have quite a passion for free range chickens. Its good you came up with that plan of using a bucket and nipples that you mention in this article. Very ingenious of you. Good thing it didnt cost you an arm and a leg to set up. Well done on that. Using the float valve made it even better. Automatic refill. Well good luck with the chickens. Let us know when you have increased your flock.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, we love raising chickens and sharing our insights along the way. The watering system is still going strong. And we hope to add a few more hens next Spring.

  2. it is pretty evident here that you have abundance of knowledge on this topic and having look around your website, I have quite the adequate information about chickens and exactly how best to rare them and the dos and donts while rearing them. This is really good to see here and thumbs up for sharing here


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