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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Easy Fill Chicken Waterer

We keep our chickens in big cages to keep them safe from predators and so we have an easy time finding the eggs. One of the biggest hassles of this is filling the waterers inside the cages, especially after it rains. I decided there had to be a better way. Here it is and it doesn't cost a lot.

The parts list is:

1 5 gallon bucket with lid
1 new oil pan
some 1.5" PVC pipe, some fittings, PVC primer and cement, some gasket material, and a valve

I started by using a hole saw to cut a hole in the top of the bucket for the pipe to fit through.

You can see that the hole ended up a little bigger than the pipe but I'll take care of that.

Here is the label from the gasket material I used. It comes in sheets. This kind came from Lowe's but I'm sure you can get some at any hardware store.

I used some snips to cut the gasket into squares and to cut holes into the squares. These were my first cuts, so to speak. I had to enlarge them a little to fit around the pipe perfectly.

Here are the fittings I used. Put a gasket over the long threaded piece on the left, then put it through the hole. Put the other gasket over the fitting on the inside of the lid, then install the nut on the inside and tighten it up.

Here it is with the gasket on the upper fitting. It looks a little sloppy but I don't think the chickens will care.

After you tighten up these fittings you need to make sure that the pipes and fittings fit together. Here is what it looks like.

Then I used the PVC primer and cement to make the connections permanent. You probably don't want to cement the valve on at this point because you will want to put the pipe through the side of your cage. If you have the valve cemented on you will have to cut a big hole in the side of your cage and then repair it. You might want to assemble this in your chicken cage to make sure you have the height and angle of the fittings correct before you use the cement. Here is the primer and cement I used.

Next, I used a drill with a 3/16" bit to drill four holes in the bucket about a 1/2" above the bottom.

Here is the assembly placed into the oil pan.

Here is the assembly in the corner of the cage.

Here is the valve I used. It will keep bugs and vermin out of the water tank and it creates a vacuum that keeps all the water from pouring out.

I used a tie wrap to hold the pipe to the side of the cage and used wire to hold the bucket steady.

To fill it just turn on the garden hose, open the valve and pour water in. The pipe is big enough to let the air out while you are filling it. When you get it full just close the valve and you are done.

The total cost was about $15 and now I don't have to get my feet muddy when it rains.


Paladin said...

Great design and I like the fact that with the possible exception of the valve, someone might have most of this stuff laying around the farm.

Anna said...

I like it too --- especially the step by step directions! Though I wonder if the trough gets filled with gunk? I was not enjoying changing our chickens' waterers every morning, so my husband developed a chicken waterer that stays clean and full of water for days. We mount it on the outside of our tractors for easy filling.

Sarah Jean said...

I'm wondering if you used a rectangle pan could this be useful for small livestock or dogs?


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Hawgon said...

Doesnt the water run out when you open the valve to fill because it breaks the vacuum keeping the water in?

Unknown said...

I'm wondering if I could just modify an existing waterer to be filled the same way and not lose a bucket over it. Has anyone tried that?

cjames said...

I love this idea. You can buy icing buckets from Walmart for $1 w/lids. They clean them but I clean them when I get home. Get as much of the label off that you can then apply peanut butter for a day to get the rest off. We don't want our chickens eating paper. Hope this is helpful.

Cat Hill said...

They will fly up and poop all over that bucket if you don't put some wire or something over the top where they can't perch up there...

Cat Hill said...

As large as your wire is on your pen, why not just set the waterer outside the pen? They can stick their heads through the wire to drink.

WhatIfWeAllCared? said...

I was wondering the same thing. Otherwise I love this idea. Also, how often do you scrub the oil pan?

Unknown said...

This system did not work for me. As your filling the bucket through the PVC tubing it overfills the drinker and you can't get anything more in bucket than the drinker can hold. I should've figured this out prior to starting with this design. Don't do it.

Anonymous said...

Yes just put part if the pan inside the pen

KBurt said...

Why not put a valve at the top and bottom of the pipe. Then when water is needed, close bottom, open top and fill pipe, then close top and open bottom to replenish. I think I would use larger pvc pipe tho

Unknown said...

This did not work full of crap idea. I just spent 20.00 on it got it set up and a epic fail. This is 100% BS.

Peta said...



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