Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Recent Comments

Alison --- Metal sounds like a possibility. If you do make something like that, I hope you'll take photos and share them so we can let our other readers see another option!
Posted early Monday morning, August 3rd, 2015
I wonder if it would be possible to make something like that from metal downspout material? Here, storing chicken food in plastic is a good way to have rats gnaw right through it, I'd not trust a plastic cap to keep them away... I currently store my chook food in a metal garbage can, and feed the hens twice a day.
Posted Thursday evening, July 30th, 2015
Donald --- When we first experimented with this, we were thinking of turning it into a product. 5-gallon buckets are too bulky to mail easily, so we chose the 2-gallon size. Since we chose to give away the information, there's no reason not to use the 5-gallon version. If you give it a try, I hope you'll report back and let us know how it goes!
Posted mid-morning Monday, July 20th, 2015
Brittany --- Please email your entry to info@avianaquamiser.com. I'd love to see your coop!
Posted mid-morning Monday, July 20th, 2015
Brittany Where to send?
Where do I send the picture?
Posted Wednesday night, July 15th, 2015
Is the 2 gallon bucket used instead of the 5 gallon for any reason? Have you tried the 5Gal by same manufacturer?
Posted late Tuesday night, July 15th, 2015
brandon --- I know what you mean. It's been rainy and humid here too, and we had to clean out some caked feed in a store-bought automatic feeder recently. I'm afraid I don't have a solution, other than to keep an eye out during this type of weather and clean it out as necessary. If the feeder is somewhere that it can get rained on, of course you'll want to shield it from rain. But just humidity in our region can cause the feed to mold, unfortunately.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 13th, 2015
Julie --- If you want to catch them, I think your best bet is to watch and see where they roost at night. If it's low enough to reach, it's pretty easy to snag chickens off a branch after dark. Just wear gloves and long sleeves in case they scratch!
Posted at lunch time on Monday, July 13th, 2015
wild chickens coming into my yard. I want to trap them and provide more naturaly sources of food. Any help?
Posted at lunch time on Thursday, July 9th, 2015
I built a similar feeder and used a screw in top it seemed to work fine except when I got home yesterday and went to feed I had mold growing in there how and what is a good way to prevent this and is anyone else having the same problem as mee any help would be appriciated it also has been raining here in Kentucky for the past 3 weeks and it seems like it won't stop
Posted terribly early Thursday morning, July 9th, 2015
  1. Gray --- I'm not entirely sure I know what you mean by the hole in the stomach area still being open. But that might mean that the chick wasn't entirely ready to hatch, or that high humidity had made the chick flabbier than it should have been at hatching. Sorry I can't be more helpful!
Posted Monday afternoon, June 29th, 2015
jeannec --- I'm pretty sure she means a T when she says 3-way. (A fitting that lets three pipes attach together.) But I could be wrong! If she drops back by and leaves a picture, that would be great.
Posted Monday afternoon, June 29th, 2015
jeannec Nipple Waterer

Re: Comment by Tracy — Sunday afternoon, January 25th, 2015

"I raised a few wyandotte chicks last summer. It was a great experience. I made several waterers throughout this time. My favorite was a 1-3 gallon bucket with 4 nipples. It was my favorite until we hit a -20° Fahrenheit snap. I had an aquarium heater in the bucket, but the nipples still froze up because of the metal parts in them. I will probably go back to this for summer, but I am trying out 3"-4" standing pvc with a 3 way piece at the bottom. The angled side open for drinking, the top with a removable cap for filling, and the bottom sealed. No metal parts to freeze with fish tank heater. I may not get the extreme cold again this year, but I will be prepared for next time."

Tracy, I like your idea (for Northern Nevada where it gets down to zero or below one to several times every winter) but I'm not sure exactly what you mean with the 3-way at the bottom? Does the 3-way encompass the top, the middle drinking part and the bottom? Is it a splitter? Or are there 3 drinking trays? I wonder if you could post a picture(s)? Or tell me where I might go to see some? Most grateful for your help.

Thanks, jeannec

Posted at teatime on Friday, June 26th, 2015
We have hatch several clutches. My last batch of eggs I had several with the hole on the stomach area still open. I'm unsure what would cause this. Could temperature, humidity, or something else cause this.
Posted late Wednesday evening, June 24th, 2015
Anonymous --- You're right. That's why I included this caveat in the post: "These figures assume you're raising heritage breed birds --- Cornish Cross chickens need more food faster." Broilers are a whole different kettle of fish!
Posted Monday afternoon, June 22nd, 2015

Hi

These amounts won't work for broilers. It takes about 2.5 lbs of feed for each pound of meat bird produced. So a 10 lb broiler is going to take about 25 lbs of feed, that is lots more than what is listed.

Posted late Saturday afternoon, June 20th, 2015
Sabrina ---Good question. I got this straight out of his book as well, but can't remember which edition of the book it was. Definitely not the first since there were, I think, two updated sections at the back.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, May 25th, 2015
I have 10 roosters in my pen. There just done growing. Once a week one rooster disappears. There are only a few feather and the wings left. The predator would have to get past two 4-5Ft fences. What killed my roosters????!!!!
Posted Sunday afternoon, May 24th, 2015

I heard a little noise coming from the chickens at 5 am. The chickens are reddish brown and I saw a darker color from my window. Somehow a huge owl got inside my temporary chicken pen. It must have forced its way under the chicken wire somehow. The top is covered by chicken wire other than a small gap where 2 pieces come together. 2 out of 5 18 week old hens were killed. The owl was spooked by my appearance and was trying frantically to get out. I was able to cut some of the Ty raps to open the pen door to let it out. It took some convincing on my end but it finally flew out. After I saw the owl crouch down and blast up into the air a couple of times in the pen I knew I didn't want that huge beautiful bird coming at my head!

Posted early Tuesday morning, May 19th, 2015
Is this Joel Salatins current broiler mix recipe? I have his Pastured Poultry Profits book and he said that he also added Brewers Yeast. That book was written 20 yrs ago though, so perhaps he stopped using it.
Posted Monday evening, May 18th, 2015
Kelly --- That particular bird is a barred rock. However, dominiques can look quite similar.
Posted at lunch time on Monday, May 18th, 2015
Kelly F Image question
The speckled juvenile hen in the photo for the Top 10 Chicken Breeds, what breed is that hen? I have one just like her named Betty, and could not for the life of me figure it out. Thanks!!
Posted Thursday evening, May 14th, 2015
Tanya --- Fascinating! I hope you'll come back over and keep us posted once you have a few experiments under your belt.
Posted Monday afternoon, May 4th, 2015
Tanya dark cornish

I just came across your website talking about using Dark Cornish to cross for a homestead meat bird. We are just embarking on this project this year after a year of research. We came across old material talking about a developed cross called the Corndell. It is a cross of Dark Cornish and Delaware. We decided we want to bring this back.

However we are sticking with our convictions for a true homestead meat bird. We are going for quality, not quantity. Our goal is to develop a meat bird, free ranging with free access to produce, which will reach 5-6lbs at 12-14 weeks.

In addition to using Dark Cornish and Delaware, we are also throwing Light Brahmas into the mix. We will mix and match to see what will be best. I cant wait for these birds to reach breeding age so i can start hatching and growing :)

Posted mid-morning Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Her Majesty and I have a 1 acre lake (that's what I call it because of the depth). We started by adopting 4 Pekin ducks, 3 girls and a boy. Started them off in the barn for a week so they should know where they live. Duck wrangled them to the water and that was the end of it. Never got them back into the barn. I'll spare you the 'chasing ducks around on a John boat throwing bait nets trying to catch them' stories; yes there is more than 1. Our property is completely fenced. Some critter, maybe a weasel (closest thing ID'd on critter cam) took out two of our flock in 1 night. We reinforced fences, tightened everything up, closed up all the bottom gaps and pretended we were good. My great idea was to get two more Cayugas, both girls. Then we had the idea to get some of those motion detection activated red lights to put around the place. Cool, we'll try it. Some time later we had another Pekin (our drake) murdered. Down to 3 girls. With a combination of more lights and a newly rescued Great Pyrenees from a local rescue group, we have not had a 'duck incident' for the past almost 3 months. There is a little more mud on the floor. She (our Pyrenees) does spend some time outside after hours of darkness barking, hindered by the fence. We have heard presumably a coyote mom and group of pups at the edge of the fence that decided to move on once yelled at in the middle of the night by our Pyrenees. We have suffered 0 losses since adding the rescued pup to our pack. She spends more time outside than in and has free range (doggie door) so when she feels the need, she's out on the perimeter. Good Luck with your ducks! We are planning on running a just-above-ground electric line to supplement our fence against anything that can squeeze through a 4x4 hole.
Posted at lunch time on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
I have 4 chickens and one day when I was out one of my two dogs who likes to eat chicken food got the door open somehow. My dogs are fine with the chickens when I'm out there but alone they chased the chickens. I came home and two of my chickens were perfectly fine a little annoyed but the other two were missing. There were a few feathers here and there but absolutely no sign. I doubt there would have been any predators if the dogs were out. Then several days later a body of one of my chickens shows up in the yard. She seems almost wet and is missing a lot of her feathers. The other chicken is still missing. My yard is completely fenced in, my dogs were not outside when the body showed up. Any Ideas?
Posted at lunch time on Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Dwight --- It looks like one number or the other was a typo, but I can't recall which now! :-)
Posted at teatime on Monday, April 6th, 2015
I'm curious, did I miss something? Your figures don't seem to add up when figuring the space requirements. 150 snails per 125 sq. ft. looks like 0.83 sq. ft. per snail, not 1.5 sq. ft. per snail... What am I missing?
Posted at lunch time on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Casey --- You shouldn't have a problem making a heated waterer using one of our kits, but it's tougher to retrofit one of our premade waterers. You can see all of our experiments with heated waterers here. More specifically, this is our current favorite version, and we still have a few of these premade for sale. Our previous favorite was this one, made with heat tape and two five-gallon buckets.

That said, none of these options will work at the -40s Fahrenheit. The nipples on the heated bucket waterer tend to start freezing at the low positive teens and the heat-tape waterer in the high positive teens. For really cold conditions, we just use premade Avian Aqua Miser Originals, which are easy to bring inside overnight. I hope that helps!

Posted mid-morning Monday, March 30th, 2015
BW --- Great idea! That sounds a lot better than an electric heating pad, and I'll bet chickens would love it! We may have to do that for next winter. Any chance you have a photo you'd like to share of your setup? If so, please email it to anna@kitenet.net and we'll put it on the blog so other readers can put on their own thinking caps.
Posted mid-morning Monday, March 30th, 2015

Anonymous --- Keeping the room around the incubator warm will definitely make it much easier to raise the humidity levels inside your incubator. Amanda's tips above are also very handy --- I hadn't thought of them before, but they sound like they should work well!

As for taking the chicks out one by one or waiting, it's all about humidity levels. You must keep the humidity high in the incubator during hatch, and if the exterior air is too dry, you can cause problems by opening the incubator repeatedly. That said, I prefer to take chicks out once they've hatched so they don't accidentally harm other chicks who aren't yet out of the egg. So it's up to you and your ability to manage humidity. Good luck!

Posted mid-morning Monday, March 30th, 2015
Eric --- That's a great idea! The only thing I know about catalpa worms is that they are, I believe, what defoliated my father's tree in South Carolina. That's definitely something to research, and might explain why catalpas are a common yard tree in farm areas around here.
Posted mid-morning Monday, March 30th, 2015
Thinking of growing worms on trees, have you considered catalpa worms?
Posted Sunday evening, March 29th, 2015
Where is t/"RSS button"?
Posted at teatime on Saturday, March 28th, 2015
Hi, I wanted to learn more about the blood ring & what it means. Thanks for t/pics, very helpful.
Posted at teatime on Saturday, March 28th, 2015
Hi im new to using the incubator, my incubators humidity only goes to 50 at max, will i have to keep my room warm for the humidity level to get higher te first few days? Also when chicks start pipping out one by one, are we supposed to take them out of the incubator as soon as they are out? Or wait for all to peep out?
Posted Wednesday evening, March 25th, 2015

I would think if you are trying to give the chickens a warm location to play in just setting up the window and insulating the other sides would help a lot. Think of your new cold frames but for chickens. They would get a nice solar heater where they could take their dust baths and a place to warm up.

I did thin unintentionally this winter with a "shelter" between my coop and barn (for the chicken's to run in). I used a cattle panel and put some tarps over 3/4 of it. Then some clear plastic over the last part. As a result the chickens had a sunny dry place that they used heavily. I saw many deep dust bathing locations in there.

Posted Tuesday afternoon, March 24th, 2015
Casey A. Butler heated water
Hey, I'm a city chicken keeper. Girls in tractors.Limited to 4 hens. I was going to get the original 3 pack due to space saving. Can I heat the original with heat tape or a deicer of types? We live in Northern MI. This winter we hit -40s repeatedly and so I really want to not have water worries along with my "are my chickens freezing?!" worries. Thanks for any help!
Posted at lunch time on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Anonymous comment 4
Pawpaw (Asimina Triloba)is pollinated by the Monarch Butterfly, Carrion Beetle, Carrion Fly, Lady Bug, and many more insects attracted to rotting meat (look at and smell the flowers). The trouble is that wild patches tend to be of a single seed genetic mono-culture with multiple trees suckered up off the roots of a single parent, so you'll collect pollen from one area to take to a different area to pollinate. Hand pollination is useless unless you get pollen from different set of genetic parents. Grafting scion wood into a patch from another patch from another area can increase cross pollination. These areas may be any distance not possibly connected underground by the roots, say 50 feet with no pawpaw trees in between. Check out the Ohio Paw Paw Festival near Albany, OH.
Posted late Monday morning, March 23rd, 2015
Curious --- We followed Carol Deppe's lead and chose Ancona ducks.
Posted early Monday morning, March 23rd, 2015
Curious photo
What kind of ducks are these?
Posted late Wednesday evening, March 18th, 2015
I thought I would share my tips on raising the humidity those last few days. I have a humidifier right next to the incubator. I also placed shallow pans of water (I use cake pans) as close to the incubator as possible, sometimes stacking them on top of each other. And pribably the most effective for me has been getting a large towel warm and hanging it up as close to my incubator as possible.Hope this helps, I know how frusterating controlling the humidity can be.
Posted late Tuesday afternoon, March 17th, 2015
julie --- Usually when I hear about a rooster overmating hens, I say that it's because there are too few hens for the rooster. However, 19 hens should spread him pretty thin! Instead, I'm guessing they don't have enough space to roam, which often makes even hens peck at each others' feathers.
Posted at lunch time on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
N. Sue Grinstead Why I like my E Z Miser

Why I like..no Why I love my E Z Miser.My flock of feathered friends are very special to me. They entertain me with their antics and sing to me during the day.My girls run to meet me when they see me coming like a long lost friend. My feathered friends provide my family with one of the most healthy foods available,eggs.Naturally I want the best for them.Using the EZ Miser they can have the cleanest water available at anytime.I have peace of mind knowing the needed water will be clean and healthy. Having the water dispensed as they need it alleviates the spills that creates a dirty, muddy environment. Having cleaner, disease free eggs ,chickens and pen is very important in successful chicken farming.I guess what I liked most about my EZ Mizer was the ability to assemble it myself. Since the chickens were my contribution to our little farm I took pride in easily constructing the best source of water available to my feathered friends.

Posted at lunch time on Thursday, March 12th, 2015
julie comment 36
I have 19 hens and 1 rooster and all the tail feathers and feathers off the hens back and bottoms are plucked off is this from the rooster and how do I stop it
Posted at lunch time on Monday, March 9th, 2015
cindy --- I hear your frustration --- hatching your own eggs can be so daunting the first time around! By now, hopefully your chicks have hatched --- if they haven't at least pipped by day 23, I'd do a float test and then pull the plug. Here's hoping it all worked out for you!
Posted at noon on Monday, March 9th, 2015
cindy comment 15
Thus Is My First Time Trying To Hatch Eggs in The INCUBATOR Today Is Day 22 I Have 4 Eggs That SUPPOSE To Hatch Only 1 Started So Far Nothing Yet With The Other 3 I Can't Get My HUMINITY To Go Up Past 45 I Have The Water Chambers And Also A Wet Wash Cloth IN It is it Normal that some eggs take longer? If they don't start hatching could I try and open the eggs to see of the chick is even alive? I am so frustrated about this please help
Posted Friday night, March 6th, 2015
angie silvera comment 1
Glad they are starting to lay again!
Posted at lunch time on Friday, March 6th, 2015

Debra --- During the early stages, improper humidity isn't going to cause much of a problem. I generally weigh the eggs every couple of days, and use that to determine whether I need to increase or decrease the humidity. The danger of extended periods of low humidity early on is that you could make the eggs lose weight faster than you want them to, which would give the chicks inside less room to develop.

Only when you're getting ready to hatch do you need to boost the humidity up to the point that you'll need to add a washcloth to the bottom.

Posted Monday afternoon, March 2nd, 2015

Ducks don't like change...any sudden change can stop a ducks production...sudden food change,,, really anything! Even something like not getting as much water as they are used to. If you don't have a bucket in your coop they can dunk their heads in that would be stressful to them also... That's where chickens have an advantage.. much more resilient to changes.

Posted late Wednesday morning, February 25th, 2015
Debra Grubbs Low humidity
I am using the Octagon 20 Advance and placed the eggs in today. I have both water troughs filled and still can not get the humidity past 39%. I have opened the incubator several times today and don't want to open again until tomorrow. Should I put the wash cloth in there at that time to increase the humidity? Is there a danger to the low humidity at this early stage?
Posted Tuesday evening, February 24th, 2015
Shirley --- I suspect that those people are talking about a related red sex-link variety. Golden Comets are a hybrid of a White Rock female and a New Hampshire male.
Posted mid-morning Monday, February 23rd, 2015
Nazir Seedat Pastured Poultry
This man has lots of wisdom that can be shared. I have ordered his book before I begin with this venture.
Posted early Friday morning, February 20th, 2015
Shirley Question

Why do some people say that the golden comet comes from a RIR rooster and RIR white hen? Is this correct? Thanks

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
angie comment 1

It's so hard to find a good broody hen,,, I had a really broody hen for a few years... but here's the weird part,, she would sit around 8 eggs and only hatch out 2 or 3 typically,,, but when she sat duck eggs she would hatch every one of them! I though it was the bloodline but I tried several,,, My best fail proof incubators are muscovy ducks ,, they sit and hatch everything , great moms! Plus their eggs are outstanding,,, so is the meat. The worst thing about them is clipping the wing once a year or they might fly away.

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
les cats
Why are there no responses to stray cats... they have hammered me time after time.. trapping works well.. even got a small doxin dog and spray painted him green and released.. he hasnt been back as thje owners now know to keep it home ;)
Posted Monday evening, February 9th, 2015

I'm trying to grow most of my ducks and chickens food... a crop I've had great success with is greens... I can grow mass amounts of them , they are so easy,they are cool weather crops, so they are perfect when there's not much grass. I grow them covered and uncovered. The poultry love them! When I feed a bucket of greens they barely touch their regular food.

Posted late Sunday afternoon, February 8th, 2015
Richard --- Interesting --- I hadn't heard of the device you're talking about. Without a name to google, though, I can't be sure they're not still out there.
Posted mid-morning Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Richard Paul Killing chickens

60+ years ago me had a tool that was like e pruning tool. You Put the blade in the mouth and the blade went up into the brain. Is anyone making these today?

Posted Monday afternoon, February 2nd, 2015
I raised a few wyandotte chicks last summer. It was a great experience. I made several waterers throughout this time. My favorite was a 1-3 gallon bucket with 4 nipples. It was my favorite until we hit a -20° Fahrenheit snap. I had an aquarium heater in the bucket, but the nipples still froze up because of the metal parts in them. I will probably go back to this for summer, but I am trying out 3"-4" standing pvc with a 3 way piece at the bottom. The angled side open for drinking, the top with a removable cap for filling, and the bottom sealed. No metal parts to freeze with fish tank heater. I may not get the extreme cold again this year, but I will be prepared for next time.
Posted Sunday afternoon, January 25th, 2015
saheed onayiga layer mash formula

I wuld appreciate it if common and proper laying birds feed formula could be analyse to me. 2nks Saheed onayiga

Posted at teatime on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Anonymous --- We haven't used push-in nipples because they tend to be much lower quality, and we like our waterers to go the distance. So I can't tell you for sure whether they'd work in this application or not.
Posted late Monday morning, January 19th, 2015
Cindy --- It's hard to know what might be going on without seeing your chicks. It's normal for one chick to start hatching before the others, but the fact that it didn't make it out of the egg suggests that something went wrong with your hatch. I'd recommend letting it run for a couple more days just in case someone hatches out, then doing an autopsy so you'll know what went wrong for next time. My incubation handbook will give you a lot more details.
Posted late Monday morning, January 19th, 2015
Cindy harris comment 11
I just lost a chick starting hatching yesterday had a hole in egg but no progress in 24 hours lots a rolling and chirpingI didnt know if I should help checked on it its no longer breathing. The chick was breathing hard earlier is that normal or was it struggling for air? I removed one of the plugs from incubator but them I was having trouble with humidity. This was my first attempt to hatch by incubator so any pointers would help . Did I open lid too much? I still have eggs that should be hatching now but no noise or movement.
Posted Friday night, January 16th, 2015
Anonymous comment 7

Can you use the push in nipples vs a screw in type?

Thank you

Posted Wednesday evening, January 14th, 2015
chiken person --- Very good point about adding a thermostat to any light shining on the nipple! A Thermocube is relatively inexpensive and should do the trick nicely.
Posted late Tuesday morning, January 13th, 2015
chiken person chiken whater
I live in Minnesota where temperature can reach -50. The only way to keep chicken nipple not frozen on the bottom is to have 250watt light bulb. I use 5gal bucket and heat tape with insulation. on the bottom light bulb pointing on nipples. Then extra thermostat for the bulb. Put thermostats everywhere or pay hi electrical bill like $100 month in winter. The problem fire hazard, hi electrical bill and if bulb die on you that's it.
Posted in the wee hours of Wednesday night, January 8th, 2015
Oreste --- Thanks for your interest. We only sell our chicken nipples as part of our premade waterers or kits. The least expensive and simplest option is our Avian Aqua Miser Original kits. I hope that helps.
Posted late Tuesday morning, January 6th, 2015
peter snailfeed
that looks very promising ive been looking for ways to commercially propagate golden snail as substitute for expensive fishmeal can anybody help me please? tnx
Posted in the wee hours of Sunday night, January 5th, 2015

I am sorry you don't have a phone number to call. I don't see a way to choose how to buy just 5 of those nipples. And what is their price?

Thanks for your attention.

Posted late Sunday night, January 5th, 2015
Bernadette Laberge-Walker comment 1
Looking forward to it.
Posted at lunch time on Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Michael Hatfield chicken missing/death
I am staying at my Sons house and he had 5 chickens and one came up missing.We found remains next day in neighboring backyard. All we found was the legs that were ripped from the body. /There is a dog next door and I am thinking it is possible that the chicken got over there and the dog killed it. Is it possible for me to send a picture via text to someon there. I can take a pic with my cell and send it to you. Very puzzleing.....
Posted at noon on Thursday, December 18th, 2014
I wonder if there's some way to hook that heat connection up to a solar panel?
Posted Sunday evening, December 7th, 2014
I just completed my transaction for an EZ Miser and I simply cannot wait to receive it!!
Posted Tuesday evening, December 2nd, 2014
Brandy comment 15
Thank You, Anna. I wasn't sure how big the bucket was. With my husband always out of town on business, the kit isn't much of an option since I am not handy with a drill...but 1-2 of these would probably work very well for my flock. Thanks!!
Posted Tuesday evening, December 2nd, 2014
Brandy --- On a hot summer day, you might need to fill your EZ Miser two or three times a week, but in cooler weather, it would last much longer. Of course, with a five-gallon bucket (made with one of our kits), you could go weeks between fillings even in the summer. I hope that helps you decide!
Posted mid-morning Monday, December 1st, 2014
Brandy comment 13
How often will I be refilling the EX Miser for 5 hens and 1 Roo? Would it be better to buy the kit and use a bigger bucket?
Posted at lunch time on Saturday, November 29th, 2014
Amy Opossum?
We have been having a lot of visits from Coopers and Red Tail hawks in our suburban yard lately, so at first, I thought when I found one of my chickens dead that a hawk was the culprit. I have 8 chickens and only one was dead. And it was in the middle of the day. When I inspected it, I noticed that her head was missing completely, her spine had been ripped out and all of her organs except her gizzard were missing. Her crop was torn open, but remained untouched otherwise. No blood. Whatever attacked her went in through her back. It didn't eat any of her breast meat at all. When I looked at your list, I thought maybe an Opossum, even though I have lived here 20 years and have never seen one. My yard has a 6 foot fence all around it. This is the first time in 4 years we have had an "incident" like this. The first time, it was two chickens inside what I thought was a varmint proof coop. We think that time (little bloody footprints) that it was a Fisher Cat. This time, I am not sure. What do you think?
Posted in the wee hours of Monday night, November 25th, 2014
Emily comment 1
If the problem is the smoothness of the box can you take sandpaper and rough it up a bit?
Posted Monday evening, November 24th, 2014
laura --- Thanks for your interest! All of the waterers on this page require no assembly, but the kits on a different page will require you to build the waterer yourself.
Posted early Monday morning, November 17th, 2014
Emma --- Thanks so much for looking that up! Definitely sounds like less of a good idea now. :-/ I'll have to research further and see if the slightly green seeds I have are a risk even pre-sprouting. Maybe that's why no one wanted to eat them....
Posted early Monday morning, November 17th, 2014

Looks like sprouting sorghum is not recommended. Sprouted seedlings have a very high cyanide content, and are therefore poisonous for both human and animal consumption.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1984.tb13212.x/abstract

(Although I haven't looked for other sources to confirm this research.)

Posted Wednesday afternoon, November 12th, 2014
HI! A quick question, is the avian aqua miser all set to go or is there any assembly?
Posted at lunch time on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Emma --- Good idea! That's definitely worth trying!
Posted late Wednesday morning, November 5th, 2014
Even if they don't like the grains themselves, I wonder if the sorghum might be more appealing later in winter, or maybe if it were sprouted first. Haven't tried it myself, just wondered.
Posted late Wednesday morning, October 29th, 2014
Emily --- I'd never even heard of such a thing! That would be hilarious. :-)
Posted late Monday morning, October 27th, 2014
Emily comment 1
I'm imagining a duck/egg version of the automatic cat boxes that use sensors to clean the box after the cat leaves. Only those don't work so well, the cat tends to be afraid of them. LOL
Posted at noon on Monday, October 20th, 2014
RubyB --- Good question! I'm not 100% sure why he tells you to age the chips. The more I think about it, unless you think your chickens would be eating the sawdust (which they shouldn't if they have plenty of good food available), fresh would probably be better since the manure from your chickens will cause them to decompose anyway. Please do report back with your results!
Posted mid-morning Thursday, October 16th, 2014
I think this is a very handy chart, however, it isn't foolproof. Based on the chart, I thought we were dealing with an opossum (birds found, abdomen eaten). We set a trap for several nights without it being touched. Then, last night, my husband walked up on a DOG eating one of our hens in our hay barn. This dog was not killing for sport and leaving the bodies. It was killing and eating for survival. I just wanted to share in case anyone else experienced something similar, do not rule out dogs just because the carcass has been eaten on! Now, we have to figure out a solution to the dog problem, it seemed to be feral as it took off as soon as it saw my husband...he's sneaky and has been coming at various times of the day, so there's no set pattern. And last night was the first time we ever saw him.
Posted early Wednesday morning, October 15th, 2014

Harvey Ussery, in his excellent book, which I checked out from the library, says one can use undried wood chips as long as they are aged. How long do they need to age? We just had to cut down a 100 year old apple tree and 5 ailing, 25-ft tall juniper-type trees. I have about 2 cubic yards of chips and shredded, fine material from this. I would like to know how long it needs to age before I can use it.

Also, do I need to cover the chip pile?

Most of my 35 inches of annual rain fall comes between October and June.

I was thinking of placing a couple of old wood pallets on top of the chip pile and then draping a tarp over that. My goal is to keep the chips from becoming too damp, yet to allow good air flow by not laying the tarp directly on the pile.

If I can get the plastic plumbing pipe cheaply, what would the effect be if I put some vertical pvc pipe with holes drilled in to allow more air into the center of the pile.

Thanks for the help.

Posted Friday afternoon, October 10th, 2014
Anonymous heated waterers
I use a bucket wrapped in reflectix insulation with a 50watt aquarium heater also wrap my PVC in heat tape and wrap them in reflectix duct insulation. With below zero weather my chickens water was toasty :-)
Posted at lunch time on Friday, October 10th, 2014
CAB Nifty!
I love chickens and I'm hoping to set up my coop and have my very own within the next year( as soon as we can!) I've helped care for chickens year after year at my Aunt's and frozen water is the worst!I ran across an eBook which led me here and Im super excited to try this out! Only problem is we hit -30 degree F this past winter and will likely continue to do so. Hoping and hoping that this works because it would save my tub from defrosting water every couple hours on those days :-/. I'll come back and update in 2 years...
Posted late Tuesday evening, October 7th, 2014
Morgan --- Our Avian Aqua Miser Original kits include lots of photos and step-by-step instructions for various types of PVC chicken waterers. I can't answer your second question since I haven't built a feeder just like Darren's, but I have seen several similar ones in action, and the weight of the extra pellets in the vertical tube seems to be enough to push the pellets out to the side. I hope that helps! If you build your own, I'd love to see a photo --- just email it to info@avianaqumiser.com.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014
Kathy --- Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see your photos once you're done. If you have trouble posting them here, just email them to info@avianaquamiser.com and I'll add them to the site.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014
Anonymous --- You can read all of our training tips here. The short version is --- you'll need to take their old waterer out the night before, but most chickens don't need training beyond that.
Posted Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014

Here are some mistakes or lessons learned from our urban area as we begin building our second.

  1. Chicken Arks are awkward. The space for the birds is small and since they are shaped like a triangle you have to lean in at an awkward angle to clean. The roost is the same height as the nest boxes so they sleep in the nest boxes (poopy eggs.)

  2. Plan for deep bedding. Make sure door thresholds and access doors are high enough off the ground so the bedding doesn't spill out and effect the doors from shutting easily.

  3. Removable and/or easy to clean floor. Our new coop will have a tray that will have deep bedding in it (including sides) with linoleum in the bottom so when the bedding is changed it can be pulled out and dumped easily into the compost bin.

  4. Make the floor high enough that the bedding can be raked out directly to a wheel barrow (if needed see #3 above). Also make sure the coop is high enough that the feeder can be kept under the coop outside so it is protected from rain. Having the feeder in the run will reduce the footprint of the coop.

  5. Predator proof means 1/2" hardware cloth all around the coop and run when they are unattended.

  6. Composting/chickens/garden should be incorporated closer together since they have direct relationships to each other. This means less time moving materials (Garden > Chicken coop > Compost > Garden) and also requires less infrastructure (compost in chicken coop, chicken coop over part of the garden?)

  7. Access to electricity for keeping the water unfrozen during the winter is necessary.

  8. Making the feeder and waterer easily refillable without having to enter the coop or run is good for out of town trips.

Posted at lunch time on Monday, October 6th, 2014
I have an established flock of 7 birds of varying ages and want to build a heated waterer for the upcoming winter using water nipples to replace an older waterer. Will they naturally figure out how to get water out of the nipple or is there a technique for teaching an old bird new tricks?
Posted Sunday night, October 5th, 2014
Kathy Brown Food grade bucket

I am going to try it with these 4.25 gallon buckets. They are food grade materials. I made my summer waterer with a 6 gallon bucket and a gamma lid for easy access to clean and fill.

I will post pictures when I make one.

4.25 gallon bucket: http://beprepared.com/4-25-gallon-bucket-with-lid.html

Gamma lid: http://beprepared.com/gamma-seal-lid-white.html

Posted early Monday morning, September 29th, 2014
Hi there, I LOVE this feeder and am building one right now! two questions: You said you built a similar looking waterer using the chicken nipples-could you please post a photo of what you did and what I need to buy? And for the feeder....do you have any trouble with the feed reaching all the way across the openings? Thanks for sharing, this is AWESOME!
Posted at teatime on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Mom of two girls and three cats frustrated!!!
I have been using these for several months now. It worked great at first but the tires kept going flat. I changed to 13" tires. My challenge is that when they are tight they work great, after about two weeks they loosen and get progressively worse until it us almost immovable. :0 (
Posted terribly early Thursday morning, September 18th, 2014







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