Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers


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keeping eggs clean with a roll out nest box

What's the best way to keep duck eggs clean?

Fix the nest box so they gently roll into a hardware wire cage.

Secure some fake grass to the floor at an angle to make rolling slow and smooth. We have not tried this method yet, still in the research stage, but it seems like the best low budget way of making sure your eggs stay clean.

Posted early Friday morning, October 31st, 2014 Tags:
do chickens like sorghum?

We grew some sorghum this year to see if our chickens would eat it.

They gave it the old sniff and scratch, but didn't seem even remotely interested.

On a plus note our new goats seem to enjoy eating the leaves.

Posted early Wednesday morning, October 29th, 2014 Tags:
rooster taking care of ducks?

Will a rooster protect ducks that are part of his flock?

I think it would depend on the rooster.

Our rooster seems somewhat indifferent to ducks. I've observed him leaving the ducks by themselves to tend to one of his ladies. He might attack a predator that is threatening his flock and the ducks, but I doubt if he would intervene if a hawk was trying to eat one of our ducks.

Posted early Thursday morning, October 23rd, 2014 Tags:
duck nest box with egg and golf ball

It took a while, but our ducks finally started laying in the duck nest box.

The one problem is dirty eggs. The next duck that comes in has dirty feet and transfers some of that mud and dirt to the eggs that were there before.

Maybe some sort of egg alert system could notify a human to go get an egg before the next duck decides she needs to lay one?

Posted early Monday morning, October 20th, 2014 Tags:
Golden Spiral chicken tractor

The shape of galaxies and the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem are both examples of how the Golden Spiral can be expressed in nature.

Is there any Golden Spiral geometry in a backyard chicken?

Nothing has been discovered yet, but Marchelo gets my award for the most mathmatically inspired chicken tractor by building his poultry sculpture in a way that mimics the Golden Spiral.

Posted early Thursday morning, October 16th, 2014 Tags:


This is the time of year when we start getting a lot of questions about
heated chicken waterers.  If you follow the link in the last sentence, you can see all of the experiments we've made with heated waterers over the years.  Our favorite at the moment is the combination of a heated bucket and our 3 pack DIY Avian Aqua Miser Original kit (without drill bit), constructed as shown in the video above and good down to about 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

We liked this option so much that, last summer, we were considering turning it into a premade product available here on our website.  However, Farm Innovators wasn't willing to give us much of a cut on buying their heated buckets in bulk, and the price we were going to have to charge to make a profit after paying for shipping twice ($150) seemed too extreme.  So we opted to instead give the idea away to anyone who would like to make their own at home.

Making a heated chicken watererHowever, I've had several emails from folks saying that making their own heated bucket waterer following our instructions is just too hard.  Could we please sell them a premade heated waterer?  We do have ten heated buckets collecting dust on the porch, so I figured we might as well move them to new homes at a reduced rate.  So, until we sell out, you can buy a premade heated bucket waterer for $100 using the buy-now button below.  (These are only for shipment within the U.S., and shipping is free.)  I don't know if anyone will be interested, but it's possible these will sell out fast, so snap them up while they're available!

Edited to add: We sold out in the first 24 hours!  Mark found two more buckets in the barn after I first posted, but he had me hold them back just in case he has trouble constructing any of the first ten.  Since he hasn't streamlined the process, problems can arise, and he only wants to send out perfect waterers.  If you want to be added to the waiting list for these possible last two heated buckets, drop me an email at info@avianaquamiser.com and I'll let you know this week whether we have extras available.  Thanks to everyone who ordered!


A few of you also asked if we thought our EZ Miser kits would be a good fit with the heated bucket.  I'm less keen on this idea since I think that having the nipple so far away from the heating element will make it freeze faster.  However, if you're only looking for a heated waterer good down into the 20s Fahrenheit, then this might be a good (albeit untested) option.  And we're willing to make your premade heated bucket waterer this way if you leave a note with your order (or email info@avianaquamiser.com afterwards).  I'll be very curious to hear your reports on how much cold an EZ Miser heated bucket will handle!

While we're talking heated chicken waterers, I'm always looking for new, innovative ideas to share with our readers.  Please drop me an email or leave a comment if you want to share your ideas!

Posted early Monday morning, October 13th, 2014 Tags:
cut chick in a hand

Perdue Farms has been experimenting with probiotics in an effort to raise chickens without anitbiotics for the past 5 years.

Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium seem to be the top three of poultry probiotics.

Probiotics might be a worthwhile experiment if we were raising large numbers of Free Range-Organic-Antibiotic Free chickens to sell for a profit. We briefly considered trying that back in our early days. The conclusion we came to was that people in our area would not be willing to pay the extra amount for the increased quality. I'm not sure a medium sized chicken grower could operate a small probiotic lab and still be cost effective?

Posted early Thursday morning, October 9th, 2014 Tags:
mistakes to avoid when building a chicken coop

When I built our first chicken coop we were short on both time and money.

Someday I'd like to build a bigger and better coop incorporating some of the lessons we've learned over the years since we first started raising chickens.

1. Make the door big enough for a wheelbarrow.

We took a couple doors off an old camper and regret not being able to have the extra elbow room. A regular or oversized door would make coop cleaning a whole lot easier.

2. Use increments of 8 to choose how big you want to go.

In my opinion the length or width should not be shorter than 8 feet. Keep in mind a sheet of plywood is 8x4.

3. Make it a tight fit.

You might get lucky the first year or two, but eventually a local predator will come sniffing around. I noticed we've got a problem with little birds swooping in to feast on laying pellets.

Posted early Monday morning, October 6th, 2014 Tags:
using an old chest freezer to store chicken feed

An old freezer makes a good rodent proof container to store chicken feed.

We recently cleaned this one up to keep the mice out.

Put it in the shade to prevent water condensation.

Posted early Thursday morning, October 2nd, 2014 Tags:
above view of new duck nest box

The new duck nest box has yet to attract any ducks.

We think the front door might need to be larger.

Maybe a short plastic trash can would have been tall enough?

Posted early Monday morning, September 29th, 2014 Tags:
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HI,

I just purchased your chicken nipples and bit, but I have a question since I'm new in the chicken world. Do chickens need direct sun almost all day to lay eggs or are they happy with a few hours in the morning and streams of sun through the trees. They are out in there pen from 8am until dusk.

thanks

Comment by suzanne roemer late Wednesday evening, July 27th, 2011

Especially in the summer, chickens will actually gravitate toward the shade. They do like to have some sunny spots for dust-bathing, and like more sun in the winter.

The longer the day length, the better your chickens will lay. But that doesn't mean they need to be in direct sunlight during that time, just that there needs to be enough light to keep them awake and active.

Comment by anna late Saturday afternoon, July 30th, 2011

My chickens go out of there way to try and find sources of the stuff, I have Styrofoam (polystyrene actually) insulating the outside of my package heat pump. They finally figured it out and have peck/eaten a large chuck out of one section, maybe 1 ft in diameter. They have found the stuff before, and they didn't seem to have any adverse affects, I try to keep them out of harms way. I assume they will be fine this time, and I have blocked them off from the area. but my question is, Should I eat the eggs? I have 2 buff orpingtons and a white silkie(the bad influence).They are known as betty white and the golden girls. the buffs had just started laying a few days ago. Any ideas?

Comment by David L at noon on Thursday, February 9th, 2012
I've heard from other people whose chickens go after styrofoam. I figure it can't be good for them, so I'd do my best to keep them away from it. As long as the chickens are healthy, though, I doubt it will affect the eggs, but I don't really know!
Comment by anna Thursday evening, February 9th, 2012
i have a week old chick that was doing fine until yesterday. Now he is not eating and just standing around or sleeping. I put him in a box by himself with a heating pad. I have been trying to get him to drink water with probiotics and electrolites. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Comment by Anonymous at teatime on Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Anonymous --- I'm so sorry to hear about your sick chick! Unfortunately, chicks sometimes just dwindle away, especially if they had some trauma in the egg or soon after hatching that didn't show up at the time. That said, solitary confinement in a warm place sometimes helps them bounce back, so it sounds like you're doing just the right thing.
Comment by anna early Sunday morning, June 24th, 2012
I cook for my chickens.I have four girls. in the morning they get laying food and cracked corn then I give then lettuce and bread they go gaga for it. in the afternoon they get a combo of rice flax seed sucker seed canned green beans. they don't get anything green in Michigan in the winter unless I give it to them. they never got the memo that they don't lay in the winter. their pen is protected and there is no snow in their pen i live my girls.i live in the city and have never had chickens before
Comment by Linda Monday night, March 25th, 2013
Linda --- Sounds like you've got happy chickens!
Comment by anna late Monday morning, April 1st, 2013

I was contemplating buying a hydroponic system for Fodder production (green forage) for my horses. With the rising, and unrelenting price of fuel to make the hay, hay has become very expensive ($5.50-7/bale)with NO end in sight. I wanted to be sure that my horses would eat this type of forage readily. I started to grow it in my DARK- no light available- cellar. Fodder can be grown without any light source, but it will be white and not green. I did, however, use a grow light for 2hrs/day. This made the fodder very green. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the water amount needed just right, but it worked. The animal consumes everything in the tray at the end of the week, seed casing, roots and all. There is no dirt, and the animals do LOVE it. Since fodder can be fed to ALL livestock, I fed to my ducks, chickens, and horses throughout the winter. basically as a treat, as I was only using seed starter trays, and my cellar isn't that big to have the number of trays I would need on a single layer all over my floor. ;) You need to soak untreated seed- Barley works the BEST! And, 85% of it is digestible, so they get a lot of good nutrition from the fodder, unlike hay which is 15% digestible. Protein levels of barley fodder equal that of corn, so you can save on feed! Steps- 1) soak seeds 15 minutes in 5 gallon bucket with 5% solution of bleach or peroxide:water ratio. You just need to make sure all the seed is covered. (you can use this solution to clean your trays after your seeds are soaked, so after the 1st day, don't throw it away. Literally, it takes only 10-15 minutes/day to maintain this feed source! 2) Rinse and fill up with only water- seeds need to soak 24hrs additional. 3) then drain again, after the 24hrs. 4) Place soaked seed inside your trays. 7lbs of DRY seed/day will fill a 12' long channel, and feed 4-6 horses and 100 chickens for the day. SO measure, and adjust the amount of seed you need, to account for how long your trays are and how many animals you need to feed. whether this is going to be your feed source, or if you are just giving them a treat. 50 for the 2nd day, I usually just use a spray bottle to water the seeds- enough to thoroughly soak them, but not enough for a lot of standing water. Then, spray every other day, put in 2cups water/tray every other day, starting on day 3. 5) Each day do a tray- with just enough for each days use. This gives you fresh fodder daily. Each tray takes 7 days to reach the right height. 6) Turn grow light on, if green fodder is wanted, for maximum of 2hrs/day. Materials needed: 5 gallon bucket; (2) 5 gallon buckets with lid are ideal! Spray bottle Water bleach or peroxide scrub brush to clean out trays before 1st use, and after every use to kill and inhibit fungi and mold growth 7 seed starter trays liquid cup measure SEED from seed distributor (online) and place to dry store seed. Garbage can with lid works great! Grow light bulb and brooder lamp works great! Spot where water run off/spillage won't damage property. I placed trays near our sump pump.

You can make your own feed, know what your chickens, ducks, and other animals are getting as a seed (you can be sure that there are no GMO's in your feed, and thus end up in your belly) And, they get fresh feed which they gobble up!

Comment by Heather Thursday afternoon, May 15th, 2014






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