Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How to make a heated bucket chicken waterer


Last week, I summed up our previous experiments with heated bucket waterers and mentioned that we're trying version 2.0 this year.  Mark and I considered trying to make this heated chicken waterer a premade product that you can buy on our website, but we couldn't figure out a way to make it cheap enough to be worth your while.  So, instead, Mark decided to give it away.  The video above (starting around 2 minutes and 45 seconds in) walks you through creating our new-and-improved heated chicken waterer.  Supplies you'll need include:

Making a heated chicken watererIn addition, if you don't drill your hole well (and this one can be a little tricky), you'll need some kind of sealant to keep the waterer from leaking around the nipple.  Mark's favorite choices there include plumber's tape and Rectorseal #5 Pipe Thread Sealant.  Don't go out and buy sealant right away, though, because if you're good with your tools, you should be able to make the heated chicken waterer without it.

I hope several of you try out this design and report back.  I'd love to hear how it holds up in different parts of the country (and world!).



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I wonder if the nipple would freeze solid in Eastern Ontario winters at -20 celsius.
Comment by Rudy late Tuesday evening, November 12th, 2013
Rudy --- When I saw your question on facebook, I thought you were talking Fahrenheit, not Celsius. -4 Fahrenheit is still pretty cold, but might be something you could work around. I don't know yet, but we do have an early data point that's looking hopeful. It got down to 14 Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius) here this week and the nipples were still in good shape.
Comment by anna at lunch time on Friday, November 15th, 2013

We just attempted to make this bucket last night, put it in the coop, and discovered this morning that it does leak. The nipples were really hard to get in the holes - in order to seal them, do we need to remove them and add the plumber's tape and or Rectorseal? Or can we add the Rectorseal or silicone caulk around the nipple?

One other question we had is if the nipples themselves will leak on this bucket since they are at an angle, instead of being straight up and down?

We are super excited about this bucket, and very grateful that you posted info about it!

Thanks! Sarah

Comment by Sarah late Friday morning, November 22nd, 2013

Sarah --- Those are good questions. It does take some skill to drill the hole in the side of a bucket without it leaking, but the plumber's take or rectorseal should fix you right up. You will want to unscrew the nipple (carefully so you don't damage the threads), apply either one, then screw it back in. If using the latter, let it dry for 24 hours before refilling your waterer.

If your angle is too great, the nipples will leak, but if you follow Mark's lead, they won't. You want to make sure the nipples go in at no more than 30 degrees away from vertical.

I'd love to see a photo once you get the kinks worked out and have your waterer in action!

Comment by anna Monday afternoon, November 25th, 2013
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...
Comment by CAB late Tuesday evening, October 7th, 2014
I wonder if there's some way to hook that heat connection up to a solar panel?
Comment by Nayan Sunday evening, December 7th, 2014

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

Thank you

Comment by Anonymous Wednesday evening, January 14th, 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.
Comment by anna late Monday morning, January 19th, 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.
Comment by Tracy Sunday afternoon, January 25th, 2015

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

Comment by jeannec at teatime on Friday, June 26th, 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.
Comment by anna Monday afternoon, June 29th, 2015
Is the 2 gallon bucket used instead of the 5 gallon for any reason? Have you tried the 5Gal by same manufacturer?
Comment by Donald late Tuesday night, July 15th, 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!
Comment by anna mid-morning Monday, July 20th, 2015






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