Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Rain barrel chicken waterer

Rain barrel chicken waterer

We call our chicken waterers "automatic", but the truth is that you do eventually have to fill the buckets, whether that's once a week or once a month.  That's why I was so thrilled to see Glenn Ingram Jr.'s waterer, which used gutters to capture rainwater, creating a truly automatic chicken waterer.  Assuming the pipes don't clog up and there's no drought, Glenn's flock should keep right on drinking no matter what.


Glenn installed a gutter on his coop with a two inch pipe coming down to fill a five gallon bucket.  He recommends upgrading to a three inch pipe if your coop is much larger, but says his setup works great.

Screens on top of the gutters and below the downspout keep the water clean and prevent debris from filling up the bucket waterer.  Glenn mentioned that small particulates still make their way into the water, but the specks of dirt haven't caused a problem during the eight months his waterer has been in operation so far.

Heated bucket watererGlenn's reservoir stays unfrozen due to sandwiching heat tape between two buckets.  He added an innovative level indicator on the outside of the bucket to keep an eye on water levels without entering the coop.

Glenn wrote:

"So far, this has been a maintenance-free system. I have not had to fill this since I first installed it.

"I had 12 chickens on this system through the winter and they never even came close to emptying their water. I just keep an eye on the water level indicator when I feed them.

"It rains often enough here that it is simply kept full by the rain. Even a very light rain will fill this bucket as anyone with a rain barrel will know.

"Obviously, this would not work in the winter if your temperatures are too low to allow rain or melting of snow. We had an extremely mild winter so there were no problems."

Stay tuned for more photos next week of Glenn's chicken tractor system.  Thanks for sharing such a well designed and beautifully photographed system, Glenn!

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