it’s hot, damn hot – or, how i forced the chickens to drink cool, CLEAN water.

we’ve had our chickens for a few months now and love them to all their henny bits. they’re silly and adorable and we still can’t believe we’re eating eggs from our own backyard. but their uncanny ability to actually poop in their own water dish has been a bit of a struggle to deal with. it’s been in the 90s for a couple weeks now and today it’s supposed to hit 100 and, like all animals, the number one thing the chickens need to deal with the heat is a constant supply of cool, clean water. i willingly put ice cubes in their waterer every day (and in lucius’s water bottle too) but you can’t imagine how frustrating it is to go out a few hours later and see that they’ve kicked hay and dirt into the dish they drink from or there’s a big turd floating in the dish, slowly getting mushier. two or three times a day, i swish the dirty water out and end up having to refill the gallon reservoir more often because of the waste.

i can’t remember how i first heard about ‘chicken nipples’ but after i did some internet research on DIY chicken waterers, i couldn’t wait to order some. no, chickens don’t have nipples like people do – these are nipples FOR chickens. you’ll see what i mean. i also ordered an inexpensive lidded bucket and made a trip (okay, several trips) to the hardware store for pvc pipe, fittings and a rubber washer.

here they are – the components for my new chicken waterer. except a few fittings and the rubber washer, which i learned later was necessary to keep the hole in the bucket (dear liza, dear liza) from leaking much of the water out. the chicken nipples are the red bits to the left of the bucket.
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and here’s the project in its nearly finished stage – holes for nipples drilled, nipples inserted (the red bits poking out from one of the pipes have a little metal bit that the chickens lick at, which releases water into their mouths), and elbows attached but not screwed in very tight yet.
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finally – here’s the end result. you can see that the bucket is on the outside of the chicken run and it has a lid. that’s right, chickens – there’s no way you can kick dirt into or poop in THIS water. the first length of pvc pipe extends via a 90 degree elbow from the hole i cut in the bottom of the bucket, and the nipples are in a nice line at a 90 degree angle from the second elbow. it’s much easier for me to fill the bucket with ice and cool water now and the water should stay nice and clean.
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veronica took to the new watering system pretty quickly. amelia and estelle have pecked at different parts of the pipe and have found the spot at the second elbow that’s leaking a bit and are at least drinking from there. i’m pretty confident they’ll figure out soon what the nipples are for. i am kind of bummed about the leak at that elbow and considering letting the water run dry and trying to tighten up that elbow a bit. but for now, it’s fine and i feel much better about the chickens surviving this wicked hot day.

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for myself, i’m going to the a/c at the movies. doesn’t even matter what movie it is.
stay cool, y’all.

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