Building a Chicken Nipple Waterer using a Plastic Bucket

Building a Chicken Nipple Waterer using a Plastic Bucket - Costs under $10, takes only 5 minutes to make and saves you tons of time. I only have to change my chicken water once a week. Plus it keeps the dirt and bacteria out of their water = healthy chickens!

Having lots of chickens can make for some serious chores. Cleaning out bins, changing the food and water can be a frequent workout. When my pal Trish showed me how to set up a chicken nipple waterer system for watering her chickens I just knew I needed to make it too. It keeps the dirt and other bacteria from getting into their water, and makes it so you don’t have to bring new water to them for up to a week.  Plus using 5 nipples will keep a flock of up to 20 chickens well hydrated.

So here is my little tutorial on how to make a Chicken Nipple Waterer using a 3 gallon bucket.



Where to buy Push-style Chicken Nipples you ask?

Didn’t you know chickens don’t have nipples? Tee hee. Okay, I could go on and on with jokes about chicken nipples but I will stop there.

Here are the three places I found that you can order the chicken nipples with grommets. 5 pack of push in style chicken nipples is $12.25 + free shipping with Amazon prime or free with orders of $25 or more. Buy them individually for $2.00 each plus $1.75 shipping. I purchased 3 and paid a total of $8.55 with combined shipping $2.49 each, but shipping was ridiculous.

Next you will take a 5 Gallon bucket with lid (I used a 3 gallon size since I only have 4 chickens and didn’t have as much room to hang a large one in my coop.) You can get the buckets for free from bakeries or Costco. I have even seen them for sale at Winco as well.


Using a 11/32 drill bit drill 3 holes in the bottom of your plastic bucket.


Wipe away the plastic residue from drilling.


Then dip your grommets into water.


Push them into the holes on the bottom. It can take some elbow grease folks, so push hard.


Then get the chicken nipples wet and push them through the grommet holes as well. You will most likely need a pair of pliers to push them through. We did.


Then fill your bucket with water and test to make sure they all work. When you push on them droplets of water will come out.


Hang your bucket onto something inside your coop and put the lid on.


Let the chickens enjoy! Just show them that water can come from the nipples and they will learn quickly how to use it. There are little droplets of water that hang onto each of the nipples so the chickens learn there is water there quickly.

Here is a little video showing you how my chickens are using the nipple system.

By the way, our chicken coop is coming along…here is a little sneak peek at the paint color.


It’s a bright color, no?

This is what happens when “DAD” promises the kids they can pick the color….

More pictures to come soon…stay tuned.24 Comments

Building a Chicken Nipple Waterer using a Plastic Bucket was last modified: May 17th, 2015 by Karrie

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  1. Karla Flores says:

    Found chicken nipples here locally, Basin Feed & Supply on Clearwater (Kennewick). $2.99 each. (Also my family was making fun of me while I was asking for chicken nipples.)

  2. Hey Kerrie, That is a great idea cuz I’ve found out lately that ya there always poop in the water I’m sending this link to my family to see if we can try this way out to see how it works. Thanks again.

  3. Becky E in Yakima says:

    AWESOME!! Just FYI to those in Yakima-nobody carries them here-I called around…..guess I am going online to get them……But Matt says were are NOT making these waterers until AFTER we get back from vacation:)

  4. Hope to be getting some chickens soon. Thanks for the great info!

  5. I love this idea but is it possible to put the nipples at the side so that I can still set this on my heater during winter months?


  6. Robynne Catheron says:

    How do you prevent the nipples from dripping after the chickens drink? I was so disappointed the second day to find the bedding below the bucket was soaked clear through to the plywood floor. The nipples themselves don’t leak, so I watched for a while and yep, they all drip afterward. We even put a boot tray underneath, but that filled up with gunk almost overnight. Shavings, hay, poop, and lots of water, yucky and stinky.
    Any suggestions?

  7. Dominika says:

    Hi Karrie,

    I love your website, I’ve found just a couple of days ago, I looked at nipple water system for chickens.
    I look at amazon in UK, and they have only this type, I am not sure if is similar like you have?

  8. Hi! I recently built this chicken waterer using your guide. I used a 5 gallon bucket, 11/32″ drill bit, and screw in poultry nipples bought on amazon ($1-2 each). I filled it half full and hung it in the coop and the nipples themselves leak constantly. I checked and made sure it wasn’t leaking around the seal, just through the nipple. Is that because I bought low quality nipples? Or is it just too much pressure from the water? Thanks!

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      It could be a couple things. Did you get the seals wet before you inserted them? That could be one problem. But I am guessing that it is the quality of the nipples that you got. Return them and get new ones. It shouldn’t be too much pressure from the water. 🙂

  9. Allyson Murphy says:

    Hi everyone, We’ve been using this type of waterer for a few yrs. and have no trouble with them. I bought the nipples online from an agricultural farm supplier, 50/$18. They were threaded but wrapping with teflon tape before twisting them into the 11/32″ holes did the trick. No leaking after 2 1/2 yrs. so far. We have several coops, we just hang the banty chickens waterer alittle lower. Good Luck.

  10. I am going to try a aquarium tank heater in my bucket for a water tank heater

  11. Well you learn something new every day! Thanks for sharing, just ordered some of the saddle type nipples on Amazon and going to build a watering system with some water pipe. I’ve just started blogging about birds (domestic, wild and farmed) if you want to take a look


  12. Steve Walker says:

    The nipples should work fine if attached to the side of the bucket but near the bottom. Measure down from the inside top to the bottom then outside from the top before drilling. Most buckets have a lip on the bottom and the nipple should be above the lip.
    If the nipples are leaking try putting less water in the bucket. The nipples ARE pressure sensitive and less water pressure should stop the leaking.
    Nipples should be hung just above the birds head or at about 20″ for adult birds.
    I believe I have shown remarkable restraint in avoiding any puns regarding this particular watering apparatus.

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