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.
- Push style Chicken Nipples with Grommets (not the screw type chicken nipples)
- 3-5 Gallon plastic bucket with lid
- 11/32 inch drill bit + drill
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.
Amazon.com: 5 pack of push in style chicken nipples is $12.25 + free shipping with Amazon prime or free with orders of $25 or more.
Ebay.com: Buy them individually for $2.00 each plus $1.75 shipping. I purchased 3 and paid a total of $8.55 with combined shipping
FamTek.com: $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.
For about the first year, the sand below the pails stayed dry. When watching to figure out why the nipples seemed to be leaking, it looks like more water is coming out than in the past. Do the nipples need replacing periodically? Could the chickens be pushing more aggressively too? We have tape wrapped on the end of the nipples to ensure a tight fit. Thanks for any suggestions!
Alex Knight says
This is a great DIY project but I usually buy drinkers for my hens from this website https://www.littlefieldsfarm.com/poultry/poultry-drinkers
Instead of a heating plate, I suggest a hanging aquarium heater in the water. just cut a hole in the lid and let it float in the bucket. Works great
Cole Pearson says
Thank you so much for the awesome tip! I’ve ordered my nipples off of eBay just now thanks to you so my sweet girls can drink cleaner water! Awesome site by the way!
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.
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 http://www.littlepeckers.co.uk/blog/chicken-feeders-fun-facts/
I am going to try a aquarium tank heater in my bucket for a water tank heater
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.
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!
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. 🙂
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?
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.
Lori Peters says
I too have nipple leakage and do not know how to stop it. I made sure they all were tight but still they are leaking and I am not sure what to do!
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?
I don’t think it would work because it needs pressure to allow the water to go through. I am just realizing this idea doesn’t work too well for winter right now. If I had used a metal bucket I could have wrapped some heating coils around the container or something.
What about if you put them at the very bottom??
I just discovered your website, and love all your tips on homesteading! My hubby just made a chicken waterer and it works great! The only thing different, is I picked up a bird bath de-icer at our local Menards for $35. Put a small hole in the lid to allow for the cord, and we don’t have to do anything except refill it. We did it just in time, before Ohio freezing temperatures. More blogging material! 🙂 This is just like the one we got, I like it because it has a 10″ cord – http://www.amazon.com/Allied-Precision-DT250-250-Watt-Aluminum/dp/B000TZ5A8I/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1386895048&sr=8-7&keywords=bird+bath+de-icer
Terri Hill says
Winter time try hanging a light bulb over the bucket with the lid off.
Andy Kastenhuber says
Use a carboy brew belt! You can get them from my favorite wine and beer making supplier. 40 watts and it will stop the freezing!
Hope to be getting some chickens soon. Thanks for the great info!
That’s wonderful Kaylene!
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:)
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.
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.)
That is too funny!
You can get them on Amazon..com for $5.99 for 30.