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Written by Carole

The last two weeks I posted some entries on homemade chicken feeders. I have been thinking on what would be something that might help some of my readers and as I was visiting one of my favorite sites, backyardchickens.com, I found where one of the members, Kerry, shared how they made their homemade chicken waterer.

So here is another homemade project for you do-it-yourselfer’s:

homemade chicken waterer
Changes for next time:
I’d use a 1 gallon PVC bucket with the non-snap-tight lid (lid just rests on the top) instead of a 5 gallon one.
I’d drill the hole in the side of the bucket about an inch higher so that the nozzle remains vertical when the bucket is on the ground during cleaning and refills (as it is now the bung hole is too close to the bottom and I have to turn the nozzle sideways to place the bucket on the ground).

Cost: about $43.00
Bung with inside and outside rubber washers and nut (w/1/2″ pipe thread) Requires drilling a 1 1/4″ hole near the bottom of the bucket. $12.95
1/2″ nipple and elbow $5.00
3/4″ pipe thread to garden hose thread adapter $3.95
faucet dog nozzle water-er $12.95
5 gallon PVC bucket with lid $5.00 + $3.00
teflon tape .10

* The dog/chick pushes the 1 1/2″ long down-facing nozzle slightly to the side and water drips out running down the nozzle. The chick immediately moves her beak to catch the water and repeats the process about a dozen times until sated.

When it comes to raising poultry, sometimes homemade is a much better and cheaper option than store bought. I hope this is of benefit to some of you crafty people out there! If you have your own homemade chicken waterer plans, please share!

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19 Responses to “Homemade Chicken Waterer”

  1. We made a very similar homemade chicken waterer, except we used special chicken nipples in ours and kept it small so that it’d be portable in our tractors. We opened up a store to sell diy kits where folks can make their own waterers for $15. We also sell kits for $30 which can easily be turned into bucket waterers for many chickens — with those, I’ve found it’s helpful to include multiple nipples in each waterer so that the top of the pecking order chicken can’t hog the water.

    Actually, your image looks a lot like the very first version of our waterer before we perfected it!


    mike Reply:

    The cheapest and easiest chicken waterer is a kitty litter pan.I have 3 of them around the farm.I do have 2 of those 8 gallon high $ ones that I don’t use.


  2. Where did you buy the bung fitting, I can’t figure out what you have there to make one of these myself….a website or part number or name would really help….



    Carole Reply:

    Mike, I have no idea where the fittings were bought since the design came from someone who allowed me to show it on my website. Sorry. Hope you are able to find it.


  3. Has anyone got an idea on a system to keep water from freezing in winter. I have approx. 100 chickens and a dozen turkeys. Everyday I have to go to the chicken house and bust up ice.


    Elisa Reply:

    Roger, I saw a video on you tube where someone used a 60-watt bulb inside a terra cotta pot and then set the waterer on top of it to keep the water from freezing. Looked pretty easy and inexpensive. Check it out.


    Bev Reply:

    An aquarium heater might work, there cheap and water proof.


    roseanell Reply:

    think of the nipple system using an insulated picnic jug?


    rootz Reply:

    this works but the pvc tubing that runs from the bucket to the nipples freezes.sometimes even the water inside the nipple freezes causing chickens to get angry:)


    melanie Reply:

    I know this might be little late but if you have waterer that is similar to the one on this page using a bucket de-icer works well. They are normally used for animals that drink from a bucket but it does work. I bought a very small one and it works great!! just make sure that it is compatible with a plastic bucket if yours is plastic


  4. I made a waterer for $2.99 — free 5 gal bucket from bakery, plastic oil pan from auto store. Drill 1/2″ hole about 3″ from bottom of bucket, stick cork (or child’s painbrush, etc.) into hole, fill with water, replace lid TIGHTLY. Flip over and place in oil pan… remove cork.

    Feeder? $3.50 — again, free bucket, drilled eight holes around bottom (1&1/2″ or so) large red funnel sits in the bottom (duct tape tiny opening!)to eliminate “dead spot” and aid gravity feeding. Bolt oil pan (and funnel if you are handy) to bottom of bucket. Fill with feed, replace lid.

    If you have to worry about water freezing in the winter, find a metal oil pan and set the whole contraption on a cinder block with a light bulb inside of the block.


    Kelea Reply:

    @Kristen – do you have pictures? I can’t figure out how drilling the hole 3″ from the bottom and then flipping it over on top of the lid works – unless you refer to the bottom (really the top near where the lid attaches) as the top and vice versa.

    Feeder instructions are even harder to follow. Would love to make these inexpensive items and follow your ingenuity. Pix would be great! Thanks.


  5. Hello,

    An update… home made waterer worked great for several months (summer — got a little algae but not bad, and didn’t really “backwash” at all) but not functional for winter. I tried a metal pan — like the post above — but still no dice. I think it was just too cold for the bucket lid gasket to remain pliable.

    The concept works on physics of water, much like using a qt jar filled with water flipped into a pan and held up slightly with a toothpick (or match stick) will work for chicks. If the hole you drill in the bottom doesn’t rise above the height of the water pan itself, and your lid seals well, the water won’t go higher than the outlet hole.

    I broke down and got a metal gravity waterer from farm store — which kept water cooler (very hot summer here)but didn’t stop freezing. So, I’ve just been using rubber feed pan, and flexing out the “cube” when I take new water out twice a day.

    If we have to leave home this winter, I’ll probably rig up the droplight contraption… haven’t finished the solar rig for the coop yet.

    The feeder was also clever for vacation time, but found daily use kindof a pain. Went to rubber feed pan for this too — easier to keep food fresh for everyday use.


  6. the pan under a hot water heater holds 5gal and placing a heat tape under it will keep the water from frezzing BE CAREFULE no to cross the tape over its self or it will burn the tape


  7. Can someone email me regarding the purchase of a “Homemade” waterer and or Feeder. I”m starting out with 5 Chickens and this is my first season. thanks


  8. zesauce@hotmail.com is my email


  9. This is the watering system I use on the farm in Ohio..
    Start with a free 5 gallon pail.. Drill 3 to 4 holes in the bottom just a bit larger than the diameter of a roofing nail.. Find an old innertube or other thin soft rubber sheeting.. Make circles about the size of a niclel.. Poke the nail thru the center of the circle and set in the holes you drilled.. Fill the bucket with some water and gently tap the nail.. A few drops of water should drip out.. If too much water comes out make the rubber disc bigger.. If not enough make the hole in the bucket bigger.. After some experimenting you can make it work.. To keep from freezing use a small pipe heat strip and wrap the bucket.. Then wrap again with aluminum flashing to hold the heat in..
    Keep em clucking………………


  10. PS,
    For just a few birds scale it down and use a disposable plastic butter tub with one hole.. Keep the water warm with a night light.. Although I do like the fish tank heater idea as it has a thermostat.. And dont forget to keep the container clean by scrubbing with soap and water once a week.. Bacteria is the healthy chickens enemy..


  11. Put about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per qt. of water, and you’ll not have the algae buildup. Also, it keeps the chickens digestive tracts working great. I start my day old chicks with this, and have never had to use medication of any kind.


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