Chicken Nipple Waterer DIY Instructions- Clean Water is Always a Tap Away

With the addition of quail to my backyard poultry collection recently, I found that they are particularly messy and that keeping the water clean was a constant challenge. This challenge inspired me to make some poultry nipple waterers (PNW) for them.
With the addition of quail to my backyard poultry collection recently, I found that they are particularly messy and that keeping the water clean was a constant challenge. This challenge inspired me to make some poultry nipple waterers (PNW) for them. It’s not always easy to ensure a clean supply of water to chickens (or other poultry) with traditional waterers, even if the supply is changed several times daily. Chickens foul the water with droppings, dirt and bedding, but with a few inexpensive items and the following DIY instructions, clean water is always just a tap away.

We know that access to clean, fresh water is vital to chickens’ health as well as their egg production. Depriving chickens of water for even a few hours can halt egg production for weeks. Self-contained watering systems have been used by the commercial poultry industry for years to eliminate the problems inherent to traditional waterers. Chickens simply tap the end of the nipple to activate the release of water from the container directly into their mouths.

PNW are inexpensive, simple to make and boast certain benefits over traditional waterers:

  • the water is always clean and cleaner water means less exposure to diseases like coccidiosis
  • can be kept inside the coop without spillage concerns (wet bedding creates an environment that fosters diseases)
  • occupy no floor space, freeing up valuable square footage
  • facilitate drinking in scissor-beaked chickens

The major limitation of homemade poultry nipple waterers is that they can freeze in cold temperatures, necessitating the addition of a heating device or the use of traditional waterers in the winter, which are easily kept liquid using a DIY cookie tin water heater.
The major limitation of homemade poultry nipple waterers is that they can freeze in cold temperatures, necessitating the addition of a heating device or the use of traditional waterers in the winter, which are easily kept liquid using a DIY cookie tin water heater.PNW can be made from a variety of containers from water bottles to 5 gallon buckets, PVC pipes to plastic juice bottles. Poultry nipples are available online from a wide variety of sources, very inexpensively.

SUPPLIES & ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS

  • a plastic bottle, bucket or container (tops to buckets are optional)
  • stainless steel, screw-in poultry nipple (1 for every 2-3 birds)
  • 5/16″ drill bit for thin plastic such as water bottles or 11/32″ bit for thick plastics such as 5 gallon buckets
  • silicone sealant (aquarium safe)
  • string, wire, etc. for hanging

STEP 1: Using a drill on low RPMs with a 5/6″ bit, make a hole in the cap or bottom of the container
Using a drill on low RPMs with a 5/6" bit, make a hole in the cap or bottom of the containerUsing a drill on low RPMs with a 5/6" bit, make a hole in the cap or bottom of the container

STEP 2: Apply silicone sealant around the hole.
Apply silicone sealant around the hole.Apply silicone sealant around the hole.

STEP 3Screw the poultry nipple into the hole.

Screw the poultry nipple into the hole.

Screw the poultry nipple into the hole.
Nipple Waterers can be made to accommodate many chickens at the same time. The design is limited to your imagination!

Nipple Waterers can be made to accommodate many chickens at the same time.
5 gallon bucket with 4 nipples will serve 8-12 chickens

STEP 4Install a hanger.  I drilled holes near the top of the PNW and threaded floral wire through both sides.  *Important note: Container must have a small hole drilled at the top of the container to allow air in, otherwise the unit will not work. The hangar holes shown below serve that purpose.
Install a hangar. I drilled holes near the top of the PNW and threaded floral wire through both sides.

The quail and baby Polish chicks adapted to the PNW immediately.
The quail and baby Polish chicks adapted to the PNW immediately

Poultry nipple waterer hanging in their Chick Corral outside.
Poultry nipple waterer hanging in their Chick Corral outside

Poultry nipple waterer hanging in their Chick Corral outside.Poultry nipple waterer hanging in their Chick Corral outside.There is no training necessary when employing PNWs with young chicks, but there may be with older chickens who are accustomed to traditional waterers. Re-training should only be done in cooler temperatures as there is a learning curve involved.

PN training involves putting away all traditional waterers and showing the chickens how it works by tapping the PN with a finger. Their attention is drawn to the water droplet and as soon as one investigates and tests it, others follow. More training tricks for reluctant chickens, here.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

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The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens!

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Jj Baker
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Jj Baker

I only started using these a few weeks ago, but now my chickens actually prefer drinking from these rather than their water bowl. Thanks!

masloozinit76
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masloozinit76

I have been using these nipples since I got my chickens, they love it… and so do I! No dirty water bowls! I started out with the pitchers and now use the 5 gallon bucket. I can't see using anything else!

Pat S.
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Pat S.

We did the Gatorade PNW and I thought it would take awhile of my 3 month old girls to use it , but I went in and say with them and I kept making telling them about how it was fresh cool water and they are right away and it works !! They now do it all by themselfs !!! I'm so proud of them !!! Thank you sooo much for the info !!!!

TheChickenChick
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Sure. I've done that too.

Glenn Mellingen
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Glenn Mellingen

I have a nipple water in my brooder right now made from a soda bottle. I was wondering if it was okay that I completely cut off the bottom of the bottle? It is fixed to the wall of the brooder, so I pour in water to refill. I see you suggesting to poke a small hole at the top, but I just wanted to know if the way I have it is fine too.

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