Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chicken Nipples

Ha, you're thinking something else, right? You're thinking, "Su, chickens don't have nipples!" Well, what I'm talking about is watering nipples for chickens. 

Anyone who has kept chickens, especially in a pen set-up, knows that the birds can trash a water bowl in a hurry. Before the day is out the water is full of mud and poop. I've set the waterer atop a cinderblock, which helps although some hens manage to sit on top of it and poop into the water. I've also hung it from the roof on a rope so that it sits about a foot off the ground. That helps to keep the water cleaner. But the best arrangement I've seen is to use a water pipe running through the pen which delivers water via nipples. 

The nipples are little plugs that snap into the pipes. They have a trigger that delivers water when the hens peck at it. Nipples come in a variety of designs and colors. 

Some are designed to fit into plastic pipes. Others can be installed onto the bottom of 5 gallon buckets, or other suitable water containers. The above yellow one is obviously for a pipe. 

I've found that chickens need a tad of training before they successfully use the water nipples. But once one bird figures it out, usually the others just follow their example. The top photo shows one of my friends showing her chicks how to get a drink. Easy chick is taken to a nipple, their beak tapped against the trigger, and allowed to drink. It helps if the chicks are thirsty, such as first thing in the morning. Out of a group of two dozen chicks, a few catch on right away. The others learn by example. 

I've found that the nipples work even with low water pressure. So I don't have to hook the system up to a pump. Running pipes off a 5 gallon bucket or a trashcan works just dandy. A trashcan with a lid keeps the water clean so that the nipples don't get clogged. Or I can skip the pipes completely if I only have one pen that needs water. In that case I can use just a covered bucket or trashcan with the nipples attached to the bottom. Then the bucket is set atop a couple of cinder blocks so that the hens can easily reach the nipples. 

1 comment:

  1. wow! one of the nuggets and Pat's hands made it into your blog! They're famous! yeehaw!