The 3 Best Chicken Waterers From 2018
Forget about dumping a waterer after using it for only a couple of months, or choosing one that just doesn’t suit your (and your flock’s!) needs.
If you’re looking to invest in a reliable chicken water feeder for your backyard flock, you’ve come to the right place.
Allow us to walk you through the basics of selecting a fitting waterer, and to present you with our top picks for the best chicken waterer!
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Waterer
Let us give you some insight into the different materials and types of waterers prior to choosing the most suitable drinker for your flock.
What materials do you prefer?
There are 4 materials that have taken over the realm of poultry equipment: plastic, steel, metal, and stainless steel.
Plastic is non-porous – which helps keep out bacteria, parasites, and viruses – and non-corrosive. This material is cheap, easy to clean and its quality varies from more durable thick plastic products to poorly-made thin ones.
However, plastic is known to leach harmful chemicals – one of the major drawbacks to this material.
Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, for instance, are carcinogenic substances that act as hormone disruptors in the body. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethanes (PUR), and polyacrylonitriles (PAN), on the other hand, are considered the most hazardous of plastic polymers. Probably a call to drop the common PVC chicken waterer…
Read the article on Toxicity of Plastics to learn more about the topic. Ginny Chandoha also weighs in on the subject from a chicken keeper’s perspective in her post on Chicken Keeping Without Plastic!
Steel has been around for some time and, in this particular case, mostly in the form of galvanized steel. This is a rather sturdy and affordable material that works especially well in wintertime when you have to expose your waterer to a heating element to prevent the water from freezing. Nonetheless, the downside with galvanized steel is that it will eventually rust.
NOTE: Have you ever wondered about how to keep chicken water from freezing without electricity? Read our article to find out about our 10 tricks to do so. Or, to check out the best heated chicken waterer, take a look at Consumer Mentor’s guide on the subject.
Metal (particularly galvanized metal) shares similar qualities to that of steel.
Stainless steel is perhaps the best of both worlds. It is non-porous, less-corrosive, easy to clean, extremely sturdy, and secretes no detrimental chemicals. Unfortunately, this material is mostly used for parts of poultry equipment items, as opposed to entire products. Thus, at the moment it can be difficult to find a chicken waterer that it is made entirely of stainless steel.
Which types and designs are most appropriate for your flock?
There are 3 main types of waterers: Self-contained, automatic, and the classic buckets or containers.
Self-contained water dispensers
This type of water system is possibly the most popular amongst backyard chicken keepers. They come in a variety of sizes and designs, but are almost always gravity-fed and manually-filled.
Self-contained water dispensers are best suited to outdoor spaces, since they tend to get too dirty with bedding material and excrement when used in confinement. If used in indoor spaces, placing them off the ground by using a block or brick will help keep them cleaner.
Examples of self-contained water dispensers include the Standard Bell Waterer, and Double Wall Water Founts.
This kind of water system is commonly used in commercial poultry facilities, but has slowly been adopted by backyard chicken keepers over the years. They come in a range of designs that operate via different processes, but most employ a valve.
Automatic waterers are best suited to indoor spaces where they can be easily installed, and where having clean and easy-to-maintain waterers are a must. Automatic waterers include the Automatic Bell Waterer, Nipple Drinker System, and Water Cups.
Whenever using an automatic waterer, remember to double-check that the valve is adjusted and working correctly.
Buckets or containers
Despite being a cheap and readily available alternative, buckets or containers are difficult to maintain and keep clean both in confined and outdoor spaces.
Bear in mind that these have to be shallow enough for chickens to be able to drink from them, and to not present a drowning hazard.
This type of system may best be used as an interim measure, while a better system is being procured.
Watch Chickens in My Garden’s video about best chicken waterer DIY for homemade ideas.
For further information on the subject of chicken waterers types and designs, be sure to watch Backyard Farm’s comprehensive video on different classes of chicken waterers.
Would you rather have a retail- or commercial-grade product?
We know that you probably won’t be running a commercial poultry operation! But regardless of that, be aware that you do have the choice of purchasing retail or commercial equipment.
You’ll find that retail-grade waterers are very accessible, yet of lesser quality with their build being far more slim and fragile than that of their commercial-grade counterparts. Commercial waterers, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive… but they’ll certainly last longer than a regular, retail-grade product, which you may be tossing out after a year.
If interested, a couple of commercial brands you can take a look at are Plasson and Brower.
Still need to purchase a poultry feeder? Check out our article on the 6 Best Feeders of 2018.
What’s the Best Poultry Waterer? Our Selection of Top 3 Drinkers
Ready to find out what our choice is for the best poultry waterer, plus a couple other top picks?
After reviewing many of the waterers currently on the market, this is what we’ve come up with.
1. Bainbridge Poultry Drinker
We are fond of the Bainbridge Poultry Drinker because it is one of the very few all-round stainless steel poultry drinking products available on the market! Therefore, unlike the many plastic options you’ll find out there, this drinker will help you provide your flock with the chemical-free water they so deserve.
Stainless steel is also a huge advantage in the wintertime, as its durability means it can be used next to a heating source – yes, a freeze proof chicken waterer! This material is sturdier than plastic, and less corrosive than metal…
Yes, the biggest disadvantage is that this drinker will sooner or later rust, but at least not as rapidly as its metal counterparts!
Like nearly every other double wall fount, this waterer consists of only 2 parts that are fairly simple to put together: an outer tube-like cover and an inner tube that also stretches out as a base. Its straightforward and spacious design also makes it easy to clean.
Keep in mind that this design of chicken watering system works best in an outdoor space, such as a run. When using it indoors, place a brick beneath it to stop it from getting dirty.
You can find the Bainbridge Poultry Drinker in 2, 3, and 9 liter sizes.
To purchase the right size, just keep in mind that 2 liters of water is normally enough to provide daily water for about 4 adult large fowl chickens. However, this average intake may vary according to factors such as climate, conditions in which the chickens are raised, and whether they are laying or not.
In case you’re unable to get your hands on this drinker, the Little Giant Double Wall Metal Poultry Fount presents a similar (metal) option, and is perhaps the best chicken waterer for winter.
2. Premier 1 Bucket Nipple Waterer
Premier 1’s Bucket Nipple Waterer will help you provide clean water to your flock, especially in indoor spaces where it is easy for your birds to soil water containers with feces and bedding material.
This is one of the best automatic chicken waterer available!
This waterer is made of relatively thick and solid plastic, which extends the product’s longevity. Other characteristics worth highlighting are its replaceable and recessed nipples.
Buying a waterer with interchangeable nipples allows you to substitute them when broken, without having to throw the entire watering system away. The fact that the nipples are recessed not only allows you to comfortably refill the container, but the nipples will be protected in case the waterer is accidentally dropped on the ground.
The Premier 1 Nipple Waterer has an easy-to-clean and roomy design, consisting of 3 parts: a bucket, a lid, and 3 nipples. Note, that this design is best used in indoor spaces.
While the durability of the plastic is one draw, the material is also a disadvantage to this option. As we mentioned previously, plastics leak harmful chemicals and deteriorate, especially when exposed to sunlight.
You can find the Premier 1 Bucket Nipple Waterer in a 3 gallon size.
If you find yourself looking for a similar option, the BriteTap Chicken Waterer is the answer!
3. Little Giant Large Capacity Automatic Waterer
The Little Giant Large Capacity Automatic Waterer is an accessible water system that will supply your flock with many gulps of water.
This drinker consists of 5 parts: the bucket, lid, cap, O-ring and base, with a handle on the lid for easy-carrying.
It is therefore a waterer that is plain simple to work with, assemble and clean.
Its thick plastic frame increases its longevity and its translucency allows you to keep an eye on the water levels without having to pick it up. We, however, also find this product’s biggest disadvantage is the harmful nature of the plastic material.
Similar to the Bainbridge Poultry Drinker, this design of chicken watering system works best in the outdoors. When using it indoors, place a block underneath to keep it from getting messy.
Verdict – Clear as Crystal… Chicken Waterers
For the sake of you and your flock, you’ll want a waterer that is:
- Easy to put together
- Easy to clean and maintain
But, overall, you’ll want a product that accomplishes its main purpose of constantly catering clean and fresh water to your flock.
That’s exactly why we have chosen the Bainbridge Poultry Drinker as our winner of the best chicken watering system!
Whether this is your prefered option or not, be sure to make the right choice by paying attention to the products’ materials, type, design and manufacturer.
Let us know in the comment section below if you found this article helpful, and if you did… remember to share it with all your farm-fowl aficionado friends!