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5 Easy to Build DIY Chicken Waterers: PVC and Other Materials

In the world of chicken keeping, ensuring a constant and clean water supply is essential for happy and healthy hens. If you’re looking for cost-effective and easy-to-build solutions, we’ve got you covered. Instead of going out and purchasing a chicken waterer, you can make your own out of PVC and other materials. The advantage of DIY chicken waterers is that you can often use things that are already laying around your home. Here are 5 easy-to-build DIY chicken waterers to try making today.

baby chicks feeding

DIY PVC Pipe Chicken Waterer

If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional gallon bucket method, try creating your very own PVC Pipe Chicken Waterer in just 5 easy steps! Note that you will need to purchase a specialized piece of equipment for this one to make it work.

Step 1: Gather The Right Supplies

You’ll need a PVC Sewer Pipe (around 4-feet long), a 4-inch cap end, a 4-inch female adapter, a 4-inch threaded cap, a Beakup from Beaktime (a poultry drinking valve), PVC solvent, and silicone sealant.

Step 2: Cut the PVC Pipe

Measure and cut the PVC pipe to your desired length. A typical length of four feet should hold around 2 to 3 gallons of water, but you can adjust it based on your flock’s size and personal preferences.

Step 3: Drill and Seal The Cap

Using the PVC solvent, securely seal the 4-inch cap end to the bottom of the PVC pipe. Once the cap is in place, drill a small 3/8 inch hole through both the cap and the pipe.

Step 4: Attach the Beakup Valve to the Female Adapter

Apply silicone sealant to the threads of the Beakup and insert it into the 3/8 inch hole you drilled earlier. Allow the sealant to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, place the female adapter on top of the PVC pipe.

Step 5: Fill The Pipe With Water

The final step is to fill the PVC pipe with water and screw on the top cap. To ensure easy access for your chickens, position the cap at a height equal to the back of your smallest chicken.

Upside-Down Bottle Waterer Method

If you’re on a budget or looking for an even easier approach, try the Upside-Down Bottle Method using just a PVC pipe and an empty soda bottle. This video shows an alternative to using a small soda or water bottle as the drinking reservoir instead of PVC, but the idea is the same:

Here are the steps to creating an Upside-Down Bottle Waterer for your flock:

Step 1: Ready Your Materials

Gather the required supplies, which include an empty soda bottle, a PVC Y pipe, a hammer, and some nails. These everyday items are easy to find and won’t break the bank. You probably already have them around the house.

Step 2: Screw on the Cap

Start by screwing the PVC cap onto one end of the Y fitting. This will form the base of your waterer.

Step 3: Add Holes

Using a hammer and nails, create small drainage holes in the cap. These holes will allow the water to flow through and provide your chickens with a way to stay hydrated.

Step 4: Fill the Bottle With Water

Double check that the bottle has been cleared and sanitized before filling it with fresh drinking water for your chickens.

Step 5: Set the Bottle

Screw the cap back onto the soda bottle tightly. Then, turn the bottle upside down and place it into the vertical part of the Y fitting. Your waterer is now ready to use! Easy, right?

Modified Upside-Down Waterer With Pan

Here is another version of the upside-down waterer that uses a pan to collect the water. Best of all, gathering the materials and putting everything together takes less than 5 minutes. Do keep in mind that this waterer is not a long-term solution, as you will have to replace the materials once they start getting old or if any damages occur. You may also have to clean the pan regularly. However, putting this waterer together is simple and frugal, making it a great place to start.

This video gives you an excellent visual for how to build this upside down waterer:

Step 1: Find Your Supplies

You will need a 9-inch cake pan, a 1-gallon can or any durable container near the same volume, a drill, and a 1-inch drill bit.

Step 2: Prep the Can

Take the 1-gallon can or container and drill two holes, one on each side, about an inch up from the opening. Make sure the holes are placed lower than the lip of the cake pan you plan on using.

Step 3: Assembly

Fill the can with water and place it on top of the cake pan, just like a lid. Ensure that the pan is sturdy and can support the weight of the can.

Step 4: Finding The Right Position

With the can on top of the pan, carefully flip them both upside down. Now, the can will be elevated above the pan, allowing water to flow freely from the two holes into the pan below.

Step 5: Watch Your Chickens Enjoy

As your chickens drink from the pan, it automatically refills with water from the can. The water will stop flowing once it reaches the level of the holes in the can.

Quick and Easy 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer

Perhaps you want to make something that is a bit more convenient or for a smaller flock. This idea, featuring six poultry nipples installed into a 5-gallon bucket, is perfect for you. It is also easy to do within a single day, since you do not have to worry about sealants or anything else. Do keep in mind that you could always add more than 6 poultry nipples, especially if you use a slightly bigger bucket. This has been adapted from an idea presented by LumnahAcres, who also made this tutorial video:

Now for the how-to:

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies

You will need the following:

  • One 5-gallon bucket
  • One 5-gallon bucket lid
  • 6 horizontal poultry nipples (like these from Amazon)
  • Four 1.5-inch screws
  • 11/16-inch open-end wrench or adjustable wrench
  • Cordless or corded drill, or a screwdriver and hand drill
  • 11/32-inch drill bit

Step 2: Mark and Drill Holes For the Nipples

Mark six locations on the front 1/3rd of the bucket for installing the poultry nipples. This ensures all nipples face the chickens for easy access. For chickens of different sizes, install 3 nipples approximately 1 inch above the base of the bucket and 3 more nipples around 4 inches up from the base. Drill six 11/32″ holes at the marked locations.

Step 3: Install The Poultry Nipples

Hand thread each nipple into its respective hole until it becomes difficult to turn. Finish installing each nipple with an 11/16″ wrench, ensuring they are nearly flush with the bucket. Be cautious not to overtighten and risk stripping the threads. If any threads get stripped, you can use a combination of nuts, o-rings, and washers on the inside of the bucket to secure the nipples.

Step 4: Secure the Bucket to a Seat

Position the water bucket on a corner seat (made from wood or a pallet), and raise the handle until it rests against a vertical deck spindle. Attach the handle to the spindle to lock the bucket in place during coop transportation. If the bucket has a plastic handle grip, screw through the grip using a 1 ½” screw to attach it to the spindle. If it lacks a plastic grip, use strapping materials or wire to attach it with a screw.

Next, to further secure the bucket during transportation, install four 1 ½” screws on the seat picket. Place two screws on each side of the bucket and two towards the front, ensuring they butt up flush to the bucket. Screw each screw halfway into the seat only, creating pegs that prevent the bucket from sliding forward or sideways during transport.

Step 5: Complete the Waterer

With the bucket securely in place and the horizontal poultry nipples ready, fill the waterer with fresh, clean water. Your DIY 5-gallon bucket chicken waterer is now complete and ready to provide your flock with a continuous water supply.

PVC Pipe Chicken Nipple Waterer

If you’re looking to create an efficient and low-maintenance watering system for your chickens, this DIY project is perfect for you. With a few simple supplies and a little creativity, you can construct an automatic chicken watering system that will keep your flock hydrated without constant manual refilling. This one is the most intensive on the list, so make sure you are ready to spend a little time making everything. With that said, let’s get started.

You will need:

  • 2-foot piece of 1/2-inch PVC pipe
  • 2-foot piece of 2-inch PVC pipe
  • 3-inch piece of 3-inch PVC pipe
  • 4″ X 3″ PVC coupling
  • 3″ X 2″ PVC coupling
  • Four 1/2″ adapters (male end threaded)
  • Two 1/2″ threaded caps
  • Two 2″ cleanout drain plug adapters
  • One 2″ cleanout drain plug (threaded)
  • One 2″ trap adapter fitting
  • 2″ 90-degree Cross Tee
  • Two 2″ X 1/2″ Bushing
  • Pipe joint compound
  • PVC Cement
  • 5-gallon water jug (like one used for an office water cooler)
  • 3-foot 2×6 lumber
  • 4-5 chicken waterer cups (plenty of options available on Amazon)

Step 1: Cutting PVC Pieces

Using a saw, cut the following PVC pieces:

  • 1/2-inch pipe: 2 pieces that are 6 inches long. Another 4 pieces, 3 inches long.
  • 3-inch pipe: cut a 3-inch section.

Step 2: Preparing the Bracket

While your saw is out, cut the 2×6 lumber for the bracket. Cut two pieces, each 12 inches long, and another 6-inch piece with 45-degree angles on each end. The 6-inch piece will be the long length of the board.

Step 3: Assembling the Base

Start by assembling the tee at the base of the watering system. Use PVC cement to attach the 2″x1/2″ bushings on the left and right sides of the tee. Then, cement one of the cleanout adapters to the bottom opening of the tee and screw in the cleanout plug using joint compound. Next, connect the 2-inch pipe to the top opening using cement, and glue the 2″ trap adapter fitting on top. Allow this assembly to cure while you work on the horizontal beams.

Step 4: Building The Horizontal Beams

Take a 3-inch piece of 1/2-inch pipe and glue one of the chicken waterer cup couplers to one end. Attach a 6-inch piece of pipe to the other end of the cup coupler. Continue by adding another cup coupler, followed by another 3-inch piece of pipe. Ensure that the cups are lined up straight. Repeat the steps to create the other horizontal beam. On the outer ends of each beam, install the 1/2″ adapters and secure the plug with joint compound. Cement the left and right side horizontal beams to the bushings on the tee, aligning the cups flat to prevent water spillage.

Step 5: Connecting the Top Section

 Use a 3-inch piece of 3-inch PVC pipe to connect the 4″ X 3″ coupler and the 3″ X 2″ coupler together using PVC cement. If you prefer a taller top section, you can use a longer piece. Add a cleanout adapter to the 2-inch opening of the couplers with glue, and allow all the pieces to cure for the recommended time listed on the product’s packaging.

Step 6: Preparing the Bracket for Water Jug

Drill a 3-inch hole on the bracket at the spot where the water bottle’s neck will be positioned. This allows the cleanout adapter on the top section to fit inside the hole easily. Once the hole is ready, screw the top piece to the vertical section that will attach to the desired location, whether it’s a stud or another structure. Add the support piece to the bracket with screws, starting from the vertical board.

Step 7: Determining the Height and Securing the Bracket

To determine the bracket’s height, connect the top and bottom sections and screw the bottom portion to the top. Mark where the top of the bracket should be, and securely mount the bracket to the chosen location, ensuring it’s strong enough to support the water jug’s weight.

Step 8: Final Assembly

Using joint compound, connect the top and bottom portions of the watering system securely. Check all joints to ensure they are tight and leak-free. Open the top of the water jug and insert its neck into the top section. Tighten any areas where there might be drips.

Now your automatic chicken watering system is ready to keep your flock well-hydrated without constant monitoring or refilling.

If you would rather have more flexibility, here is a very similar design that utilizes a hose instead of a thick PVC tube:

Final Thoughts on DIY Chicken Waterers

Giving your flock water throughout the day doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, not when you use these 5 easy-to-build DIY chicken waterer ideas. Whether you choose the simplicity of PVC pipe waterers or the clever upside-down bottle method, each design ensures your flock stays hydrated and healthy. So, go ahead and give these waterers a try!