If you have any experience at all with raising chicks in a brooder, you are probably familiar with the messes the little darlings make — spilled food, spilled water, dust everywhere, etc. I don’t claim to have all the solutions, but I do have one! I figured out an easy and inexpensive way to make a spill-proof waterer!
Here’s what you’ll need:
The standard quart-size plastic jar that goes with the red watering pan (typically found at the farm supply store), poultry watering nipples, a Ball brand plastic screw-on lid (fits regular size canning jars), stiff wire, plummer tape, a 5/16 inch drill bit and drill. If you don’t have plummer tape, you can use caulk instead, but be sure it’s fully dried before letting the chicks use the waterer.
Here’s how to make it:
First, drill two holes in the bottom of the plastic jar. Then wrap a small amount (1 1/2 times around or so) of plummer tape on the threaded end of the watering nipples. Screw the watering nipples into the jar until tight. The hardest part is done!
Next, bend and wrap some stiff wire around the jar (below the threading) so you can hang the waterer from the brooder or playpen. Fill the jar with water and put the plastic lid on. WARNING: do NOT screw the lid all the way on or a vacuum will form preventing the chicks from getting water out of the nipples.
This waterer has been working out great with our chicks. I thought it would take a little time for them to get used to it, but the second I put it in the brooder, they flocked to it like it was the coolest thing since meal worms. If your chicks don’t get it right away, you may want to keep a small dish of water in the brooder until then, or show them how to get water from the nipples by tapping them with your fingertip.
We have not had any more major water spills in the brooder since I rigged this up, but there is a little bit of water that drips when the chicks are drinking. So, it’s not drip-proof, but it is a lot less messy than the traditional chick watering rig.
Now that I’ve conquered that, what’s next? Got any idea on how to cut down on the amount of dust the chicks kick up? Everything in my house has a serious layer of dust. Bleck. Thankfully, our chicks have just graduated to the outdoor coop, but if you have ideas for future dust and food spills, let me know!