Rethinking Chick Watering
The Hanging Bucket And Other Nipple Waterers
Switching from a ground-based waterer to a nipple-based watering system is a smart move for the poultry producer. Nipple systems come in several options: from simple buckets ready to fill and hang (or adapters for buckets you already have) to tube systems that run on hose lines. These take the constant monitoring and concern for bacterial infection out of your poultry’s hydration needs. Switching to these systems will help prevent, or eliminate all together, many of the concerns associated with more traditional, open-water methods that often result in wasted water that’s either contaminated or tipped over.
Switching over to nipple-based poultry waterers should not cause any disruption to your birds. A standard bucket includes four nipples that will provide enough clean water for up to 50-60 mature birds and up to 100 chicks under normal conditions. Even day-old chicks can easily discover this delivery system, removing any learning curve, concerns of dehydration, or a general dip in productivity in broilers and layers. If, however, you are concerned that your young birds aren’t adjusting to your new system, simply press up on the nipples to show a few birds the access points. This should make clear to them where the water is and how to get it. Their usage will instruct the other birds sharing the contained space what the routine is.
Producers need to make sure the nipples are located within reach of the youngest, smallest birds. This means that the waterer level will need to be adjusted as the birds grow.
A Cleaner Chicken Waterer
Water is extremely important for all animals. Half of a chicken’s body consists of water and eggs are made up of about 65% water. Clean drinking water is essential to good and prolonged chicken health. Hosts of diseases are associated with poor quality drinking water—including Botulism and Thrush. When the water is contaminated with droppings, your chickens are likely to pick up a variety of additional illnesses.
Hanging bucket nipple waterers and pressurized tube systems are contained. Because the water isn’t exposed, the chance for many common ailments is reduced. Buckets come with snap-on lids to make sure insects and other debris doesn’t contaminate the water or clog the delivery system. The only time the water is exposed is when you are refilling the bucket. Due to their size, hanging buckets usually need refilling once a day unlike other systems that require more monitoring and refilling.
Pressurized tube waterers afford producers many of the same advantages. Similar to the hanging bucket, these pressurized tube systems are also fully contained and provide uninterrupted, clean drinking water for your flock once the system is connected to your water source. Both the hanging bucket and tube waterer are much cleaner than trough waterers which helps safeguard the health of your birds.
A Time-Saving Poultry Waterer
Anything that can save a producer time, no matter how small, should be considered. A more efficient operation is generally a more productive and profitable one. Instead of having to monitor and refill other waterer systems, hanging buckets, as mentioned, are usually refilled once a day. If multiple buckets are in use, refilling frequency is reduced even more. Hanging buckets can be retrofitted with water lines to introduce automation that makes managing drinking water even more hassle free. Pressurized tube waterers use an existing water line and don’t need to be refilled.
Despite the ease with which these contained systems deliver water, all supply nipples should be checked for blockage with some regularity, particularly if you use fewer buckets or tubes. Dehydration is a real problem which will result in decreased egg production and slower growth in young birds. It can take a dehydrated bird up to three weeks before they start laying eggs again and no producers want to have that sort of production interruption.
If you’re not using nipple waterers yet, you’re one of the few. They are the commercial industry standard because they’re easy to use and maintain, and they keep drinking water as clean as possible. Have you recently switched over to a nipple waterer system? Tell us your experience in the comments section!