What is the best automatic chicken waterer? What is the best chicken waterer?
Raising chickens and keeping a backyard flock can turn into a lot of work, especially if you’re like me, and equate your happiness to the number of chickens you own. More chickens always mean more work. Well, usually.
I’ve learned over the years that there are some hacks to this lifestyle. You don’t have to kill yourself to keep your animals (or garden) healthy and happy. Trust me, running an online business, raising 3 kids (and homeschooling two of them), managing our farm, AND still doing housework… I’ve found ways to cut corners and still keep everyone happy.
Do you need an automatic chicken waterer?
No. This isn’t a must-have item for your chicken coop.
Does it help you to keep your sanity? Yes.
Do you need an automatic chicken waterer if you’re going on vacation? No, but it will make your help not dread coming over to take care of your flock as much.
Let’s talk about this for a quick second. There are a couple of reasons that an automatic chicken waterer is one of my most recommended chicken coop upgrades.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to scrub the inside of a waterer or a watering bucket. In about a week, there is slime and algae growing on the inside of a waterer, even if I’ve added apple cider vinegar to the water (which you should only be doing every once in a while anyway).
We have large capacity waterers for all of our animals. Large buckets, large fountain waterers… because let’s be honest. When you have dozens of animals, ain’t nobody got time to fill up a million waterers each day.
Those large-capacity waterers are great for cutting back on the amount of time that you spend filling up waterers. They aren’t great once you have to clean them out. My arms are only so long. When I’m shoulder-deep into a fountain waterer, usually I end up completely slimy and so does everything around me. It’s not a cute look.
An automatic waterer doesn’t have that same problem. There’s a much smaller space to keep clean. No slimy shoulders when you clean an automatic waterer.
You also don’t have to worry about your chickens running out of water. That’s a huge plus.
We go on vacation a few times per year even though we run a farm and have a large garden. You can read more here about how we manage that. But, automatic waterers are great for when we go on vacation.
We hire help when we go out of town. I’m lucky enough to be a former high school ag. teacher, so I’ve got a few former students that I can call on to farm-sit for us when we go out of town. I highly recommend 4-H or FFA kids to take care of your animals and garden for you when you’re away from home.
We pay our help based on how difficult it is to take care of everything for us. The easier it is for our help, the less I have to pay them and the less they dread coming to take care of it for me. It also cuts back on the amount of work we have to do while we are at home.
Automatic waterers can cut out a chore for you. They refill themselves as soon as they get low. Have you ever stood over a water bucket or waterer, waited until it was alllllmost full, then made a mad dash to the well to shut the water off before the waterer overflowed? No more of that shenanigans with an automatic waterer. It just stays at the perfect level.
Is there a reason NOT to get an automatic chicken waterer?
An automatic chicken waterer is a true coop luxury. You’ll need to have running water at your coop.
Depending on the type of waterer you get, you may need just a water hose or you may need to run water lines down to the coop. Some automatic waterers will also need to plugin. If you’re trying to get a heated automatic waterer so that your chicken water doesn’t freeze in the winter, then you’ll need some electricity running to the coop.
You can also check out these tips for keeping your chicken water from freezing in the winter.
If you already have water at the coop, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t have an automatic chicken waterer.
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Best Nipple Style Waterer To Use With Water Hose
This versatile waterer is the best option if you have a water hose at your chicken coop. Simply hang the waterer using the J-hooks included at your chicken’s head level.
The red + across the waterer are nipples where the chickens can drink.
The nipple-style waterer keeps the water fresh and clean. You won’t have to worry about chickens getting dirt or feed into the water with this one.
Once you hang the waterer, all you need to do is attach a water hose to the top of the waterer and turn the water on. Keep the hose on to ensure a constant supply of clean, fresh water. The waterer won’t overfill.
Pro-tip: Hang the waterer on the outside of the fence, making sure that the fence holes are large enough for the chickens to still access the water. This prevents them from trying to perch on it or roost on it. It’s also a good idea to zip tie the water hose to the fence above the waterer to keep it from bending and creating a kink.
Best Anti-Roost Fountain Style Waterer to Use
If you’ve had chickens for any amount of time, you’ll know that they like to roost on everything. Especially places where you don’t want them to roost, like feeders and waterers. And of course, when they roost, they poop. This means that you end up with poop in the feeders and waterers. Not a good combination.
The Bell-Matic Poultry Waterer has a sloped top that keeps your chickens from roosting on it.
This waterer is designed to hook up to a water line, not a water hose. To help hook it up, the waterer comes with a saddle connector, 10′ PVC hose, 10′ rope, hose fastener, height regulator, and hanging hook.
Many poultry waterers are designed with a red bottom. Chickens are attracted to the color red and will peck at it. A waterer with a bottom that is red can help encourage chickens to drink. This waterer is entirely red to attract chickens and get them to drink more.
This waterer can also be adjusted to the correct pressure. On Amazon, this waterer has 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Best Bowl-Style Automatic Waterer
Many chicken owners prefer a bowl-style waterer for their chickens. It gives chickens more room to drink comfortably, which allows them to drink more.
There are some bowl waterers that are designed using a float, some are designed more like a tire valve. Both styles work.
A bowl waterer is a great option for chickens that… aren’t as intelligent as their flock mates. All kidding aside, some chickens just never get the concept of nipple waterers. This can quickly lead to dehydrated chickens, especially in the summer months. Dehydrated chickens don’t lay as well and they don’t grow as well (if you’re raising meat chickens).
Bowl waterers are definitely dumb chicken approved!
Simply hook this waterer up to a standard water hose and let it fill up. Keep the water hose on to ensure a steady supply of fresh, clean water for your chickens.
This waterer is designed like a tire valve and has an adjustable nut inside the fitting. Adjust the nut to the right height to get the water flow that you prefer.
The fittings are all made of brass, so they won’t rust like other metal fittings. This is a large capacity waterer and could even be used for larger poultry, like ducks, geese, or turkeys.
Which automatic chicken waterer is best for you?
When you’re trying to decide what type of automatic chicken waterer is best for your coop, start by thinking about what type of water supply you have at the coop.
Do you have a water hose at your coop? Or do you have a water line run to your coop? If you have a water line run to your coop, what size is your water line? You may need to purchase additional fittings to make your water line hook up to your waterer.
Most water hoses are the same size and will hook up to poultry waterers that are made to hook up to a water hose.
These waterers are not designed to prevent freezing in the winter. If you live where the temperatures are very cold in the winter, consider putting automatic waterers in a heated coop in the winter, or swapping to a heated poultry waterer in the winter.