DIY Chicken Watering Hole (and Other Critters Too)

Easy Fill Chicken Waterer

We keep our chickens in big cages to keep them safe from predators and so we have an easy time finding the eggs. One of the biggest hassles of this is filling the waterers inside the cages, especially after it rains. I decided there had to be a better way. Here it is and it doesn’t cost a lot.
The parts list is:
1 5 gallon bucket with lid
1 new oil pan
And some 1.5″ PVC pipe, some fittings, PVC primer and cement, some gasket material, and a valveI started by using a hole saw to cut a hole in the top of the bucket for the pipe to fit through.

You can see that the hole ended up a little bigger than the pipe but I’ll take care of that.

Here is the label from the gasket material I used. It comes in sheets. This kind came from Lowe’s but I’m sure you can get some at any hardware store.I used some snips to cut the gasket into squares and to cut holes into the squares. These were my first cuts, so to speak. I had to enlarge them a little to fit around the pipe perfectly.

Here are the fittings I used. Put a gasket over the long threaded piece on the left, then put it through the hole. Put the other gasket over the fitting on the inside of the lid, then install the nut on the inside and tighten it up.

Here it is with the gasket on the upper fitting. It looks a little sloppy but I don’t think the chickens will care.

After you tighten up these fittings you need to make sure that the pipes and fittings fit together. Here is what it looks like.

Then I used the PVC primer and cement to make the connections permanent. You probably don’t want to cement the valve on at this point because you will want to put the pipe through the side of your cage. If you have the valve cemented on you will have to cut a big hole in the side of your cage and then repair it. You might want to assemble this in your chicken cage to make sure you have the height and angle of the fittings correct before you use the cement. Here is the primer and cement I used.

Next, I used a drill with a 3/16″ bit to drill four holes in the bucket about a 1/2″ above the bottom.

Here is the assembly placed into the oil pan.

Here is the assembly in the corner of the cage.

Here is the valve I used. It will keep bugs and vermin out of the water tank and it creates a vacuum that keeps all the water from pouring out.

I used a tie wrap to hold the pipe to the side of the cage and used wire to hold the bucket steady.

To fill it just turn on the garden hose, open the valve and pour water in. The pipe is big enough to let the air out while you are filling it. When you get it full just close the valve and you are done.The total cost was about $15 and now I don’t have to get my feet muddy when it rains.

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7 thoughts on “DIY Chicken Watering Hole (and Other Critters Too)

  1. If your system doesn’t work, it is likely because:
    1. Your PVC valve leaks air, or
    2. Your gaskets aren’t sealing the PVC pipe where it enters the bucket, or
    3. Your bucket lid isn’t sealing properly on top of the bucket,
    4. Your PVC connections were not sealed properly and are not air tight.

    Everything depends on negative air pressure within the bucket when the valve is closed, and ANY air leaks from the lid, the pipe entry, the PVC connections, or the valve itself, will cause a loss of vacuum within the pail and the system will allow all the water to flow out of the waterer even with the valve closed.

  2. Good morning. I built a similar system yesterday. I discovered your plan after trying to find out how to keep water from flowing out….I understand it has to be a vacuum system….my question is how does it maintain a vacuum system when it’s time to open to add water. I did not use a valve….I was only going to use a cap at end of pipe to remove when I wanted to pour water in from a garden hose. So….do I need to install a valve system instead of the cap? Thanks for your help!

  3. Ellon it works on a vacuum system so check your connections for water tightness.

  4. i made this exactly as you said and the bucket will not stay full of water. It runs over the oil pan and out on the ground. What did I do wrong

  5. I’ve been looking at various waterers for weeks and this is EXACTLY what I had in mind… sort of a vague idea that wouldn’t take shape anyway :). I’m headed to the hardware store this week to get the fittings. Thank you SO much for this neat idea!

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