My Automatic Poultry Waterers

My Automatic Poultry Waterers

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Chuck Krueger

I’ve tried several different designs for a poultry watering device that I don’t have to fill manually every few days. Some were trough types with a valve and float device often used in swamp coolers. I did buckets with the same type of valve and fitted with PVC pipe and poultry nipples. Although these devices worked, they allowed the water to become dirty and a harbinger for algae. I wanted a system that would fill automatically and keep the water clean and did not cost an arm and a leg. Keep in mind that these only work in above-freezing temperatures but they lessen my workload for seven to eight months out of the year. 

To construct the waterer, you will need the following items:

4” diameter PVC soil drain pipe (not DWV pipe). This pipe is sold in 10-foot lengths and is available at hardware and home improvement stores. You need the solid PVC pipe, not the ribbed laminated soil pipe with a black interior. That pipe will not glue well. 

  • Two 4” PVC caps. Make sure they are flat.
  • 6 ea. ½” PVC 90-degree elbows.
  • 2 ea. ½” PVC plugs.
  • A toilet fill valve like the one shown.
  • A flat rubber washer with 1” diameter hole.
  • A stainless steel toilet water supply line with brass adaptor that will connect to your water supply.
  • Poultry nipples or cups.

On one cap mark the center line of the cap and a perpendicular line ½” off of the center. On the center mark pot a mark 1 ¼” in from the edge of the cap. On the perpendicular line that is off-center, put a mark 1” in from each edge.

Drill a 1” hole for the toilet filler valve at the marks on the centerline. Drill 7/8” holes at the other two marks on the off-center line. I used spade bits to drill the cap.

Drill a ½” hole in each of the PVC plugs. Install the plugs through the 7/8” holes into two of the PVC elbows using PVC primer and cement. Make sure to use sufficient cement to ensure that the plugs glue to the cap and into the elbows. The elbows need to be as close as possible to parallel with each other and facing in opposite directions.

Now glue a 10” min. length of the 4” PVC pipe into the cap. Cut lengths of ½” PVC to complete a loop for the poultry nipples. Install the nipples per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Assemble the PVC with primer and cement. This is how I did mine but you can do any configuration that fits your needs.

Adjust the stem and the float to the lowest positions to minimize the amount of water in the tube. Install the flat rubber washer on the toilet fill valve, insert the valve through the 1” hole and secure with the nut provided. Make sure that the float moves freely. Some models have a small adjustment knob on the float adjuster that might interfere with the movement of the float, if so, simply remove the knob.

Here is my completed unit installed on the coop wall with two large hose clamps. I use ¼” plastic tubing with compression fittings from my water source to the waterers. After mounting, install the top cap to keep debris out but do not glue it on. 

I also made one with poultry cups. Do not drill the 2-7/8” holes in the cap. Drill and install holes for the cups per the manufacturer’s instructions.

 A couple of elbows and a cap and the leftover pipe make great feed tubes.

Originally published in the August/September 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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