How to Build a Poultry Water Stand
By William Morrow, Whitmore Farms
Everyone that has chickens knows what a challenge it can be to keep their water source clean. The birds love to scratch and kick up litter into the water and can create quite a mess. Before you know it, your water trough is a slurry of wood shavings, manure, and feathers. Clean, fresh water is vital to the health of your chickens. Dirty, soiled water can cause illness in your birds and is less palatable to your chickens. Reduced water intake will lower egg production in your layers and slow down growth in your broilers. This is especially important for young chicks and poults with developing immune systems. Coccidia is your number one concern when growing out young chicks, and prevention through good hygiene is your best strategy for happy, healthy birds.
There are several water stands you can purchase to raise your water source above the ground making it harder for litter to make its way up into the water pan. I’ve found that those stands work well for the first week of life and after that, they become buried in the litter and are useless. They tend to be made out of plastic and don’t support the weight of larger, heavier waterers well. So we here at Whitmore Farm decided to take things into our own hands and build a better water stand.
We chose 2-inch by 6-inch lumber for durability and higher clearance off the ground. The external dimensions of the stand are 24-inches square. You can use pressure treated wood, but we don’t like the idea of chemicals being around our livestock. Our water stands are always being used indoors or under cover. So exposure to the outdoor elements really isn’t a concern. Sometimes we will paint the wood prior to assembly to extend its lifespan. I also like to use screws instead of nails, but either will work.
Two additional boards are installed 1/3 of the way from the exterior wall to serve as bracing. These internal boards will support the weight of the waterer. We wrap the top half of the platform with 1/2-inch hardware cloth and secure it with staples. The hardware cloth lasts a few seasons and is easily replaced. These stands have served us well and will last a long time.
William Morrow raises rare breeds of poultry at Whitmore Farm in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Visit www.whitmorefarm.com.
Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of Backyard Poultry.