Best Chicken Waterer for Your Flock and Poultry Birds

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

It is commonly believed that chickens can survive without water for up to 48 hours. However, this is not the case. Chickens depend on the water much more than they do on food. If you want to ensure your chickens never go thirsty, one of the best ways to do it is to use the best chicken waterer.

We've put in a lot of time and effort over the years trying to find the best way to provide fresh, healthy water for our chickens. The following methods have proven to be the most reliable and convenient.

We chose to feature these items because they are user-friendly, reliable, and effective at preventing water contamination and simplifying routine chicken care.

What Is a Chicken Waterer?

A chicken waterer is a huge tank with a trough, nipples, or cups that provides clean water to your flock daily. These drinkers come in various capacities, but all of them are designed to save you the trouble of making daily trips to and from the coop to refill the water supply.

Most watering devices are rather simple, allowing only a trickle of water to be released at a time. As a result, less water will be lost to evaporation, less will be wasted, and your flock's water will remain uncontaminated. Therefore, a waterer is one of the first things you'll need if you want to start keeping chickens.

If you're unsure which kind will serve your flock and environment best, we're here to help you figure it out. Below are the best chicken waterers to help you decide which chicken waterer is ideal for your flock by outlining the pros and cons of each.

1. RentACoop Chicken Water Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry

Chicken Water Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry - Pack of 6 + One Extra for Free (Total of 7)
  • πŸ“Water flows automatically without tabs to push - The cups are always half full - Watch video to see how it...
  • πŸ“ An amazing solution for clean water for chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys etc. Great for 80'+ days - Hens can...
  • πŸ“ Perfect for gravity fed systems (attached directly to a bucket) or systems with a float valve or pressure...
  • πŸ“ Use a 3/8" drill bit to create holes, 1" above the base of the bucket or use 5/16ID+7/16OD tube
  • πŸ“ BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE! Here for any additional help you may need!

Last update on 2022-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The RentACoop Make Your Own Waterer Kit helped me simplify the process of getting a reliable water supply for my chicken coop. It has 12 sturdy, functional red automated cups holding water for four chickens each, making it ideal for chicks older than two weeks old.

The water cups from RentACoop can be drilled into a bucket, pail, or even linked with a half-inch PVC pipe attached to a water supply. This allowed me to create our own automated or gravity-fed poultry watering systems.

Image Source: rentacoop.com

My poultry always has easy access to fresh water with built-in valves that keep the cups at least half full. What's nice about RentACoop's cups is that they're more straightforward for chickens to use and wide enough for birds to dip their wattles in the water while drinking.

The chicken water cups from RentACoop are BPA-free and available in packs of two, four, or six to fit flocks of various sizes. Following the accompanying instructions, installing the drink cups in a bucket is as simple as using a 5/16" or 11/32" drill bit to make holes in the bucket.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use gravity poultry waterer
  • Large enough to allow the chicken to dip wattles inside
  • Durable and BPA-free plastic cups
  • Built-in valves
  • It comes in packs of two, four, or six

Cons

  • It doesn't come with a watering bucket

2. Farm Innovators HPF-100 Thermostatically Controlled Water Fountain

Farm Innovators Model HPF-100 "All-Seasons" Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain, 3 Gallon, 100-Watt
  • PREVENTS FREEZING: Prevents water from freezing in temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 3-GALLON CAPACITY: Features reservoir with a 3-gallon capacity so your farm friends can hydrate all day
  • MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY: Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary for maximum efficiency
  • EASILY HANG: Convenient design can be easily hung in an enclosure or on a structure outside
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Constructed from durable plastic that can withstand year-round weather conditions; Dimensions...

Last update on 2022-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The thought of defrosting water in a chicken coop drives me insane. When it's cold outside, nobody wants to deal with frozen water. To keep your flock from suffering from dehydration throughout the winter, it is essential to have a heated chicken waterer.

A solution that I like is the All Season Heated Poultry Fountain that Farm Innovators has to offer. This Farm Innovators model has a 3-gallon capacity, and it is energy-efficient as it only consumes 100 watts of electricity, warming water as needed according to the thermostatic settings.

Image Source: farminnovators.com

This thermostatically regulated heated waterer keeps the water from freezing at 0Β°F. As a result, there's no need to thaw out frozen chicken water or carry out many gallons at once. This fountain holds three gallons of water to serve a flock of eight chickens for up to three days or 12 birds for two days.

Pros

  • A 3-gallon bucket with a twist-lock lid
  • A hanging hook is included.
  • They are easily refilled by removing the bottom plug.
  • All-season thermostatic heating control

Cons

  • Short electrical cable
  • When filled, the plastic bottom of the bucket becomes weak.

3. Farm Innovators HB-60P Heated 2 Gallon Poultry Drinker

Farm Innovators HB-60P Heated 2 Gallon Poultry Drinker
  • Provides chickens with easy access to clean water year-round
  • 3 side mounted drip-free and freeze-free nipples accommodate up to 15 chickens
  • Can be hung or placed on the ground
  • 60 watt heater is thermostatically controlled to work automatically
  • Top removes for easy filling

Last update on 2022-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I recommend the Farm Innovators 2 Gallon Drinker for people who are fed up with thawing frozen water for their flock. It provides plenty of water for up to 15 chickens daily and gives them year-round access to clean water thanks to side-mounted nipples.

Image Source: farminnovators.com

I can either hang or set this drinker on the ground. The water is kept from freezing by a thermostatically regulated 60-watt heater. Removing the top is easy, ensuring a simple filling from above when it's time to add extra water.

I think it's great that there is no roost since it means the drinker won't get dirty. The main drawback is that two gallons don't last very long unless you have a small flock. I would only receive water for one day with that.

Pros

  • Simple to Fill
  • Safe Power
  • It comes with two gallons
  • No Roost Style
  • Heats water

Cons

  • Requires regular refilling

4. Miller 9835 5-Gallon Galvanized Poultry Fountain

Miller 9835 5-Gallon Galvanized Poultry Fountain
  • A heavy-duty standalone waterer maintains a constant water level for chickens turkeys and other poultry
  • Rolled edges for safety seams are constructed and tested for leaks
  • Sloped top prevents roosting
  • Can be used with a heater base (sold separately) during winter
  • Made in USA

Last update on 2022-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mostly, these are what you will find in people's backyards. The most common and inexpensive type of waterer is an inverted 'bell' waterer that is strung from a chain or stands firmly on a base.

They come in various capacities and are available in plastic or metal, so you should have no trouble choosing one that works for you and the flock.

The only downside to using a 3-gallon waterer for my chickens all the time is that I have to check on them and maybe refill them every day during the warmer months.

While I like the extra time with the ladies, I can see how this may annoy others with more pressing schedules.

Image Source: miller-mfg.com

They are fully convenient and easy to use for smaller flocks of birds, but this one does not hang. Therefore, it must be placed on blocks to prevent the birds from filling the trough with mud.

After using them, my only issue is that they cannot be used in the cold. When the plastic ages, it gets brittle and readily breaks.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty waterer
  • Sloped top that prevents roosting
  • Rolled edges for safety
  • No leaks
  • Different capacity options

Cons

  • It is not the best for cold weather
  • Rusts easily

5. Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker, 5 Quart

Sale
Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker, 5 Quart
  • Easy-fill, easy-clean
  • Molded from long-life plastic with durable fountain
  • Features twist-lock system
  • Accommodates up to 32 poultry or game chicks
  • Can be used with the Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base

Last update on 2022-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This traditional chicken waterer can be found at almost any farm or fleet supply store. A plastic dome top twists into the bottom of this chicken drinker, creating a basin for the water to gather in. In my opinion, this type of waterer is the standard for new poultry caretakers.

Image Source: harrisfarm.com.au

It includes a metal hanger at the top, making it simple to carry or hang from the ceiling. Ten chickens can drink from a five-quart drinker for one day, or five may drink from it for two days. It's crucial to understand that this waterer didn't help us save time as we needed to replenish it frequently.

Simultaneously, this version is inexpensive, which is a major plus. The Harris Farms Poultry Drinker is a great choice if you don't mind having to refill it frequently.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Twist-lock system keeps the container securely attached to the base
  • Ideal for up to 32 chickens
  • Easy-to-clean molded plastic
  • Affordable

Cons

  • High temperatures can cause the plastic to break
  • Securing it to the base may be challenging when the container is completely filled

Types of Chicken Waterers

1. Gravity-Style Chicken Waterer

Image Source: diycraftsy.com

A full gravity-style chicken waterer includes a top or bottom-filling plastic or metal water tank. The tank is designed such that the water drains straight into a circular dish or tray situated beneath it.

Certain gravity-type waterers include an incorporated handle for convenience while transporting a full water tank. Unfortunately, it's easy for the open dish to get dirty, even though the water in the tank remains clean.

2. Automatic Chicken Waterers

Image Source: thegoodlifebackyard.com.au

Using an automatic chicken waterer is the most convenient way to provide your chickens with clean water daily with the least effort from you. They are the most complex watering system to set up, but they make up for it by automatically meeting your chickens' water requirements.

An automatic waterer may need some very fundamental plumbing skills and supplies like PVC pipe and link up directly to a water supply such as a hose or water faucet.

The nipples or cups are connected to a water source to provide the hens with a constant water supply. If you're interested in going this way, you can watch several setup tutorial videos on YouTube.

3. Hanging Waterers

Image Source: backyardchickens.com

Waterers for chickens can be placed on the ground, but many chicken keepers prefer hanging waterers because they keep the water up off the ground and out of the birds' reach in case they kick something into the water.

Even if your flock tends to knock these over, the fact that they can't be kicked over is a major plus. Chickens can drink from nipples, cups, or troughs on the inside of hanging waterers; these are usually made of plastic but can also be metal.

4. Nipple Waterers

Image Source: choretime.com

Troughs are commonly used in traditional poultry waterers, and the birds drink by dipping their beaks into the water. The danger is that at some point, a chicken with a dirty beak may dip into the water, contaminating it.

Drinkers with a nipple attachment can be used by hens, which requires them to use their beaks to activate the toggle. It's a hygienic choice that avoids combination, but there is a steep learning curve.

Key Considerations When Choosing the Best Chicken Waterer

1. Water Capacity

The water capacity of each waterer is the first thing you need to consider. This is related to the number of farm animals in your flock. There is a wide range of tank capacities, from one to twelve gallons.

You should know that a typical chicken requires a daily intake of 16 ounces (one pint). Therefore, eight chickens may receive daily water from a one-gallon waterer.

Don't forget to consider how often you'll be filling the waterer. You should select a waterer or a group of drinkers that can supply your flock with water for many days without needing to be refilled as often as mine.

The general rule is one flock for every eight to ten chickens. It's important to keep that in mind since it helps stop chickens from hoarding water or fighting over it. Unless you keep a small number of hens, having more than one water source is essential.

2. Material

Plastic and metal watering cans are the two most common options. However, as with anything, each option has benefits and drawbacks.

Plastic is the common material used for flock waterers and also bird feeders due to its low cost and weight. Unfortunately, the material eventually breaks down and wears out, which is a major drawback. Plastic watering cans are ineffective the moment they develop even the tiniest break.

Metal is the most resilient but also the most costly material for waterers. Galvanized metal is recommended since it won't rust or corrode over time from prolonged exposure to moisture. These will cost more, though, and metal waterers cannot be filled with apple cider vinegar.

3. Simple Filling

No one enjoys the hassle of filling up the water dish for their chickens. It may be a matter of building quality in certain cases, but having strong handles and a large hole for filling the holding tank with water is also important.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Chicken Waterers

1. How many chicken waterers will your flock need?

You should provide one waterer for your flock's eight to ten chickens. It's important to remember that each chicken needs 16 ounces of water per day.

How many chickens do you have? Multiply the total number of chickens by 16 ounces. It takes very simple math to realize that it only is equivalent to eight pints. I also advise leaving yourself some leeway in case you decide against going out that day or have errands to run.

2. How do I clean chicken waterers?

Depending on your model, cleaning a waterer shouldn't be that difficult. First, you should wash the troughs and cups in a sink full of hot, soapy water each week. Then, you should use hot, soapy water every two to three months to clean the water in your reservoirs.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books