If you are raising chickens, they need access to fresh, clean drinking water all the time. A standard three gallon chicken waterer costs about twenty bucks at a feed store, if there’s one near you. If you have half a dozen chickens, that’s about all you need. Three gallons of water will generally lasts a bit more than one full day. If you have more than a handful of chickens, however, you’ll need multiple waterers. You can save yourself a little money and daily effort by making your own basic chicken waterers out of five gallon buckets (with lids) and a large bowl-like container; cheap oil pans work perfectly.
Materials and Costs
Five gallon buckets can be picked up almost anywhere or you can buy them from most home improvement stores for $2-$3. Just make sure that it has a good, tight-fitting lid. Oil pans with a base diameter bigger than the five gallon bucket cost between $3-$4. Worst case, you’ll spend $7 each for these DIY five gallon chicken waterers. They work just as well for other poultry, too, as long as the poultry in question is tall enough to reach over the side of the oil pan. By the way, don’t use an oil pan that’s had oil in it or five gallon buckets that held anything toxic to avoid the possibility of poisoning your flock.
DIY Chicken Waterer Assembly
What you’ll need to do is put the lid on the bucket and place it upside down in the oil pan. Draw a line around the bucket to mark the height of the oil pan. This is the high water mark. You’ll need to drill or cut several holes around the perimeter of the bucket. Cut the holes so that they are about an inch below the high water mark when the bucket is inverted and placed in the oil pan. If you fill the oil pan with water and place the lidded bucket in it, lid down, then the holes should be an inch under water. That’s all there is to the assembly.
Using your Home-made Chicken Waterer
To use the waterer, remove the bucket lid and fill the bucket with water. Replace the lid on the bucket and make sure it is on tight. Then place the oil pan in the chicken pen and quickly turn the bucket upside down in the oil pan. Once the water covers the holes in the bucket, the vacuum pressure inside the bucket should stop excess water from coming out. The bucket’s handle makes it easy to carry to and from your water source. As the chickens drink or the water evaporates, the pan will refill whenever the water is low enough for air to get into the bucket through the holes.