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Hot weather chicken watering with drip irrigation, and a swamp cooler float valve.

 
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Not sure I've seen this before, though I'm sure it's been done before.

Standard five gallon bucket with poultry nipples screwed into the bottom, I've been using the setup for years and it's worked flawlessly.   A manual check of the water every day or so, and a manual fill up from the hose every week or so, and the birds are good to go.

A few months ago the bucket's handle failed, and the whole setup tipped over and water was unavailable to the chickens for ? hours, but the hens got vocal and let me know they were out of water before any harm was done.  That was when it was cool out.

Now it's getting into the hundreds (F) temperature wise, and I thought it would be a good idea to have a redundant bucket in case of a failure again.  

This time, though, I hooked up a 1/4" drip line (coming off of my vegetable garden's drip 1/2" supply line) and then installed a simple float valve (an old swamp cooler float valve to be exact) inside the bucket.  My garden gets watered for several minutes twice a day so the bucket is pretty much filled 100% with fresh water twice a day.  Theoretically I'd never have to water the hens during the summer.  (I still manually fill the original bucket, and keep an eye on both buckets to make sure everything is working properly).  When I come across another swamp cooler float, I'll probably automate the original bucket as well.

A bunch of float valves on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=float+valve+swamp+cooler&i=prime-instant-video&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Poultry nipples I'm using.  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=poultry+nipples&i=prime-instant-video&ref=nb_sb_noss

Cheap insurance, and not too difficult especially if there's already a drip line available.


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Black 5 gallon bucket with poultry nipples ready to be installed.
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Four nipples installed.
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Old swamp cooler float valve.
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Float valve installed in bucket.
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1/4" inlet of float valve from the outside of the bucket.
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Bucket installed with 1/4" drip line from vegetable garden beds.
 
steward
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I like the nipples and the 5 gallon bucket, I use that system myself and it is really reliable.  One worry I have with that float and supply system is:  How funky does that water get?

I have to clean out my bucket about every other filling during the summer because it starts to get a bit slimy inside.  And it's only in the 80s here.  I'd love to rig up a system to give them even fresher water every day.  But I don't have well water near the coop and a rain water tank could also get kinda gunky.
 
S Tenorman
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Mike Jay wrote:I like the nipples and the 5 gallon bucket, I use that system myself and it is really reliable.  One worry I have with that float and supply system is:  How funky does that water get?

I have to clean out my bucket about every other filling during the summer because it starts to get a bit slimy inside.  And it's only in the 80s here.  I'd love to rig up a system to give them even fresher water every day.  But I don't have well water near the coop and a rain water tank could also get kinda gunky.



Good point.  My water is typical chlorinated municipal city water, so I'm not sure if that would make a difference from wells or other sources.

For at least four, or maybe five years I've been using a Home Depot orange (somewhat translucent) bucket to water the hens.  Every so often ( maybe four times a year) I do give it a good blasting on the inside to get the algae out, but the water never got "funky" in the sense of a smell or anything like that (not that I noticed, and I've lost no birds over those years, and none have ever showed signs of sickness).  That being said, the original bucket did get very low, and was refilled almost completely with fresh water every week or so.  So I see the possibility of a problem of having a bucket that is always full only being recharged in small increments.

That being said, the new bucket is completely black, so hopefully no algae will grow, or anything else for that matter.  

I've only had the new bucket in use for a week or so, but I'll update this post if there are any issues as far as water quality are concerned.

 
Mike Jay
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I'm guessing the municipal water is the difference.  Mine is in a white bucket as well...  Might have to rethink that.  But then again, it would be hard to see the water level.  Decisions, decisions
 
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