Easy DIY Well Pump Install (Off Grid)

Easy DIY Well Pump Install (Off Grid)

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Best Waterers for Backyard Chickens

DIY Automatic Waterers

 

 

6 Automatic Chicken Waterers That Are Pure Genius

6 Automatic Chicken Waterers That Are Pure Genius

It’s really important to make sure your backyard chickens have constant access to clean water – and it’s easy to do with an automatic waterer.

 

You can buy one, or make one yourself. It takes just a few minutes!

 

(I have a full tutorial here. It cost me $12 to make this waterer, but a reader recently told me she did it all for free. Better than spending $50 on Amazon for essentially the same thing!)

 

 

Here’s a collection of DIY chicken waterers we found on Instagram – they look pretty easy to make, too!

 

Automatic waterer out of an old barrel

This one looks pretty easy to make. Some nipples, a drill with the right bit, and you’re good to go. Just make sure if you buy a used barrel, it only contained food and is food-safe.

 

We use barrels in this DIY horse feeder tutorial – they previously had coffee in them.

 

Use PVC for easy install

This waterer uses PVC. You can’t see the rig outside the coop, but if you had a rain barrel outside the coop, then the waterer could stay full by gravity.

 

The set up below should only cost a few dollars to make – PVC is pretty cheap. Something else to consider is keeping it unfrozen during the winter. It will either have to be insulated or you can try PEX.

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Hey Laura @thechickenfountain! Our girl Etta wanted to know why Frank hasn't invented a mealworm flavoring system for the Chicken Fountain yet! 😂 We all love our automatic waterer from @thechickenfountain – I love it because I don't have to lug buckets of water out to the coop every day (it is hooked up to a rain barrel that collects water off the roof of the coop!). And the birds love it because it's easy to use & they get a supply of fresh, clean water! 👍 #WinWin #chickenfountain #chickenwaterer #mealworms #freshwater #farmlife #farmanimals #farmproblems #farmchores #homesteader #automatic #homesteading #iamcountryside #backyardpoultrymag #backyardchickens #birdsofinstagram #thepopahomestead

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Add nipples to a 5 gallon bucket

My tutorial up there uses a dish as the bottom of the waterer, but you can also try hanging the bucket. This one looks easy to build – you would just need the nipples and a drill, and a sturdy place to hang the waterer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkDkS4QlBWp/?tagged=chickenwaterer

Try This Adorable DIY Herb Pot for Healthier Backyard Chickens!

Try This Adorable DIY Herb Pot for Healthier Backyard Chickens!

So chickens LOVE herbs. Seriously. They LOVE them!

 

And not only do chickens  love them, but they’re also really good for them too! They’re also perfect to feed for great eggs. So that’s a huge win-win!

 

I try and incorporate herbs into my chickens’ diet in as many ways as I can. I use herbs in my chickens’ nesting boxes (check out my nesting box herbs in the store here) and they’re a great accompaniment to a great organic layer feed.


So why are herbs so important for your chickens health? Well, herbs can provide nutrition and health benefits that chickens that supplement what they get from their normal feed.

 

While you can provide their regular grain in a chicken feeder, life is more fun with a DIY herb pot.


One of my favorite herbs to use for chickens is oregano.

Oregano has amazing properties (some studies on chickens have shown that after feeding oregano, chickens were healthier, laid better, and weighed more – an important factor in determining health.)


I use dried and fresh oregano and provide them for the chickens in their nesting boxes because it also helps promote cleanliness. 

 

Chickens love to pick at the herbs, and providing them can also give them environmental enrichment – an important step in reducing boredom and negative behaviors!

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks


I also love using peppermint in my chicken coop because it smells AMAZING, and it stimulates laying.

I also use peppermint in my recipe for natural fly repellent and it does a great job of keeping flies away from me and from my chickens!

 

Peppermint can keep insects such as mites and flies away, and is great for soothing tiny tummies. (You can buy dried peppermint in the store here.)

Peppermint also might help reduce any respiratory issues because of the strong scent.

 

Sage is another healthy herb for hens!

 

Sage is wonderful for hens, and studies show it might help reduce internal parasites. 

Like oregano, chickens love to peck at sage, and find the scent soothing – and it’ll make your coop smell amazing too!


Because herbs are so amazing for chickens and ducks, I decided to create a DIY herb pot for your chickens that you can put in their run!

It’s a great way to add some environmental activities for your chickens, and it looks super cute! Watch the video below to learn how I created this herb pot.



So this project is SO EASY! I love that it’s an fun project, but it also can really help your chickens get the nutrition they need! Plus having environmental activities for your chickens to do can help to prevent negative behaviors.

 


So here’s how I made this DIY Herb Pot for my chickens


All you need is:

  • 3 herb plants (I used peppermint, sage, and oregano because of their nutritional benefits for chickens)
  • One small pot
  • Extra potting soil


And that’s it! All you need to do is place your herbs inside of your pot or teacup and then fill in the empty spaces with the extra potting soil!

 

I used a super cute coffee cup pot for this project – it’s a great, useful accent piece, and – confession time – I love that it has the handle! It makes it so easy to move it around the coop and away from nibbling goats.

 

One thing to be sure of – no matter the pot you choose, be sure it has a hole in the bottom for drainage!

 

Also make sure you give each plant it’s fair share of space – and be sure to keep it watered regularly, and add compost tea as needed.

 

Backyard chicken herb pot

You can also use rabbit manure or worm compost to keep the herbs healthy.

 

This is an amazing easy project to help your chickens (and ducks! The ducks LOVE this herb pot!) be healthy and to provide them with some environmental interest.


Do you have any easy projects you’ve done to help your chickens? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below what you have done for your chickens to help them be healthier!

 

7 Sneaky Hacks To Install An Automatic Chicken Coop Door

7 Sneaky Hacks To Install An Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Installing an automatic chicken coop door is easy, but it’s not always super straightforward.

 

Here’s 7 sneaky hacks to install an automatic door for your chicken coop that the pros don’t always tell you  (and I learned the hard way).

 

First, in the video below, we show you how to install the automatic chicken coop door from out of the package to fully installed.

 

 

There’s lots of options for automatic chicken coop doors. (This article contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

 

If you want to buy the coop door we use, here’s where to get it. The company is a small business, and they’re great folks. They answered all of our questions, and the coop door is great quality.

 

Here’s 7 hacks you should keep in mind to make the installation process simpler and less stressful for you and your chickens!

 

DIY automatic chicken coop door

Check the installation area is the right size for your automatic chicken coop door.

It seems simple enough, but don’t make the mistake of eyeballing the size of the automatic coop door.  We didn’t do this and had to slightly widen the installation space. Luckily, this was easy and not dramatic.

 

You might need different hardware than the automatic chicken coop door company provides. This is normal.

We found with our coop, the screws provided by manufacturer weren’t long enough for our coop (not manufacturer error, just the way our coop is made). So, we had to substitute, and the installation went smoothly.

 

Double check the door is flush with the sides and floor.

We didn’t experience any issues with this, but it’s still worth checking all the same (see tip #7). Holes or gaps let in cold air and moisture, rats, and possibly predators.

 

If your coop door requires an AC outlet, use a solar powered or battery powered generator for off grid coops

Off grid generators that don’t use gas and that are quiet are ideal. This is the solar powered generator we use (it can also be charged from an AC outlet in our home).

 

Put the generator inside a box or place it high so the chickens leave it alone. (A box is the best solution to extend the life of the generator and keep it dust-free).

 

Use a drill to create holes to open an area for the door

This made life easier and installation much faster. If you need to power your tools with an AC plug, the solar generator can help with that too.

 

Leave animals out of the coop during installation so the noise doesn’t bother them.

The rooster in particular was bothered by the loud noise of the jigsaw. Let your chicken flock run around outside while you install their new door.

Buy an automatic door with interior and exterior frames.

This will provide insulation for your flock so cold and drafts won’t blow through during winter. The frames also make it harder for predators to get through the door and kill your flock.

 

The one we installed in the video above comes with frames:

 

DIY automatic chicken coop door

 

Don’t worry if your chickens don’t understand the automatic coop door at first.

They’re smart and will figure it out eventually.

 

Easiest DIY Automatic Chicken Waterer You’ll Ever Make

Easiest DIY Automatic Chicken Waterer You’ll Ever Make

With it getting hotter, I wanted to show you a DIY automatic chicken waterer we made right on the homestead.

 

It cost us under $5 to make, but it solves so many problems on the farm. The last thing we want is for our animals to be thirsty or get heat stroke, and this DIY automatic chicken waterer prevents health issues.

 

Here’s a step-by-step video, and there’s also directions below.

 

The chickens love that it makes water available all day, and I love that it’s close to the ground and shallow enough that chicks won’t drown in it (unless their seriously committed).

 

It’s easy to disassemble and clean and because it’s made of plastic and rubber, it’s easy to sanitize.

 

Here’s the DIY automatic chicken waterer we made:

 

DIY automatic chicken waterer with chick

 

You can use galvanized steel instead of rubber, if you prefer.

 

Seriously, this took us about 5 minutes to make. Once you have the materials, it’s super simple.

 

What you’ll need to make this DIY waterer:

  • A 5 Gallon bucket
  • Plastic top that fits on the bucket
  • A 1/2″ to 1″ drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Ground feeder or oil pan


Here’s how to make it!

 

Start with a 5 gallon bucket

 

We found one at our local big box store, but you can buy it on Amazon as well.

 

The most important part of choosing a bucket is to make sure it’s food grade, since your chickens will drink from the DIY automatic chicken waterer.

 

 

How do you tell if it’s made of food grade plastic? If it has a 2 and the HDPE designation, it’s safe for food.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

If you do use a bucket that’s been hanging around, either clean it with bleach or avoid making a DIY waterer with it altogether if you don’t know what’s been in it.

 

Our bucket was brand new and cleaned with bleach when we brought it home.

 

Drill holes in the bucket

 

We got a 1″ drill but for about $3.

 

With the bit, drill evenly-spaced holes as close to the top of the bucket as possible – it’s these holes that will create the automatic part of your DIY chicken waterer.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

If you don’t have the right drill bit, here’s what we use:

 

 

You want to DIY holes so they’ll be large enough to let out enough water, but not so large that the water will come gushing out and all over the place.

 

 

Drill a hole in the top

 

We were able to source a bucket top for our DIY waterer at our local big box store.

 

Once you’ve drilled holes in the 5 gallon bucket, drill a 1″ hole in the top.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Secure the top to the bucket by snapping it into place.

 

This forms an air-tight seal when under water so the pan refills only when the water level has sunk low enough.

 

 

Get a ground feeder or oil pan

 

We used an old ground feeder for horses that we had lying around, which made this project super cheap, since we just had to buy the bucket and top.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Ours is rubber, but a galvanized steel one will work well since it also will be easy to clean.

 

Whatever you use, the water line must be able to rise higher than the holes you drilled in the 5 gallon bucket when it’s inverted and placed into the ground feeder.

 

Here’s the rubber one we use (and next to it is the steel one, if you prefer):

 

 

Fill the bucket with water

 

Through the 1″ hole, fill the bucket with water.

 

After the bucket is full, quickly flip it upside down and place it into the ground feeder or oil pan.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

The ground feeder will fill up with water, and should stop filling once the water line exceeds the holes in the 5 gallon bucket.

 

Anytime your flock drinks down the water, the bucket will automatically fill.

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Doesn’t get much easier than that, and our flock loves to drink water from it!

 

Have the DIY waterer mastered? How about trying a DIY automatic chicken feeder?

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Would this DIY automatic chicken waterer work for your flock? Why or why not? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!

 

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40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video (Essential AND Easy!)

40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video (Essential AND Easy!)

One way I’ve increased my independence is by learning new homesteading skills.

And what’s an easier way to learn than by video?

 

Here’s 40 essential (and easy) homesteading skills for you to master!

40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video From FrugalChicken

Make laundry detergent

Making your own laundry detergent is probably one of the easiest homesteading skills to master on this list.

 

All it takes is a few ingredients to master this homesteading task. These ingredients are safe, and it’s exactly how I make my detergent.

 

 

If you’re a reader, check out my article about this homesteading must!

 

Snag them on Amazon here:

 

Graft fruit trees

 

When you graft trees, you increase your yield (over time) without having to wait for new trees to grow and produce fruits.

 

You can also graft your best trees on to healthy and hearty root stock for healthy trees that will last.

 

It’s one of many traditional skills our ancestors used to survive!

Kill a chicken humanely

Warning: This video is graphic.

 

She’s humane and very kind and her method is simple and straight forward without need for any specialized equipment.

 

To learn how to kill your own chickens to improve your homesteading skills, I recommend this guide. But fair warning.

 

Here’s a great article on 9 Knives for Homesteading Women. My favorite in the article is the Kershaw Chive.

Dehydrate vegetables off-grid

When you have too many peppers, you’ll wish to start preserving them. Learning how to dehydrate them off-grid is one of the best skills to learn – you can do it without any special equipment!

 

Can food

Canning food is one of the most essential homesteading skills to learn, and when your up to your ears in squash, it becomes pretty important.

 

Why?

 

Because you’ll want a way to save all that produce you harvest.  

 

Here’s the exact mason jars I use!

 

Milk a goat

Milking a goat isn’t hard as far as homesteading skills go, but it can be tricky if you haven’t done it before.

 

The key is to not pull, but squeeze.

 

Be sure to use a stainless steel milking pail – much easier to sanitize!

 

Milk a cow

Milking a cow versus milking a goat are slightly different skills – but equally important.

 

Be sure to be safe as you practice. Like any large animal, cows can do a lot of damage to a person accidentally simply because of their size (speaking as a person who gets kicked by wayward colts a lot).

 

Light a fire in the rain

If you plan to preserve your produce by canning outside over a fire, knowing how to light a flame in the rain is one of those homesteading skills you should learn.

 

You don’t always get to choose the days you have available to preserve your harvest! 

 

This is essential if you live off-grid as well.

Make butter

Making butter is one of those essential homesteading skills that’s super easy to try and master.

 

I don’t use a blender when making butter, but if you want to speed up the process, a blender will do that in a snap.

Make yogurt

I’m going to be honest, I use a Yogotherm to make yogurt, but learning to do it without a yogurt maker is one of those frugal homesteading skills to have.

 

Of course, using a yogurt maker is perfectly fine too.

 

When you have a dairy animal, you’ll want to find new ways to preserve all that milk!

 

Here’s the exact yogurt maker I use:

Make beeswax candles

One of the simplest skills to learn!

 

If you’re electricity goes out, or if you’re off grid, you’ll be glad to have this homesteading skill.

 

You can order beeswax and other candle-making supplies:

 

Make tallow candles

Using tallow is another way to produce candles for your homestead, and to use up the extra fat if you raise and butcher your own cattle (great skills to learn too!).

 

It’s easy, and way to use the whole animal, which is important when homesteading.

 

Here’s where to snag supplies:

Hatch chicks

If you want a sustainable chicken population, consider incubating eggs. It’s not one of the more difficult skills to learn, but it does take some knowledge and experience.

 

If you’re shopping for an incubator, I recommend one with a turner. It’s a little more pricey, but it pays off over time.

 

If you work all day, or if you have children, you don’t always have the time to turn eggs 3 times a day.

 

This is the exact model I use, and I’ve had great success.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGTaUIe-GZ4

Make soap using all-natural ingredients

Making soap safely is one of the easiest skills you can try at home, no matter where you are.

 

I do recommend using molds, since it will make the process smoother. 

 

Be sure to take safety precautions – you will have to use lye, since it’s essential to this homesteading activity, but plenty of people successfully use it.

 

Use your best judgement.

 

Make a quilt

Once you decide on fabric and a pattern, quilt-making is a snap – it just takes time and patience. 

 

Given the prices of quilts these days, if you have even a smidgen of sewing talent, you can put together a quilt, learning how to block and sew it, and save a ton with these homesteading skills.

 

 

Candle an egg

Candling and incubating are homesteading skills that take some experience to master, but once you get it, it’s super simple. 

 

This video is on Day 10 of the incubation process – the day when you start to know pretty much which eggs are developing, and which are duds. 

 

You can use any flashlight, but this is one I’ve had success with:

Save seeds

Seed saving is one of those skills essential to building a sustainable homestead.

 

You’ll produce fruits and vegetables that work well for your particular soil and year after year, your harvest will be better and better. 

 

Ferment foods

For centuries, our homesteading ancestors fermented foods to preserve them, and get the most nutrition possible from their harvest.

 

It seems intimidating, but it’s one of those skills that will make you proud to be a homesteader. If I can do it, so can you. You just have to be sensible, and if anything looks or smells off, toss it. 

 

Here’s 2 books I like:

 

Make sauerkraut

As an introduction to fermenting, consider sauerkraut. It’s pretty foolproof – and an easy homesteading skill to start with!

 

This kit is one I use, and it makes fermenting simple. 

Sprout seeds to check viability

Let’s say you come across a packet of seeds, but they look pretty old. You don’t want to toss them, but you can’t waste garden space either (been there, done that!). 

 

 

Here’s how to test those seeds for viability.

Grow fodder

If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your feed expenses while raising the nutritional value of your grain, try to growing fodder.

 

 

This is one of those homesteading skills that’s easy to learn, and it increases the nutritional value of your feed up to 600%.

 

 

Preserve foods by making jams

You don’t just have to preserve strawberries, you can preserve any sort of fruit.

 

I have a guide about these homesteading skills, too, and this video is a great introduction.

 

If you plan to use pectin, consider finding a deal and buying in bulk – some recipes call for a whole packet. This is the brand I use:

 

Render lard

You’ll need to know how to render lard if you’re big into baking or have purchased a pig (or half a pig) to butcher.

 

Rendering lard is one of those homesteading skills that you can learn anywhere.

Make homemade apple cider vinegar

Homemade apple cider vinegar completely smokes store bought vinegar. When you taste the difference, you won’t go back. 

 

Read my step-by-step guide about this essential homesteading skills!

Make organic lip balm

This is one of many very frugal homesteading skills that’s simple to master.

 

It’s pretty luxurious, being able to concoct a year’s worth of delicious, organic lip balm in the span of an afternoon.

 

Here’s what to buy:

Make lotion bars

Interested in another easy DIY project made with organic ingredients? Lotion bars are an easy option!

 

Although not specifically homesteading skills, these are still frugal options for beauty products (and a great way to spend an afternoon!). Here’s what to buy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ofcAyXbkBE

Butcher a pig

If you’re going to have livestock, butchering them is one of those skills that will save you a ton of money.

 

This video is graphic (although you don’t see them actually killing the pig in this video), so be warned.

Build a compost bin

If you decide to save money on fertilizer, or want to use your manure productively, building a compost bin is a must. You don’t need specialized tools, either. 

 

You can build a compost bin with pallets (make sure they’re safe for this kind of homesteading project!) or you can use new wood (make sure it’s heat treated, and not treated with chemicals).

Pasteurize milk

There’s lots of reasons to pasteurize your milk. Here’s an easy guide to doing it without any specialized (or expensive!) equipment.

Make cheese

Making cheese is a simple homesteading skill to master, and one that will increase your independence.

 

Try mozzarella first – it’s easy and requires few ingredients.

 

Right now, you can snag my free ebook about making cheese! Be sure to hop on my mailing list!

Clean a fish

Now that we’re building an aquaponic system, these are homesteading skills I need to get better at!

 

Whether you fish or raise fish to harvest, this tutorial is for you.

Give a goat an injection

When my goat was attacked by my dog, I relied on this homesteading tutorial to give her antibiotics, since I didn’t even know where on my goat to give an injection! 

 

Before doing anything, though, I would talk to a vet (which is what I did).

Give a chicken an injection

Chickens are actually very easy to give injections to if you’ve never done it. I’m able to do it with my chickens without using the towel, but if you have a scared, flighty chicken, then you’ll definitely want to use a towel.

Break new ground for a garden

We established several new gardens this year, and breaking ground can be tough! Follow these steps to make it easier.

Make sausage

Just like anything homemade, sausage from scratch tastes so much better than anything store bought. Freshness just can’t be competed with. You can use any recipe, but here is a basic step-by-step guide.

Use a pressure cooker

You can use a pressure cooker to can homesteading goods such as bone broth, and you can use it to cook as well. While pressure cookers might have blown up a few years ago, now they’re pretty safe, as long as you use good judgement.

 

I’d love to hear from you!

Which homesteading skills are you working on? Which do you want to learn? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!

 

Easy Homesteading Skills