Heated Chicken Waterers

Heated Chicken Waterers

Heard heated chicken waterers can make life easier, but aren’t sure which to buy? Not even sure they’re safe? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

For people like us, who raise animals out of the comforts of a heated home, cold is a serious problem. If the temperature drops too far, water freezes. While some animals can break ice – with breath and a hot tongue, or a beak – there are limits to what these resources can do. And when temperatures plummet, dehydration can be a major problem for your fur or feather babies. 

One solution – heated chicken waterers – are a simple method of providing water to your flock. Today we’ll look at the kinds of heated waterers available for our chickens. 

Our Favorite Heated Chicken Waterers On Amazon:

Do Chickens Need to Drink Water?

Oh yes, chickens absolutely drink water. It might be funny to watch them – they fill their mouths and then tip their heads back – but water is an absolutely necessary part of their daily diet. Actually, an adult chicken will drink a few cups of water per day. Get a group of 20 chickens together, and they’ll likely go through as much water per day as a cow. 

Are Heated Chicken Waterers Safe?

Mostly, yes. You need to watch out for how hot they get, and how much electricity they draw. It’s best to look at your user manual and reviews online for the specific unit you’re considering.

Are There Different Types Of Heated Chicken Waterers?

Not including home-made, there are three different types of heated chicken waterers:

Automatic Waterers 

These waterers contain a basin that has one or more openings at the base that open only when chickens use them. These are generally clean, neat, and very hygienic. Depending on the valve, these waterers also avoid dripping water and frozen puddles beneath them. However, some parts are more prone to freezing.

Gravity-Type Waterers 

These operate under the same principle as the automatic waterers, save for one major difference: the distribution method. These jugs generally are attached to an open pan (also known as a “drinker”) that your chickens will drink from. Because they are open, you run the risk of your birds contaminating the pan. The drinkers are also pretty easy to break off. 

Open Pans Or Dish-type Waterers 

These are often a pan set out over a heated base. They run the same risk of contamination as the gravity waterers, which will require more scrubbing than, say, the automatic waterers. Elevating them off the ground in the heated base will help to reduce the muddying of waters. 

What Makes The “Ideal” Heated Chicken Waterer?

This is a complicated question. There are several key elements to consider:

  • How cold does it get in your area?
  • How many chickens are in your coop?
  • What material works best for you?
  • Should it rest on the floor or be elevated? 
  • Is it durable enough or will it freeze? 

Affordability is another concern. Some options – like batteries – can cost a lot over time. Some heated chicken waterers (especially the do-it-yourself variety) could put unnecessary stress on your wallet. 

How many chickens have you got? The answer to this will determine the size of your waterer, as you don’t want to be slogging out into the cold every couple of hours to refill the water of your birds. 

In other words, the ideal waterer will completely depend on your flock. Just make sure it’s durable so in the event that the water does freeze, the container won’t rupture or break. 

Let’s further explore these questions below.

How Big Should It Be?

As previously mentioned, a flock of 20 birds will drink about as much as a cow – that’s a whole lot of water to provide. If your flock consists of fewer than 5 birds, a single 2-gallon waterer should suffice. Most single waterers range in size from about a gallon to 3 gallons. The heaters in heated chicken waterers are very adept at cooling off smaller areas, but anything larger than that could run into problems with the law thermal equilibrium, which states that temperatures will seek a balance. 

In extremely cold weather, some heaters might prove insufficient in warming large quantities of water. 

With the addition of more birds, you will probably need more heated chicken waterers. Some sources recommend having on three-gallon waterer for every 10 to 12 chickens. 

What Kinds Of Automatic Valves Are There For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Nipples are a type of automatic valve that is fast becoming a preferred method of watering chickens on cold winter days. These are designed to not release water until your chicken pokes it with their beaks. 

Floating valves are small cups of water. When your chickens dip their beaks into the cup, they press on a floating valve that releases fresh water into the cup. This provides a constant set amount of water in this hanging waterer.

Should I Use Plastic Or Metal For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Ultimately, that is your call. Both materials are excellent in cold weather. Plastic waterers are durable and do not break easily. Galvanized metal also holds up very well in extreme cold BUT freezes faster than plastic. Both can be found with internal or external heaters, though plastic heaters usually have the heating element in the base. 

Should I Hang My Heated Chicken Waterers Or Lay Them On The Ground?

This is an important question, that depends, in part, on what you have available in your coop or in your pen. One clear benefit of hanging waterers is you can raise it off the ground, and your chickens are less likely to roost on them (which means less poop). Elevating the water from the ground reduces the chances your flock will poop in it. 

Ground-based waterers don’t have to be messy, however. A waterer set upon a heating pad can still get that required height and also remain equally clean to hanging heated chicken waterers. 

How Often Should I Refill My Heated Chicken Waterer?

The easy answer is “Whenever they need filling.” Since most waterers can hold upwards of a couple of gallons, they have a bit of staying power. Still, you should be checking your waterers at least once every day. That way, you can top off the containers when you see they need it, and you can see if they need to be cleaned. Your chickens might have made a mess of the waterers, and you’ll want to clean them up as soon as possible. 

Are There Heated Chicken Waterers Without Electricity Needed?

Some heated chicken waterers don’t require electricity, such as solar powered heated waterers. Others include battery-powered heaters. You can read this article here for an excellent how-to that breaks down a number of means of keeping your chickens hydrated – and all without electricity!

What About Solar Heated Chicken Waterers?

The simplest solution would be to have a large black tub that is not too tall for your chickens to reach. Place this into the sunniest part of the coop, and over the course of the day, the heat from the sun might prove to be enough to keep your flock hydrated. In colder climates, however, this might not work as well, and alternative heating might be required. 

Are There Do-it-Yourself Heated Chicken Waterers?

There are a number of sources out there across the internet that offer solutions for homemade water heaters. Here’s 2 that we like:

Where to Find Heated Chicken Waterers?

You can usually find them at farm stores, like Tractor Supply. You can also find them on Amazon here:

We hope this information about heated chicken waterers helps you keep your chickens hydrated and healthy, even through the bitter chills have arrived! Stay warm!

Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

Best Chicken Waterer: A Buyer’s Guide

We all know hens need water….but do you know what’s the best chicken waterer to make sure your fluffy butts are safe?

 

A good chicken waterer can make or break your flock. During the summer, it needs to provide consistent access to cool water to avoid heat stroke. In winter, it needs to be tough, so it doesn’t freeze over.

 

In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for chicks and adult hens. Chicken waterers are the easiest and best way to water chickens, regardless of season OR flock size.

 

The best chicken waterer we recommend:

 

The best chicken waterer for summer:

The best chicken waterer for winter (to keep water from freezing):

Why do I need a chicken waterer?

In short, because chickens need consistent access to water. Without it, they’ll become dehydrated, sick, and eventually, they’ll die. Waterers also let you keep track of your flocks liquid intake. This is especially important on hot days, or if they seem sick or stop laying eggs.

And if you want to provide herbs to your flock, soaking the herbs in water makes it easier to ensure all your hens get the benefits.

 

Chicken water feeders, or drinkers, come in a variety of sizes and shapes – what’s most important is that the waterer is safe, can hold enough water to last your chickens all day, and that your flock can’t knock it over and dump the contents everywhere.

 

How many chicken waterers do I need?

It’s best to have 1 waterer for every 5 chickens, especially during the summer (very hot climates might want to have 2+ waterers per chicken, especially if you’ll be gone all day.) If you have less than 1 waterer per 5 chickens, you will probably have to fill it up more frequently. If you use a automatic chicken waterer system like nipples, you just need to make sure there’s enough water in the system for all your chickens.

 

Different Kinds of Chicken Waterers

There’s different options with waterers and chicken water drinkers, and it’s best to know all the available options so you can pick the right one for your flock. (You can also check out the best chicken feeders I recommend here.)

 

There’s several kinds of waterers:

  • Mason jar waterers
  • Plastic waterers
  • Stainless steel waterers
  • Nipple waterers
  • Pet bowls
  • Drinker cups

 

Mason jar waterers

These are perfect for chicks, and they’re relatively inexpensive. They’re not the best for adults, however, because they don’t typically hold enough water. You will have to clean them daily, otherwise mold and moisture build up on bottom of the waterer, and form a gnarly bacteria culture.

 

Plastic waterers

These are an affordable option, and they’re also easy to clean. Sometimes they hold enough water for chickens, especially if you have a flock of 1-5 chickens. They’re also good for bantam chicken flocks. For larger flocks, however, they typically don’t hold enough to last all day. Like the mason jar waterers, you need to clean these daily.

 

Stainless steel waterers

These tend to be bigger than plastic waterers, but the same issue applies. They’re usually not big enough to accommodate flocks of 10 or more chickens (although you can use more than one waterer). They’re also usually heavier, so they’re harder for hens to knock over (which is a good thing). This is one of the easiest to use for all chicken breeds.

 

Nipple waterers

These systems make watering chickens very easy, and it keeps the water cleaner than the options above. Typically, the water supply is housed in a barrel, and the water automatically fills the nipples. Your chickens can then get a drink whenever they want.

 

The downside is that:

  • they’re sometimes hard to clean,
  • don’t provide a lot of water at once,
  • have a learning curve for your flock,
  • and tend to be more expensive.

 

Pet bowls

Yep, you can use a large canine pet bowl for your chickens – they work great. They’re durable, easy to clean, and can hold a lot of water. There’s nothing that says you need to spend a lot! (You can learn about other costs of owning a chicken here.)

 

These are also great if you need cheap or DIY chicken feeder ideas.

 

One downside is that your chickens can easily tip them over (you can always place rocks in them), and the water can get dirty very easily. 

 

Drinker cups

These are a type of automatic waterer that fills a drinking cup at eye level whenever your chickens are thirsty. They’re easy to set up and for chickens to learn to use. One downside is a lot of them aren’t very deep (so your chickens won’t get a lot of water per swallow) and they can freeze during winter.

 

How Much Water Does A Chicken Drink?

On average, chickens drink about a quart of water daily – so your waterers should be able to hold enough to keep each member of your flock happy. Using an automatic chicken waterer is the easiest way to make sure your flock has enough to drink. If your chickens become dehydrated, they can become sick or they might not lay eggs as efficiently.

 

What Should A Chicken Waterer Be Made Of?

Your chicken waterer can be made of several different materials:

  • Plastic,
  • Rubber, and/or
  • Stainless steel

There’s advantages and disadvantages to each option.

 

What’s better, plastic, rubber, or stainless steel?

On a grand scale, all are equally just as good – so when deciding on the best chicken waterer for your flock, choose the material that works best for your situation.

 

Plastic is always going to be easier to clean, especially in crevices. Rubber tends to shred, or get marks on it where bacteria can hide. It’s important to note, however, that plastic is less durable, and more likely to be cracked than rubber or stainless steel.

 

However, in winter, rubber tends to freeze less than plastic or metal. With a stainless steel chicken waterer, it’s important to take note that in the winter it can freeze faster, so if you don’t use a water heater, plastic or rubber is the better choice to go with.

 

With rubber heater buckets they tend to be black, this is so they’ll attract heat, and make the frozen water melt faster. (You can learn more about how to keep chicken water from freezing here.)

 

These are a type of solar heated chicken waterer – so using a rubber ground feeder, you can make your own diy heated chicken waterer. Amazon has good options, and there are many tutorials and resource material available on the internet to make a chicken waterer diy.

 

Watch this video for more information:

 

 

Do Chickens Need An Automatic Waterer?

Your flock doesn’t necessarily need an automatic waterer, but it can make it easier to ensure that your chickens have access to water all the time. This is especially during the summer, when heat stroke can take its toll (learn more about how to keep chickens cool here).

 

On average, a mature chicken can drink approximately 1 quart of water each day in temperatures from 40 – 75, and even more in hot weather. They’ll also tend to drink more in winter, when the air is drier, so if you live in an area with long winters, consider investing in a 1 gallon heated chicken waterer.


In the winter, if you have an automatic waterer make sure that it will work in sub-freezing temperatures.

 

This is the automatic waterer we recommend:

 

What Size Chicken Waterer Is Best?

For adult chickens, it’s best to get 1 waterer per 5-6 chickens, and possibly more if you have flock bullies. Especially during summer, it’s important to make sure everyone can access water. You’ll need a waterer that holds about 1-2 gallons, if you have a flock of 5-6 chickens.

 

For day old chicks, a mason waterer is best. It holds enough water, and is shallow enough so your chicks won’t drown.

 

If you have adult chickens or chickens over 16 weeks, a 5-gallon bucket waterer is perfect – just make sure to turn it into an automatic waterer like in this video. While it’s tempting to just put the 5 gallon bucket in the coop, it’s too deep, and your chickens might fall in and drown.  

 

 

Should I Use A Nipple System For My Chickens?

Many people are happy with a chicken water feeder that includes nipples. They do have to be set up, but are handy devices designed to give water to chickens with minimal mess. Make sure your flock can get enough water, and also remember to hang it just a few inches above ground so your chickens can reach it. To hang it, use a stud or 2×4 board, since the waterer tends to be heavy..

 

In winter, these aren’t the best choice because they’re typically made with metal, which can freeze easily.

 

Should I Use Drinker Cups?

Using drinker cups might be the best chicken waterer system for your flock since it’s an easy and affordable automatic system. Remember to check the depth of the cups – in some cases, they aren’t deep enough for an adult chicken to get enough water. These are great for chicks, though, because they prevent the baby chicks from falling into the water and drowning.

 

Also, make sure any pipes in the drinker cup system are easy to clean or replace when they’re dirty. It’s important to prevent bacteria from forming and harming your flock.

 

Should I Use A Water Heater In Winter?

You can use a heated chicken waterer, just make sure it’s safe and won’t cause a fire. In Southern areas of the USA, it’s not really necessary as long as temperatures don’t get below freezing (especially during the day).  Plastic or rubber are also the least likely to freeze. (You can learn how to keep water from freezing with this trick – it also works for heated duck waterers too).

 

In some areas of the US, you likely will have to use a water heater, especially if temps in your area are consistently under 32 degrees F. Insulated chicken waterers are another option, however, even they will freeze eventually.

 

If you do use a water heater, it’s best to not use an extension cord because this can spark a fire. Always plug directly into a socket, and frequently check the cord to make sure it’s in good condition.

 

Where Can I Buy Chicken Waterers:

 

The Top Waterers On Amazon

Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker  3.5 Gallon

This Harris Farms chicken waterer has the capacity to hold a 3.5 gallon of water, it’s durable and easy to fill with a twist-lock system that comes with a hanger/carry handle.

 

LITTLE GIANT Automatic Waterer, 5 Quart

Created by Little Giant, this easy to assemble and clean automatic waterer can hold up to 5 quarts of water providing a continuous flow of fresh water for adult poultry. The automatic float controls the water level to ensure that there is no spilling or overflow. The cover prevents roosting and keeps debris out of the water and it has a 0.75-inch hose that attaches to a standard garden hose.

 

Miller Manufacturing 740 Mason Jar Water Base

Designed by Miller Manufacturing, this plastic base waterer is perfect for poultry and game birds. It’s molded from shock resistant polystyrene and fits a model 690.

 

5 Gallon Chicken Waterer – Horizontal Side Mount Poultry Nipples

Created by RentACoop, this chicken waterer has the capacity to hold 5 gallons and is made from 100% food grade and BPA free plastic. The horizontal nipples prevent the ground/bedding from getting wet and comes with a no-roost cone to keep the lid clean and bacteria free. It comes in complete setup no assembly required!

 

RentACoop Automatic Chicken Water Nipple Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry

Created by RentACoop, this automatic chicken waterer doesn’t need tabs to push and the cups are always half full! It’s a solution for clean water for ducks, geese, turkeys, and an innovative chicken water drinker.  Watch this video to see how it works:

 

 

 

Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Twin Waterer with Automatic Valve Operated Cup

Designed by Royal Rooster, this twin waterer is a no-mess solution to water your chickens or ducks! It’s easy to fill and clean and hooks straight onto mesh or attach to the wall with brackets.  It has the capacity of 1-gallon cup style drinker (suits 4-6 chickens/ducks), 20” tall, UV stable, durable PVC plastic, Australian made quality.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Waterer

Created by Premier, this nipple waterers has a 1-liter capacity that sits or hangs above the litter so water is always clean. It’s ideal for easy clean-up and a no-mess solution to giving waterers to chickens.

 

Farm Innovators Model HPF-100 “All-Seasons” Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain, 3 Gallon

Designed by Farm Innovators, this is by customer demand one of the best chicken waterer on Amazon. It’s a premier one chicken waterer that has the capacity to hold 3 gallons and it prevents water from freezing down to 0-degree F due to it being thermostatically controlled. It’s an all-around heated duck waterer and one of the most well reviewed heated chicken waterer Amazon has.

 

Premier Chick Nipple Drinker with Wall Bracket

Created by Premier, this 1-liter nipple drinker can sit or hang above the litter to ensure that water is clean and fresh, comes with a wall bracket for hanging on a brooder or coop wall. The lightweight wire hanging bracket is also included with the nipple waterer for attachment to the cage.

 

Muddy Hill Farm Sideways Sipper Horizontal Drinker Nipple – Spring Action, No drip, Side Mount, Poultry Nipple Drinker

Designed by Muddy Hill Farm, this sipper uses a horizontal drinking nipple to ensure no drips and leaks, unlike vertical nipples. Easy to install with its unique wing-like shape, just drill a ⅜” hole in your plastic container and screw in the Sideways Sipper Horizontal Poultry Drinker Nipple.

 

How To Clean A Waterer

How Do You Clean A Chicken Waterer?

To clean a chicken waterer:

  1. Soak the entire waterer in hot water
  2. With a stiff cleaning brush, gently scrub away dirt and bacteria.
  3. You can also use a gentle soap (make sure you get all the soap out of the waterer after scrubbing).
  4. If you don’t want to use soap, you can use hot water and white vinegar instead.
  5. Make sure all residue is cleaned off the waterer before returning it to your chicken coop.

It is important to clean your chicken water dispenser often. because nasties like bacteria, dirt, or algae can contaminate your flock’s water. In some cases (like stainless steel or nipples), you might also notice rust buildup on your waterer. Clean your vessel monthly with a brush, hot water, and a gentle dish soap. If you do not want to use soap, you can use white vinegar instead (we use this when cleaning our chicken incubators to get rid of bacteria.)

 

Is Bleach Harmful To Chickens?

In large quantities, it’s poisonous. Because chickens are so much smaller than humans, they feel the effects of bleach fumes more than we do. When cleaning your chicken waterers, it’s best to steer clear of bleach and use milder options.

 

How Much Vinegar Do You Put In Chicken Water?

If you want to clean your waterer with vinegar, use 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water. Be sure to clean your waterers with hot water, and use a stiff brush to scrape away dirt and buildup. If you want to give your chickens apple cider vinegar in their water, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per 1 gallon of water, and add the mixture to their water dispenser.

 

How Do I Keep Algae Out Of My Chicken Waterer?

To keep algae out of chicken water:

  1. Keep your waterers out of the sun
  2. Clean them frequently
  3. Use a fountain, or other waterer that’ll keep water moving

 

Algae grows in standing water that’s in sunlight. So, to keep your flock’s water algae-free, make sure to keep their waterer out of direct sunlight, and clean them frequently. Since algae grows in standing water, you can also use a fountain since the moving water makes it harder for algae to grow.

 

Can Chickens Drink Water Out Of A Bowl?

Yes – large canine bowls (for great danes or irish wolfhounds, for example) are best. You can use just about anything that can hold liquid to give water to your chickens. Some common devices to keep hens from flipping over their water bowl are halves of tires, tip-over pails, rocks, and tubs.  

 

Can Chickens Drink Cold Water?

Yes. Chickens like drinking nice cool water. During summer months, you can provide cool water for most of the day by putting a block of ice in their waterer in the morning. Even in the winter, chickens will prefer cool water over hot.

 

Do Chickens Need Lots Of Water?

The average chicken drinks about 1 quart of water a day. So, you will need to provide enough water to satisfy your entire flock. You’ll also need to check their water intake in winter to make sure they’re drinking enough – otherwise, they might become dehydrated.

 

How Much Water Do Chickens Need A Day?

A typical full-grown laying hen will on average need a quart of water on a daily basis, however, this varies on the size of the hen, seasons, and outdoor temperature. Do not limit a chicken’s water because having an inconsistent supply of water will stop them from laying eggs and their health will deteriorate.

 

Do Chickens Need Water Inside Their Coop?

Yes, especially if they stay in a coop and/or run full time. Even though chickens don’t drink once they roost, they’ll be up at the crack of dawn (since chickens see more colors than we do, they’re up earlier). They’ll want a drink as soon as they wake up and start moving. During summer, they might return to their coop because it’s shady. In winter, they might not want to leave to stay warm. So, it’s always a good idea to keep water in your chicken coop. You can learn about what your coop should include here.

 

Do Free Range Chickens Need Water?

Free range chickens are no exceptions – they still need an adequate amount of water for them to remain healthy. They need a clean, fresh water source in the garden or access to their waterer located in the chicken coop.

 

Can Chickens Go Without Water At Night?

Yes, because once night falls and they roost, chickens usually won’t want to eat or drink. However, it’s still a good idea to keep water in their coop. Once they wake up and start moving, they will want water.

 

How Long Can Chickens Be Without Water?

Chickens can be without water for a couple days, but it’s not recommended. To remain healthy and to lay eggs, chickens need full time access to water. Without it, they can become dehydrated and stop laying eggs. It can take several weeks for them to recover.

 

Will Chickens Drink Dirty Water?

Yes, they will. Chickens aren’t too picky. However, it’s not a good idea to give them dirty water. It can contain harmful bacteria or mold, or any other thing that can make your flock sick. It’s best to provide fresh, clean water at all times.

 

Will Antifreeze Kill Chickens?

Yes, antifreeze is poisonous to chickens. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic – it can take just a few drops to kill a chicken. It’s always best to keep your antifreeze away from your chickens (and other household pets).

 

Can I Put Apple Cider Vinegar In My Chickens Water?

Yes, chickens love apple cider vinegar, and it’s easiest to offer it to your flock in water. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per 1 gallon of water. You can learn more about apple cider vinegar and chickens here.

 

Which do you think is the best chicken waterer? Leave a comment below!

13 Chicken Feeder Ideas: No-Waste, PVC, & More!

13 Chicken Feeder Ideas: No-Waste, PVC, & More!

If you’re raising backyard chickens, then you’ve likely also come across the pesky problem of raising mice and rats. A good quality feeder solves unwanted food freeloaders and keeps your feed fresh and bacteria free. In this article, you’ll find DIY chicken feeder ideas that’ll keep your coop a clean and happy place for your flock.

 

Rats and mice are a problem because not only do they eat your chickens’ food, they leave droppings, attack young chicks, and spread disease.

 

So, keeping them out and away from your flock is critical.

 

Let’s go over what you need to know, and how you can make your own DIY no waste chicken feeder.

 

(If you don’t want to make one, here’s the no waste chicken feeders I recommend. There’s links to different ones on Amazon and they’re all high quality and affordable).

 

What Can I Make A Chicken Feeder Out Of?

Anything can be a chicken feeder as long as it can be removed from the coop for cleaning and it holds food.

 

But if you’re here, you likely want something more sophisticated AND that’ll keep pests away from your chicken feed.

 

A bowl is great, but it won’t keep mice and rats out during winter, when they’re more likely to try to build nests in the nooks and crannies of your coop.

 

It’ll also attract ants, and give your flock a way to throw their feed everywhere – making clean up a nightmare.

 

So, let’s look at different DIY chicken feeder ideas that you can try at home!

 

List Of Possible Materials For A DIY Chicken Feeder:

 

  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Tupperware bins
  • Repurposed food-grade barrels
  • Metal
  • Rubber

 

The possibilities are really endless – this is just a brief list of possible materials. You might even have them on hand if you build your own chicken coop!


We’ve found it easiest to make a no waste feeder from PVC, from parts sourced at any hardware store. Another easy option are the repurposed food-grade barrels. (See our DIY horse feeder tutorial here – it can easily be adapted for poultry).

 

In my experience, these are the two simplest chicken feeder ideas to implement.

 

While wood seems like a good idea, and it’s readily available, it’s not very easy to clean, and it can harbor bacteria in the grain.

 

If you have access to welder (a simple one is around $100 at hardware stores), a metal chicken feeder is great also.

 

5 Gallon Bucket DIY Automatic Chicken Feeders

Making a DIY chicken water feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket takes just minutes. This one is my favorite!

 

 

While this video is about how to make an automatic chicken water feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket, this idea can very easily be adapted for feed.

 

It costs about $12, and will take 5 minutes of your time. 

 

Easy access to feed and water will improve egg production and lower the chances of your chickens developing bad habits like feather picking (which can easily be confused with chicken mites, so make sure they’re truly bored).

 

Click here for the tutorial for 5 gallon bucket automatic chicken feeder waterer

 

Here’s a second idea, using an an extra PVC component

Wood DIY Zero Waste Chicken Feeder

Wondering how to make a chicken feeder out of wood? This idea is good – but just note that it’s made out of wood. So, you’ll need to take extra care to clean it.

 

If you have wood hanging around, though, it’s very easy to make!

 

If I were to improve on it, I would add a second door at the bottom, so it can be shut at night to keep rodents out. (While chicken wire will keep most rodents out, keeping the feed closed at night will reduce the temptation to raid your coop, and reduce your mouse population.)

 

Get the tutorial here

 

Here’s a second idea that looks easy to execute

 

PVC Pipe Feeder

We recently built one of these for our chicken coop, and it’s an easy chicken feeder idea to execute.

 

You’ll need to decide whether you want to drill holes into a PVC pipe for individual feeding holes, or remove the top portion of the pipe for easy group access.

 

You’ll also need to make sure there’s enough holes for each chicken – so if you have a large flock, like I do, then making access as easy as possible will also make your life simpler.

 

PVC Feeder Idea #1 (group automatic feeder)

PVC chicken feeder idea

PVC Feeder Idea #2 here (multiple individual feeder holes)

PVC feeder idea #3 (single feeder hole)

 

DIY Rain Proof Chicken Feeder

If you want to locate your feeder outside the coop, then you’ll need to make sure it keeps the grain dry. Sometimes chickens can be picky about the texture of their feed, and might turn their beaks up at mushy mash.

 

Muddy feed also molds fast (and can shorten your backyard chickens’ lifespan) – so, it should always be a priority to ensure your chicken feeder keeps your flock’s food safe from the elements that could cause it to spoil.

 

The easiest way to execute this chicken feeder idea is to add a rain hood or cap onto a PVC feeder.

 

This idea is made from an old kitty litter bin. Just be sure to clean the bucket before using it (and clean the bucket more often than this author has)

 

Get the tutorial here

 

You can also try to make the PVC feeder below – this one has a rain hood you can find at any hardware store. The only caveat is that because of the rain hood, it can’t be closed – so rats can still get in.


However, it IS a no waste feeder. You will need to make multiple ones, however, if you have a larger flock.

 

Get the tutorial here

 

DIY No Waste Chicken Feeder Bin From A Tote

If you have a plastic tote (aka Tupperware bin) hanging around, you can make an easy no waste feeder from it. You’ll need to drill holes into it (2-3 inch holes) and add PVC pipes. You can use glue to hold the PVC in place.

 

It’s easy to clean, reduces food spoilage, and keeps your feed dry!

 

Get the tutorial here

 

DIY Hanging Automatic Feeder

DIY YouTube chicken feeders are easy to execute because you usually get step by step instructions. If you have a lot of time, and are handy, then this chicken feeder idea might be for you. Looking at the video, it feeds chickens a few grains at a time when they poke at a hanging element.

 

It’s clever, but I think it also can be improved upon. I personally would opt for one of the feeders above (but it might work well for your situation!), especially if you feed a mash (it looks like this will only work with pellets or a textured feed)

 

It’ll also certainly keep rats out of your food. For more intelligent and mischief-loving breeds, like Speckled Sussex, a feeder like this will entertain them for hours. 

 

 

DIY Baby Chick Feeder

For chicken feeder ideas for your chicks, here are some incredibly creative and simple chicken feeder ideas for you to try.

 

It’s always a good idea to keep plastic out of landfills! These look like they can me made in just a few minutes

 

I love how this one re-uses a yogurt container

 

Upcycled 2 liter soda bottle

 

DIY Chicken Feed Recipe

If you’re interested in feeding your chickens with organic and non-GMO feed that will keep them healthy and happy without costing you a lot of money then you’ll find this recipe helpful:

 

Get my best organic non-GMO chicken feed recipe here

 

Don’t want to make it yourself? You can buy my favorite 100% NON-GMO layer feed here

 

What Do You Feed Organic Chickens?

A high-quality layer feed with 16% protein and supplemented with nutrients is the best thing to feed backyard chickens. You can make your own feed using my layer feed recipe here, or find a high-quality non-GMO chicken feed here. You can also supplement their diet with table scraps, alternative chicken feeds like dried insects, and high quality chicken treats. It’s also critical to know what chickens can’t eat, like avocado and dried beans.

 

Here’s a brief table of what chickens can eat (not comprehensive):

 

Fruit Legumes Vegetables Seeds Proteins Dairy Grains
Berries Peanuts Spinach Sunflower Mealworms Milk Wheat
Cantaloupe Alfalfa Hay Tomatoes Flax Black Soldier Fly Larvae Greek Yogurt

(Plain)

Oats
Watermelon Peas Squash & Pumpkin Pumpkin Dried River Shrimp Cheese Rye
Bananas Clover Kale Hemp Eggs Whey Millet

 

You can also find a list of what chickens eat here.

 

Here’s a list of what chickens SHOULD NOT eat:

 

Vegetables Fruit Legumes Grains Other
Potato skins Avocado skins & pits Dried beans Dry rice Salt
Onions Apple seeds Uncooked beans Chocolate
Chards Peach pits Lots of sugar
Rhubarb leaves Coffee

 

Should I Hang My Chicken Feeder?

Yes, hang the chicken feeder to keep vermin out of it and so your chickens don’t poop in their grain. Be sure to at an appropriate height – 8 to 12 inches off the ground is best. You can also hang it about the middle of your bird’s back, if you think 12 inches is too high. In addition, by hanging your chicken feeders, you prevent vermin and predators from getting to the food.

 

How High Should I Hang My Chicken Feeder?

8 to 12 inches off the ground is best. You can also hang it about the middle of your bird’s back, if you think 12 inches is too high. Remember that some chicken breeds like Silkies can’t fly, and Cochin bantams and Sebrights are very short, so make sure your feeder is at the right height for everyone to get a meal.

 

How Do I Keep Rats Out Of My Chicken Feeder?

To keep rats out of your feeder, you’ll need to use a feeder that closes. Also store food away, and make sure to clean up any spills as they are likely to attract unwanted guests. You can check out my automatic chicken feeder ideas here.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs? Ultimate Guide To Laying

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs? Ultimate Guide To Laying

Eggs are one of the amazing benefits of having chickens in your care – along with companionship and having a coveted family pet and honorary member. But if you’re brand new to chickens, or if you’re trying to make sense of all the old wives tales out there, you might wonder “how often do chickens lay eggs anyway?”

Whenever a non-chicken person stops by the farm, I’m certainly asked this question! Well, if you’re wondering, “How many eggs do chickens lay?”, the truth is, it depends on a few factors:

  • Breed
  • Diet
  • The season
  • Their environment

Let’s take a look at each factor above, and by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of how many eggs you can expect your hens to lay, as well as things that can cause egg laying to stop.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs And How Many?

Factor #1: Breed

Some chicken breeds are more inclined to lay eggs consistently, while other breeds aren’t. Obviously, this will effect how often these chickens lay eggs. Two extreme examples to illustrate this point are Cornish Crosses and Production Reds. These are industrial breeds; Cornish Crosses are raised for meat, while Production Reds are bred for egg laying in factory farms.

Cornish Crosses don’t lay eggs very often – when we raised them as pets, they laid one egg a week or so. They’re too heavy with too many health problems to expect any real amount of eggs.

On the other hand, Production Reds are bred to lay eggs no matter what – we’ve had some that laid a nice brown egg every day (yes, 7 days a week). Most breeds are somewhere in the middle – they’ll lay between 4-6 eggs a week.

Here’s a breakdown of how often different popular chicken breeds lay eggs:

Breed Frequency (on average) Lay in Winter?
How often do Silkie chickens lay eggs? 3-4 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Ameraucana chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Bantam chickens lay eggs? 3-4 times a week Not without extra lights
How often do Barred Plymouth Rock chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do Black Sex Link chickens lay eggs? 5-6 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do broiler chickens lay eggs? 1-2 times a week Not typically.
How often do Rhode Island Red chickens lay eggs? 5-6 times a week Heritage blood lines need extra lights, industrial blood lines might not.
How often do Dominique chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible. Adding a light to the chicken coop is a good idea, though.
How often do free range chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week (if you can find them) If they’re not cooped regularly, probably not.
How often do Leghorn chickens lay eggs? 4-6 times a week Yes, it’s possible
How often do Partridge Rock chickens lay eggs? 4-5 times a week Yes, it’s possible

Factor #2: Diet

Diet effects egg laying ability, and it’s frequently people who aren’t feeding their flocks a good, high protein diet who email me asking “how often do chickens lay eggs?” because they’re frustrated with their hens. When a hen doesn’t have enough protein, nutrients, or calcium in her diet, it can cause her to stop laying eggs. After all, egg laying is about reproduction – if her body isn’t healthy, the first thing her body will do is stop anything except the bare necessities to live.

A diet that includes a 16% layer feed and a calcium supplement is ideal. You can free-feed your chickens, or offer 1-2 cups of grain per hen each day. These are the best chicken feeders we recommend that make it easy to feed hens without wasting a ton of food. It’s also a good idea to supplement her diet with table scraps or treats, such as black soldier fly larvae.

Factor #3: Seasons

Chickens will lay less in winter than they do in the spring, summer, and fall. Partly this is caused by the shortage of daylight in the winter, and partly (particularly in very cold areas) it’s caused by her body reserving calories for warmth. It takes a lot of energy to lay an egg! If she’s stopped laying from November – February, she’ll likely pick back up in March (in the Northern Hemisphere – this will be the opposite for our Aussie and Kiwi friends in the Southern Hemisphere).

Factor #4: Environment

Environmental stress can effect how often chicken lay eggs, so it’s always best to provide a quiet, predator free chicken coop that’s not over crowded.  When a hen is stressed, the calories she eats are diverted towards supporting her body – and not to laying eggs. In some cases, when a hen is very stressed over predators, she might stop laying together for a while.

Another reason hens stop laying is if their nesting boxes aren’t up to snuff. Chickens need to feel safe when laying eggs, and if they don’t, they might stop laying. A nesting box in a quiet, dark area that’s away from the rest of the flock (and especially roosters) is idea. You can make your chicken nesting boxes out of anything that’s easy to clean.

It’s also a good idea to put sweet smelling herbs in the nesting boxes – they’ll relax the hen and attract her to the nesting box (so she doesn’t lay elsewhere). Similarly, when chickens live in crowded conditions, or she lives with competing roosters who overly mate with her, it can spike her stress levels, and she’ll go off her eggs.

It’s best to build a coop with 10 square feet of space per bird, and with lots of roosting bars for them to rest on. It’s also important to keep out predators, rats, dogs, etc, so your flock feels safe. You can check out our top free chicken coop plans here.

How Often Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

Chickens stop laying eggs for a variety of reasons: season, diet, and stress are some common factors. You also might think your hens have stopped laying eggs – but they’re actually hiding them! This is common with free range chickens. If your hen is broody, and is sitting on a clutch, she’ll also stop laying eggs until her chicks are hatched and able to fend for themselves (about 2-3 months). Weather also can effect egg production – if a hen is heat stressed, she will stop laying. Similarly, if she’s dehydrated, her body will shut down (you can learn how to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer for $12 here – these are a LIFESAVER in the summer!)

Do Chickens Lay Eggs Every Day Naturally?

Hens will naturally lay eggs, but not necessarily one each day. Most chickens require about 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs, since egg laying is a hormonal response to sunlight. In addition, it can take about 24 hours for an egg to make it from the hen’s ovary,  through her oviduct and encased in calcium, to her vent, so it can be finally laid. There’s really no way to speed up this process – so it’s reasonable to expect your chickens to lay eggs every 24-26 hours. Most hens take a day or two off each week – and that’s completely natural.

How Many Eggs Does A Hen Lay In A Day? Do Chicken Lay Eggs Every Day?

Typically, one egg. Hens need 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs. So, a hen will lay 1 egg every day or every other day, as long as she gets 12-14 hours of light each day. In the winter, her production might decrease because the days are shorter.

So, How Many Eggs Per Week Does A Chicken Lay? The number of eggs per week a chicken lays depends largely on factors such as their breed, nutritional intake, and environmental conditions. Most chickens are known to lay 5 eggs a week or at least one every other day, for about 300 eggs per year.

Do Chickens Lay Eggs At The Same Time Every Day?

Even though most hens don’t lay every day, it’s certainly possible that a hen could lay eggs at the same time. However, most of the time, she won’t. Hens lay eggs every 24-26 hours – so she might lay her eggs in the morning one week, and in the evening another week. It’s a crapshoot! Ultimately, hens just follow their own rhythm, and lay when nature tells them to.

What Time Of Day Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

It seems like a lot of hens lay their eggs in the morning, but chickens lay eggs all throughout the day. In fact, you might see several hens fighting over the nesting box! They won’t lay their eggs at night though – they like to sleep and stay safe by roosting at night.

Is It Painful For Chickens To Lay Eggs?

There has been no clear evidence to support the claim that laying eggs hurt chickens. Of course, very large eggs laid by a very small hen might cause an issue such as egg binding or prolapsed vent, which is painful. But on average, it seems laying an egg isn’t the same as pushing out a baby every 24 hours. In fact, you’ll probably hear your hens singing “the egg song” after laying – it might just relieve them to finally pop out the egg!

Does A Chicken Need A Rooster To Lay An Egg?

No, a chicken doesn’t need a rooster to lay eggs – hens will produce their “butt nuggets” whether or not a rooster is present. This is because egg laying is a hormonal response to the amount of light – not whether she has a mate or not. If you want fertilized eggs so you can hatch chicks, then you’ll need a rooster. You can read about the best incubators we recommend here.

Is It Possible For A Chicken To Lay 2 Eggs A Day?

Yes, it is possible – if she lays “an egg within an egg.” This occurs when, for whatever reason, an egg that was released from the ovary doesn’t make it down the oviduct, and stays in her body for an additional length of time. Meanwhile, the ovary has released a second yolk, which is then also enveloped in calcium – along with the first egg. It’s important to remember, though, that this isn’t a typical thing – it’s really an abnormal egg.

How Long Does It Take For A Chicken To Push Out An Egg?

It usually takes 24 to 26 hours to fully form the egg and lay it.

How Many Eggs Do Chicken Lay A Year?

To determine how many eggs a chicken will lay in a year depends primarily on the breed, nutrition provided, and the overall management of the flock. Most egg laying breeds will lay about 300 eggs per year. Here’s a chart of the more popular breeds:

Breed Eggs per year (on average)
Silkie chickens 200-250 per year
Ameraucana chickens 250 – 280 per year
Barred Rock chickens Approx. 300 per year
Bantam chickens 250 – 280 per year
Black Sex Link chickens Approx. 300 per year
Rhode Island Red chickens Approx. 300 per year
Dominique chickens 250 – 280 per year
Leghorn chickens Approx. 300 per year

How Many Eggs Are In A Chicken? Are Hens Born With All Their Eggs?

A hen is born with all the egg yolks she’ll ever have (the yolks are what’s actually released from her ovary – hens have two ovaries, but only one is functional). The amount of actual yolks in her ovaries changes from chicken to chicken – they’re individuals after all. However, most hens lay consistently for the first 3 years of their lives. Since many breeds lay about 300 eggs a year, and they don’t start laying until they’re 6-8 months old, you can reasonably expect a hen to lay about 600-1,000 eggs during her lifetime.

Do Large Eggs Hurt Chickens?

Although most of the time it doesn’t hurt a chicken to lay an egg, it’s completely possible an overly large egg might hurt. The vent does stretch to accommodate laying, but an egg that’s a much larger size than normal would put extra strain on the hen. However, there’s nothing you can do to stop this – egg laying is natural, and sometimes, the eggs are larger than normal because that’s nature’s way.  

Do Male Chickens Lay Eggs?

No – just female chickens. The male chickens, called roosters, fertilize the eggs and protect the hens and provide companionship.

How Long Is The Egg Laying Process?

The egg laying process takes about 24 to 26 hours to produce and form the egg. The process – releasing the yolk from the ovary and encasing it with albumen (white egg parts) and the shell starts again 30 minutes after the chicken has laid an egg. You can read about all the parts of an egg here.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Double Yolk Eggs?

While double yolk eggs happen frequently and aren’t anything to worry about, there’s no telling when hens will lay eggs with two yolks. Some hens lay them consistently, and some hens will only do it once in their lives. You can read more about double yolk eggs here.

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs In The Wild?

Just like domestic breeds, wild chickens lay eggs every 24-26 hours – but this depends on the season, her health, and her diet.

How Often Do Chickens Have To Mate To Lay Eggs?

Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether they mate with a rooster or not. If you want to hatch chicks, however, you will need a rooster to fertilize the eggs. You can read about how chickens mate right here.

What Do Chickens Do With Unfertilized Eggs?

If the hen is “broody,” meaning she wants to hatch eggs, she’ll sit on them even if they’re not fertile. If the hen isn’t broody, she’ll just leave the eggs in her nesting spot and go on with her day. Sometimes, hens will eat their own eggs, especially if their diet isn’t already sufficient, or if they’re bored.

How often do chickens lay eggs that are unfertilized? Well, that depends on whether they run with a rooster or not! If they’re cooped with a rooster, you can bet her eggs are consistently fertile. If there’s no rooster, then all her eggs will be unfertilized.

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