Urban Hen House

A day in the life of chickens

Do Chickens Have Nipples?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

  I’ll bet the question made you think twice. My chickens have nipples.  But not the kind you think!  These nipples are called poultry watering nipples, and they are metal and plastic widgets designed to fit into a vessel, to control and protect a clean water supply to the poultry.  They look similar to the nipples in the middle picture (below).  I purchased them from my local animal grub store. They are also available for purchase through various internet sources. The benefits of a constant clean water supply surpass the nominal cost invested in acquiring the materials and installing a hanging gravity fed nipple poultry dispenser to the chicken coop.  I spent $2.00 on a bucket and $15.00 for three poultry nipples.

Within the first 10 days of the chickens arrival, to my urban hen house, I had to change out, refill, and clean a traditional water dispenser 3 times a day.  Why? Several reasons, but fetid water and water leaks caused the most concern. Chicken people will tell you that a constant supply of clean water is essential to keeping a chicken healthy.  It turns out, that my chickens drink water all through the day.  I felt a little bad for them, one morning, when I found that the traditional water dispenser was filled with chicken poo floaties.  Once I offered fresh water in the cleaned out container, they jumped on it like they hadn’t had water in a while, and drink up they did. It was disgusting to deal with.  I felt a little bad for myself, having to clean that mess up.

  So, I quickly searched out a better solution, for watering my hens. I recalled that the chicken farmer had hanging water dispensers –essentially buckets filled with water, which offered drops of water, through the bottom, when the hens applied pressure to the dispenser tips. I found a helpful video on the internet about how to make an automatic poultry water dispenser.  The instructions are offered in 8 brief videos. Knowing someone in my area used this method, and after learning how to build my own clean water dispenser, I quickly went out and assembled the materials for the job.  My own Mister Incredible showed me how to build the darn thing and within 10 minutes he had it hanging and filled with clean water in my chicken coop.  It only took a few minutes before the hens investigated.  The final picture shows Penny, the Rhode Island Red ready to take a drink from under the level, gravity fed, nipple water dispenser.

  I’m surprised at how simple this water solution is, how readily available the material is, and how easy it was to install.  I hope you find this helpful for use in your own hen house.  It is now summer’s end as I write, and I’m checking on the quantity of water in the bucket once a week –this sure beats changing and cleaning multiple times a day!  In the winter, I expect the water will occasionally freeze, and require daily inspection.

waterdispenser poultry water nipple poultry waterer

  1. Traditional Poultry Water Dispenser
  2. Poultry Nipples
  3. Penny the hen at the read to drink water from the automatic poultry water dispenser in her coop.
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