DIY Automatic Chicken Waterer

Using these DIY automatic chicken waterer plans for an 8-station hydrator, you’ll never change another chicken waterer again – at least not daily.

| September/October 2016

  • A group of free range hens foraging in fresh spring grass in Scotland.
    Photo by Clerk
  • An easy DIY rainwater-fed chicken watering system.
    Photo by Nate Skow Illustration

Chugalug Chickens

I’m of the opinion that chickens do better in large numbers; dozens of hens hanging out together, just like their eggs. Gangs, armies, fantastic flocks of fowl, hustling about the barnyard, grassy pastures, and all along the fence lines. Community chickens. Chickenopolis. More chickens, more eggs. More roasted chicken. More chicken and dumplings. More chicken stock, chicken enchiladas, chicken tetrazzini.

You get the picture: Plenty of farm-raised chicken for you and the family. The correct number and balance here at my farm seems to be around 25 hens and a couple of roosters. But I’m always in the market for a few more chickens. Got any for sale?

Once you find yourself surrounded by 20 or 30 chickens, you’ll need to help them out with a source of clean water, supplemental food, and a place to lay their eggs and stay safe at night. Even though I have a few cocky birds that go off the chicken grid here once in a while – a rooster and two hens sometimes camp out at night when their extreme free-ranging nature carries them deep into the woods – I still like to provide a friendly habitat for the rest of the gang. They could possibly be outnumbered by predators out here where I’m located. Coyotes love chicken enchiladas. Dang coyotes.

You can go about your day refilling water buckets (as they get tipped over) and water troughs (as they are fouled regularly) to make sure your feathered friends have plenty of fresh drinking water, or you can set up a constant flow of H2O for the thirsty little cluckers. Where might you get such a life-giving gadget? Well, Tractor Supply Co., Atwoods, your local feed store, even online at sites like – they all sell watering systems and water bottles for use with almost every species of livestock, chickens included. However, the price tag might ruffle a few feathers if your chickens are on a dirt farmer’s budget like mine. (If my chickens and I owned a chicken supply website, we’d have a much fancier watering system, and possibly fancier chickens, but don’t tell these hens – they’re already looking for an excuse to take a day off from egg laying.)

So, in the absence of a dot-com windfall, I made my own chicken watering system using spare PVC, a dozen water nipples, roofing tin and screws, a 100-gallon tank, and few spare parts. And it works just fine, at a fraction of the price. More money for more chickens. See where I’m headed?

I’m sure your chickens already love you, but with a constant flow of fresh water, they’re going to really thrive. Here’s the DIY instructions for a setup similar to mine, with the capability to supply eight chickens fresh water all at once.
5/15/2018 7:18:59 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own chicken waterer – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April 27-28, 2019
Asheville, N.C.

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!


Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds