Chickens have two essential rules for feeding and drinking, they need to be fed high-quality feed and they need to be watered with fresh clean water daily. If you get these two things right, you will no doubt have a successful chicken operation.
Automatic chicken drinkers are watering devices that are used to water chickens automatically by filling them and letting them dispense the water over time. There are gravity fed chicken drinkers and mechanical chicken drinkers with a water line attached that has a constant flow of water, both work really well for watering chickens.
Raising chickens is a fun and exciting part of raising livestock. The rewards are many and include delicious eggs and if you are raising them as meat chickens, a great source of meat that is healthy.
While there are a few important things to know about raising chickens, one of the most important is watering them.
Chickens must have a daily supply of fresh clean water; this is instrumental in their ability to lay eggs and to get big enough to be used for a meat source. Watering them can be a daunting task if you are replacing the water multiple times a day.
This is why automatic chicken drinkers were invented! They save a huge amount of time and make sure your birds get the supply of clean fresh water that they need to survive.
What Are Automatic Chicken Drinkers?
Automatic chicken drinkers are devices that allow you to continuously water your chickens without having to fill them up multiple times per day. This is a great advantage when you may not have time to look after your livestock 24/7.
There are multiple types of automatic chicken drinkers and they work in different ways, are different sizes, and have a multitude of mechanisms, all of which make watering your chickens much easier.
If you have ever raised livestock, then you know the value of these types of devices. Time is money and when it comes to optimizing your chicken operations, any edge you can get to minimize time and effort may help the overall end results.
Chicken drinkers Vs Chicken Waterers
Chicken drinkers and chicken waterers are the same things. Some people use the word drinker and some use waterer. Essentially, they are the exact same device. So if you are confused by the terminology don’t worry, it’s the same.
Why You Should Use an Automatic Chicken Drinker
The benefits of using an automatic chicken drinker are many. No one wants the chores of raising livestock to consume their entire day. This is where automatic devices and machinery come in.
You should consider using an automatic chicken drinker if you:
- Work a day job
- Want to maximize profits
- Want more time for yourself
- Justify your efforts
Working a day job means not being able to take care of every need of your livestock 24 hours a day. Most people who raise livestock still have to make a living and don’t have that luxury.
You may also want to maximize your profits or results, this means that you want your operation to run as cost-effectively as possible, spending less money and time on the overall process.
Using automatic chicken drinkers allow you to have more time for yourself. Less effort goes into watering your chickens, which is something that must be done every single day.
One last part of this topic is justifying your efforts, if it takes more time and money to raise your chickens that the return you get from the eggs or meat, then what is the point?
Some people get joy just out of raising animals, which is a great experience, however, many people want to see a return. This is where the benefits of automatic equipment really make a difference.
Best Automatic Chicken Drinkers
We break down the best automatic chicken drinkers, their pros and cons, and the different types. Everything thing you need to know about chicken drinkers!
The types of chicken drinkers:
- Automatic cup waterers
- Bowl and cage chicken waterer
- Two-gallon waterer with nipples
- Mason jar waterer
- 6.25-gallon automatic waterers
- Automatic water trough
- Bell-Matic poultry waterer
These are the best chicken drinkers/waterers out there. We will explain each of them, what makes them good, how they work, and why you should consider them as an option.
Automatic Cup Waterers
Automatic cup waterers are small plastic cups that attach to a water line. They allow a chicken to tap on the cup dispenser mechanism that feeds water into the cup for the chicken to drink. These are great because depending on the amount of chickens you have you can attach multiple cups to a line.
|☑ They are a lightweight sturdy plastic material.|
|☑ You can hook up multiple cups for many chickens.|
|☒ Some chickens cannot figure out how to trigger the mechanism.|
|☒ They are plastic and may deteriorate in the sun over time.|
While these chicken drinkers are the cheapest option, they are also one of the easier and best for multiple chickens.
Compare prices and specs for automatic cup waterers on Amazon.
Bowl and Cage Chicken Waterers
Bowl and cage chicken waterers are similar to the cup waterers, they attach to a water line, have a larger bowl, with a cage mechanism underneath. This allows the chickens to have a continual water supply.
They are also easy to take apart and clean, made of multiple hard plastic pieces that are high quality.
|☑ They are cheap and well-made and can be used in a line to water multiple chickens.|
|☑ They make it easy for the chicken to have a continual supply of water.|
|☒ They are multiple pieces, that you must remove to clean and then put back together.|
|☒ They are shipped from out of the U.S and can take a few weeks to a month to receive.|
These are a good starter chicken drinker, anyone can use them, clean them and the chickens can easily figure out how to get to the water.
Compare prices and specs for bowl and cage waterers on Amazon.
Two Gallon Waterers with Nipples
The two-gallon waterers with nipples come with a gravity-fed two-gallon container that holds the water. It has multiple nipples on the bottom that allow more than one bird to drink from it at once.
It can water up to 4 birds for around five days. They also have a lid that keeps the water from getting any dirt inside of it.
|☑ These nipples keep water from falling onto the ground.|
|☑ It lets you water 4 hens for up to 5 days.|
|☒ The amount of water may go faster for birds who drink more than others.|
|☒ It only allows a water supply for up to 5 days.|
These two-gallon waterers are great if you have multiple birds, and it wastes less water by not allowing the water to spill onto the ground.
Compare prices and specs for 2-gallon waterers with nipples on Amazon.
Mason Jar Waterers
Mason jar waterers are a cheap alternative that allows you to water a couple of birds. These waterers come with a nice-looking glass mason jar, that is pleasing to the chickens! The water feeds from the jar into the lower metal bowl that has multiple areas for birds to drink from.
It’s easy to clean and since the top is completely covered with the jar there is no overflow.
|☑ This waterer is easy to clean and has few parts.|
|☑ The glass jar has a nice looking aesthetic that birds are attracted to.|
|☒ It holds less water than other chicken drinkers and must be refilled every few days.|
|☒ If the jar falls to the ground it has a greater risk of breaking since it is made from glass.|
These are awesome little chicken drinkers that have a good look and easy working design, perfect for beginners.
Compare prices and specs for mason jar waterers on Amazon.
6.25-Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterers
These are larger automatic chicken drinkers with a 6.25-gallon container. They work great for those of you who have larger flocks. They can accommodate up to 90 birds! They are made from a large container with a bottom plastic drinker bowl. They are gravity-fed and make watering your chickens a breeze.
They are made from a BPA plastic that is safe for chickens. Durable and easy to clean.
|☑ You can water a large amount of chickens.|
|☑ Easy to clean BPA plastic container with lid.|
|☒ The container is heavy if you need to move it around.|
|☒ The container can get hot if out in the sun.|
If you have many chickens, you will want to consider this 6.25-gallon chicken drinker! It’s made from BPA plastic that is safe to drink from and can be a lifesaver for those who need to spend less time watering their chickens.
Compare prices and specs for this 6.25-gallon automatic waterer on Amazon.
Automatic Water Trough
Automatic water troughs are 24-inch rectangles that hold just over a gallon and a half of water. They allow multiple birds to drink from the trough, in a true trough style.
It can be connected to a garden hose; it has a floating device that opens the flow of water when the water from the line needs to refill. These are extremely convenient for birds that drink a lot of water.
|☑ Automatic water fed in through water hose.|
|☑ Easy to clean and rectangular design makes it hard to kick over.|
|☒ These can be expensive but are extremely effective.|
|☒ They are recommended for outdoor use only.|
These are one of the best chicken waterers on the market, while the price may be high, they are good quality and work well for lots of chickens.
Compare prices and specs for automatic trough waterers on Amazon.
Bell-Matic Poultry Waterer
The Bell-Matic chicken drinker is a great all-around waterer. It has a continuous line hook up allowing water flow to the device at all times. The parts are easy to take apart and clean, and the mechanism has a sensitive drinking valve that allows precision.
If you have multiple chickens this device will allow you to water all of them and will hold up to the largest birds. It’s made of safe plastic material and has replaceable parts if you need to replace anything.
|☑ You can water multiple chickens.|
|☑ Replaceable parts and easy to clean.|
|☒ Does not have UV protection in the sun.|
|☒ Can only connect one at a time instead of multiple units in a row.|
These Bell-Matic waterers are great waterers for anyone who has about 10 birds, one of these units will water your chickens with the continual water line, giving them access to clean fresh water.
Compare prices and specs for automatic trough waterers on Amazon.
These are our best picks for automatic chicken drinkers. All of them work well and they all have their own unique functions. You will want to consider your own chicken operation and size to decide which chicken drinker is best for you.
Home Made Chicken Drinkers
There is also the option of making homemade chicken drinkers. They can be made several ways, with BPA plastic buckets, your own jars and containers, and different nipples and drinking mechanisms.
You can save money by building your own automatic chicken drinkers, but some handyman skills are required, as well as tools such as drills and screwdrivers/sockets.
You can find many drinking mechanisms that can attach to your own buckets and containers. They are generally easy to install. These are mostly gravity fed and will require you to refill them from time to time.
Cleaning Automatic Chicken Drinkers
The water you give to your chickens must be clean, and the chicken drinkers must be cleaned out regularly. It’s important to the chicken’s health that they get clean water through a clean system.
These automatic chicken drinkers save you a ton of time, but you need to have a routine for the upkeep on them.
Most of them are easy to take apart and reassemble and the cleaning process is very easy.
Why Do Chickens Need So Much Water?
Chickens need access to plenty of water. They are high-producing animals that make a lot of eggs. Whether you are raising them for eggs or meat, they require a lot of fresh clean water to produce eggs and to grow nice and healthy.
Having more water available for them actually increases your egg production and the number of eggs a bird produces.
Water is the Driving Force of All Nature.– Leonardo da Vinci
Water is vital to all life-sources and having a clean supply of water will not only make them healthier but happier.
How Many Chicken Drinkers Will You Need?
This depends on the number of birds you have and the number of gallons your container holds, and whether or not your waterer has a continual water line also comes into the equation.
If you have multiple chicken drinkers attached to a water line or container with a large amount of water, you will need less waterers.
If you have over 10-20 birds you will need a large 5+ gallon drinker with multiple nipples or watering mechanisms or a continual line feed. If you have around 4-5 birds the 2-gallon drinkers will be enough to accommodate your flock for about a week.
Some of the chicken drinkers listed here can be hooked up with multiple devices down a line from a single water source, others can only be hooked up one at a time from a water source.
You will need to take that into account if you have an operation with over 10 birds, using a device that allows several in a row might be the right choice for you!
Are plastic or metal drinkers better? Both have their pros and cons, most plastic drinkers have UV protection and are BPA safe, but not all. And some of the metal and glass drinkers can get hot in the sun making it uncomfortable for the birds. This is not a problem if your drinkers are indoors.
Can the chickens figure out the mechanisms? Some of these drinkers require the birds to push down on a mechanism that releases the water, others require them to suck from a nipple-like device, some people have noted that not all birds can figure out the mechanisms on the more complicated ones.