How to Make a Cheap DIY Automatic Chicken Watering System

The automatic chicken watering system is a great way to make sure your backyard chickens are always hydrated and healthy.

It’s also a lot easier to build than you think! Not to mention – it’s dirt cheap.

You can mount this system right onto the coop so your chickens will have easy access to water inside and out! When completed, all you’ll have to do is add some fresh holes when it comes time for maintenance – and voila!

No more worries about keeping an eye on them or anything like that because they will be cared for while still providing quality eggs every week (or month).

DIY automatic chicken watering system

In this article, I’ll discuss how to make an automatic chicken watering system step by step. This is a great project for those who have backyard chickens, as it will keep them hydrated and healthy!

I’ll go over the materials you need and the steps you need to take to make this system. Let’s get started!

What you need to build an automatic chicken watering system

The first thing you need to do is gather your materials. For this project, you will need:

  • 2″ PVC pipe and fittings (elbows, tee socket and adapters to fit your design)
  • PVC primer and PVC glue (any brand)
  • Pipe straps and/or J hooks.
  • A pack of threaded poultry nipples (these are automatic watering tips)
  • A saw
  • A drill

Luckily, you can find everything at your local farm supply store or an online marketplace like Amazon. I got a pack of 10 threaded poultry nipples for $10, which are really affordable!

You might want to get enough pipe because the length and width may differ depending on what size coop it is that you’re making. Just keep in mind not too much excess material has been used here.

I’m using 6 nipples total:

  • 6 inside our chicken wire enclosure (which means there should also remain space underneath).
  • 3 outside and beneath them.

Once you have all of your materials, it’s time to start putting the system together.

Step 1: Prepare your pipes

You can start by prepping your PVC fittings and pipes with PVC primer. Once that has dried, apply glue to the inside of your fittings and the outside of your pipes.

You’ll want a good 90-degree turn at one end, so everything fits securely together without leaking. This basically welds the pieces together so they will never fall apart.

Leave room at either end so that an opening can remain available if needed. Make sure to leave a clean-out end you can cap in case you need to flush the line for any reason.

Step 2: Attach the poultry nipples

To install the 6 Threaded Poultry Nipples, I drilled 3 holes into the inside pipe and 3 holes for the outside pipe using a 30-11 Drill bit.

Once the holes were made, I used a 30-11 bolt to twist into the pipe. This effectively threads the PVC so you can then screw them right into the pipe. The rubber seals should prevent any leaks.

Step 3: Install the pipes and poultry nipples in the coop

Thread your PVC through your chicken coop and secure it with pipe straps. My coop design allowed for about three feet of pipe on the inside run and about the same for the outside run.

I chose a 2” PVC Pipe for my project, but you can use 3”, which will hold more water. My system holds about 2.5 gallons of water inside the pipes, so it will last my chickens a few days.

Once it’s installed, be sure to tap the poultry nipples so that your chickens see the water coming out and know what to do.

Step 4: Pour water into the pipe

Once the pipes are installed onto the coop, you can now pour in water to the topmost part of the pipe.

Be sure to tap the poultry nipples so that your chickens see the water coming out and know what to do.

Pro Tip: We know that UV rays can cause problems for your PVC, so be sure to protect it with paint or other barriers. If you live in high heat areas and want an even quicker solution than shading the pipes just use some silver spray-on coating!

Making a PVC chicken waterer for rainy days and winter seasons

This system is easy to modify. If you don’t want to refill every few days, you could use wider PVC or add a bucket on the outside.

I thought of modifying this, later on, to create a rain barrel chicken waterer by adding a gutter with a screen to filter water right into the system.

You could add a shut-off valve during winter so the water remains inside the coop, or you can insulate the outside pipes. I estimate it’ll hold about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water in the pipes inside the coop.

This modification will save you a lot of grief, especially during colder days. Definitely no harm taking the extra effort to winter-proof your chicken watering system.

There are many ways to expand this and change it to fit your needs.

How to create a hands-off watering system for vacation

When it comes to how we supply water for the chickens when we go on vacation, one of the most frequently asked questions is how we do it.

Some people have suggested I just put the hose into the pipes and let the water run continually, but this creates a lot of pressure on the chicken nipples and causes them to spray.

If you are only gone for a few days, this isn’t a huge problem. However, this isn’t a great solution for longer periods.

I modified the refill pipe with a hose-to-PVC adapter. This is a short-term solution, but it reduces the amount of pressure on the system.

I took a trip up to Ace Hardware to grab a few fittings to connect a garden hose up to our 2″ PVC pipe system.

I started with a cleanup adapter so that I could screw the hose attachment on and off, a 2″ PVC threaded adapter, reducing bushing to 3/4″ or 1/2″ and a pipe thread to hose thread adapter.

This way, I can simply attach a hose to the system when we need to refill it and take the hose off when we’re done.

This saves a lot of time and hassle, and it’s a lot less messy than trying to pour water into the system directly.

If you want to take a vacation and still provide your chickens with a fresh supply of water, you can use an adapter and hose to create a makeshift watering system.

Simply turn the water off almost all the way and add some river rock under the system to prevent muddy puddles.

You can also incorporate a float supply system when you redesign the main water system.

Final Thoughts

This system will provide your chickens with fresh, clean water at all times, ensuring that they stay healthy and hydrated. Thanks for reading!