Gravity Fed DIY Chicken Waterer

gravity fed diy pvc chicken waterer

I’m not sure what to call this-a poultry waterer, pvc waterer, gravity fed pvc waterer, automatic chicken waterer?  How about we just call it a chicken waterer with some nice advantages…

After raising chickens for a while, most people realize the benefit of getting the waterer off the ground of the chicken coop.  By having the water source above your chicken’s head, the water stays cleaner (no poop or bedding in the water) and doesn’t get knocked over and all over the coop.  Almost all chickens can be trained to use a poultry nipple waterer-a screw in nozzle found at most feed stores that screws into pvc pipe or the bottom of a plastic bucket and lets water flow when the nozzle is pecked at.  Chickens are attracted to the bright red color and learn how to use them in no time.  I installed a gravity fed watering system for our birds that uses poultry nipples in pvc pipe being fed from a food grade 3 gallon bucket.  It holds enough water for several days at least and has the advantage of being able to disassemble completely for cleaning.

Chicken Waterer Parts List

For this project I used:

  • 2 nipple waterers (enough for 6 birds)
  • 3/4 inch pvc pipe
  • 3/4 inch pvc endcap
  • 3/4 inch pvc threaded connector
  • Pvc cement
  • Food grade square bucket with lid
  • Threaded brass faucet
  • A bulkhead fitting
  • A section of garden hose and threaded fittings
  • teflon tape

All my couplers were 3/4 inch to accommodate standard garden hoses.  The bucket I used was square which made for an easy installation of the bulkhead on the vertical sidewall.  I’m not too sure if mounting the bulkhead/faucet assembly on the side wall would work on a standard 5 gallon bucket because of the curve of the bucket.  You could mount it on the flat bottom of the bucket if you had a way to hang the bucket from above.  Through researching food grade buckets online, I discovered that all plastic containers labeled HDPE are food grade.  This can ease your mind if you can’t verify if a container is food grade or not.

Chicken Waterer Assembly

pvc poultry waterer

I used a drill press at my work to cut the appropriate hole in the bucket with a large paddle bit.  After marking the pipe, I drilled the holes for the screw in poultry nipples.  The drill press and a sharp brad point drill bit allowed me to get the holes and consequently the nipples in line.

I used a bolt with the same basic thread pitch as the nipples to start a thread in the holes of the pvc pipe.  Once I could start the poultry nipple in the pvc, I wrapped the threads with some teflon tape and screwed them into the pvc pipe with a crescent wrench:

poultry nipple diy waterer

After gluing the end fittings on with the pvc glue, the actual watering assembly was complete:pvcpolutrynipple

The bulkhead basically screws in place:

bucket chicken waterer

A little teflon tape and the faucet gets screwed onto the bulkhead:

chicken waterer

I cut a section of garden hose and attached the appropriate couplers and basically screwed the whole thing together.


I wired up the pipe in the coop temporarily since our chickens aren’t full grown yet.  When they are all grown, I’ll make a more permanent mounting system.  I placed the bucket on a cinder block so it was higher than the pipe and let gravity do its thing:

gravity fed diy pvc chicken waterer

Here is a link to my previous post on the chicken coop.  There second video contains a quick shot of the waterer in action.  Our coop is coming along nicely and we are enjoying every minute of it!