This month Leighton has been working on the watering system in our chicken and duck run. We are trying to make our system more self-sufficient and wanted to include rain water as the main source of water for this setup. I am impressed with how it has turned out and how quickly the birds found it and started using it, it is the best setup for our homestead.
This design started as a thought to include rain water harvest into our chicken and duck pen as a backup water source. It is a simple design that so far works wonderfully.
If you live in an area where it is illegal to harvest rain water, you could skip the rain collecting and use a hose to fill the water tank, which is our backup plan should we have a dry spell with no rain. That being said, if you live in an extremely dry area and have access to a limited water supply this setup is an excellent solution for poultry that have a tendency to waste water, like ducks.
To start, Leighton went and got the supplies (not an all-inclusive list);
– (5) chicken water cups with 1/2″ PVC brackets – They can be ordered here.
– 5″ of 5/8 garden hose
– 10 foot plastic eaves trough
– (4) eaves trough hanging brackets
– (2) eaves trough end caps
– 100 liter plastic tote with lid (can use whatever size is needed or fits your space)
– (2) 90 degree schedule 40 1/2″ PVC adapters
– 12 feet of schedule 40 1/2″ PVC pipe
– schedule 40 1/2″ PVC t adapter
– schedule 40 1/2″ PVC to female adapter
– (2) 5/8 female garden hose mender
– 1/2 drain valve
– 3 feet of 5/8 drain hose (dark color to prevent algae growth)
– 3/4 Thru hull fitting (put in eaves trough and attach 5/8 hose to drain into tote)
– (3) 20″ industrial brackets to hold water tank
– (9) 5/16 3″ lag screws with washers
– 1/2 PVC brackets to hold the pipe to the structure
– Brass male hose to male pipe adapter (3/4 to 1/2)
Once we had all of the materials Leighton got started with setting the system up.
He started by attaching the eaves trough to the chicken coop on one side. Mounting it using the 4 eaves trough brackets and 4 screws.
There was a little experimenting that went on to ensure the flow of water from the roof would fall into the eaves trough with little waste.
At the back of the coop Leighton built a sturdy shelf to hold the water tank, using industrial strength brackets to be sure that the shelf will hold the weight of the water and to account for future expansion.
This is the inside of the coop, the back wall where Leighton added support for the shelf.
Industrial strength brackets and (3) 5/16 3″ lag screws.
Shelf with the water tank on it.
Note: When buying a tote for storing water get a dark color, this prevents light from getting in, which discourages algae from growing. The clear tube that we are using to connect the eaves trough to the tank will be painted black, for the this reason.
Thru hull fitting connector from the eaves to the tubing.
Tubing from the eaves into a tight-fitting hole leading to the holding tank.
Leighton added a water valve on the side of the tank to connect the hose to the PVC pipe in case we ever need to isolate the tank from the rest of the system. The drain was purposely put on the side approx 1″ from the bottom, this was done to prevent sucking debris from the bottom of the tank and plugging the water cup valves.
The drain valve connects to the 5/8 garden hose which has 2 female hose menders and clamps at either ends. The garden hose connects to the brass male hose to male pipe adapter which is screwed into the 1/2″ schedule 40 PVC adapter. A short run of 1/2″ PVC pipe was used to connect into the 90 degree adapter.
Here is the side view of the watering system, the horizontal 1/2″ PVC pipe was installed at a slight incline to prevent airlock in the system, this allowed not having to put a secondary vent in the system.
Because there is no wood frame on the bottom of the coop, Leighton used strapping to hold the bottom of the PVC pipe.
The watering cups, when the birds hit the yellow floater it releases the water and fills the orange cup.
That’s it, once we had all of the materials, it took Leighton about two hours to set up the entire system with some fine tuning afterwards.
The system is completely expandable, we can add more watering cups and branch off lines to set up remote water cups while maintaining the same collection method, nothing is glued, simply held together with pressure fittings. The system can be disassembled and stored during the winter months to prevent damage.
With the current system and the number of birds we have, we can fill the water tank and the feeders and they will last three days before needing to be refilled. This can easily be extended by increasing the reserve holding capacities. For busy homesteaders and farmers this saves us time and energy on feeding and watering the animals, plus we are able to harvest the rain making it a more sustainable source of water.
With this watering system and the DIY PVC Poultry Feeder that we built last month it is allowing us to leave the homestead for a few days, without having to arrange someone to come and feed/water the chickens and ducks. Though these systems will not work for us during the winter months, for right now they are allowing us some freedom from the farm.
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