The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chicken water

Avian Aqua Miser: automatic chicken watererClean water is essential for chicken health, but it's easy to overlook for the backyard hobbyist.  A scientific paper in the Proceedings of the Second Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference notes that chickens who don't drink enough water get sick more easily and grow more slowly as chicks.  I can't find any hard data, but it just makes sense that hens would also lay fewer eggs if they had less to drink.

But how hard is it to keep plentiful water in your chicken coop?  Not so hard...until you realize that chickens just won't drink if the water is dirty.  With traditional waterers, the water can get dirty half an hour after you put it out in their coop, or can spill dry in a tractor in seconds.  As we learned during our first summer of chicken-keeping, the result can be disaster --- two of our hens died of heat exhaustion due to a spilled waterer on a hot summer day.

Our favorite solution is Mark's chicken waterer invention, the Avian Aqua Miser.  I feel a bit selfish pointing you all to our store, but the truth is that I adore our automatic chicken waterers --- they let us go out of town for four days in the midst of summer without worrying about our birds!  If you don't feel comfortable forking out $15 for a DIY kit, you should at least keep a careful eye on your chickens' waterers during the summer months.  Before the Avian Aqua Miser, Mark often gave our girls fresh water multiple times a day.  And if you really want to pamper them, throw some ice cubes into the waterer --- those chickens will drink as if they're in heaven!

This post is part of our Chicken Trivia lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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How does the hanging fowl waterer operate in winter? We have freezing temps in mid America.
Also, we are avoiding plastic for health reasons- do they make a metal one? Since we intend to eat the birds, we are not taking a chance they will have any residues from plastics. Most people are fine using plastic products, but we are taking precautions. Really enjoy your website - it feels homey. :) Thanks 2/21/13 7:52pm

Comment by Lady KDG Thu Feb 21 20:54:45 2013
Lady KDG --- Since writing this post, we've come up with a heated version that works down into the mid teens Fahrenheit. It is generally made with a plastic bucket, but it's possible you could use our kits to make something similar in metal, although it would be tougher. I hope that helps!
Comment by anna Fri Feb 22 07:33:25 2013

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