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

Watering your rabbits

Rabbit watererWhen keeping any animal, one of the necessities is, of course, providing food and water. This post will cover how I am providing water for my rabbits.

The result of my efforts is a bit of an experiment involving some creativity in providing a constant source of water for my rabbits, while not requiring that I tend to their water needs manually every day. We have more problems here with heat of the summer than freezing in the winter, so freezing isn't much of a concern. Heat issues are very much a concern though, so water is important.

We started with the traditional rabbit water bottles until we could build the system that we wanted. We also used one rabbit as a test subject to see if we could get him to drink from one of Mark and Anna's chicken water nipples. He took to this method of drinking pretty well, so we then decided to expand on the test. All three of the rabbits we have at present will now be drinking from this watering system.'s expandable.

I started out with a handful of supplies and some tools seen below:

DIY rabbit waterer

Tapping nippleI used a toilet tank fill valve assembly to autofill a bucket with water. I used part of an old broken fill valve assembly to make the outlet in the bottom of the bucket. From there, I used PVC pipe to go into the rabbit hutch.

The chicken waterers seem to be 1/8 male tapered pipe threads, so I used a drill bit and tap to thread some PVC end caps. The waterer nipples are then screwed into these, and it seems to work pretty well. I drilled and tapped the end caps at a bit of an angle to make it easier for the rabbits to drink from them. I'd say it's about a 20 degree angle...and they seem to still seal OK.

Rabbit nipple watererThe bucket is suspended above the hutch to give head pressure, and a benefit during dry times is that we have a drip line that comes off the bucket to water some nearby plants. This also keeps the water in the bucket a bit fresher for the rabbits. There's a Y adapter and shut off so we can drain the bucket and/or shut off the drip line.

So far, the rabbits seem to take to it pretty well. And it makes keeping them well watered almost no effort at all.

Dawn managed to catch this footage of one of our rabbits drinking a few days after the new system was installed.

Shannon and Dawn will be sharing their experiences with raising meat rabbits on Tuesday afternoons. They homestead on three acres in Louisiana when time off from life and working as a sys admin permits.

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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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One of my readers sent me a link to this post- super timely, as I'm trying to figure out rabbit and chicken watering right now.

I've been thinking about using the toilet fill valve and was interested to see you do just that, and wonder if you could expand on how to make it work.

And do you leave the lid off the bucket?

They says great minds think alike but I suspect you're smarter than me!

Comment by Paula Thu Sep 13 00:26:58 2012

Paula --- If you follow the link about the toilet float, it'll take you to a post solely about that topic which should help you out.

With our nipples, you can either leave the lid off the bucket or (our preferred method) just drill a small hole in the lid or upper bucket wall.

If you do make a rabbit waterer, I'd love to see some photos and hear how it works for you!

Comment by anna Thu Sep 13 08:20:40 2012

Hi Paula,

I leave the lid on the bucket here mostly because of mosquitoes. Any standing water around here becomes instantly filled with mosquito larvae.

As for the toilet tank valve, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the bucket to pass the threaded end of the fill valve through. Then, at the hardware store I picked up a hose that is the proper thread for the fill valve on one end and female pipe thread on the other. Then a brass male pipe to hosepipe adapter and I just screw the hosepipe to it. If it's not clear to you, I can take some more detailed photos of the assembly.

Comment by Shannon Mon Sep 17 21:23:40 2012

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