Chickens need to drink plenty of water, not just in the summer months, but all year round. Most backyard poultry farmers leave buckets of water out in the coop or the run; birds can dip their little beaks in these buckets and have their fill.
However, water in such open containers invariably gets messy with chicken droppings, hay, dirt, and other gunk that falls into it. Water kept in open buckets is also susceptible to spills and evaporation.
Smaller chickens can also drown in these containers, if left unsupervised.
And that is why every backyard coop needs a chicken waterer and a chicken feeder.
A chicken waterer is available in different styles and designs, but the simplest, most basic type consists of a tower/reservoir with attached plastic cups.
These cups get filled up with water to a certain level, and your birds can quickly dip their beaks in them to get their fill of fresh, clean, gunk-free water each time. As the cups empty, some more water is dispensed from the reservoir into them. Thus, a chicken waterer provides your birds with a continuous supply of fresh, mess-free, water as needed.
The biggest advantage of using a chicken waterer for poultry is that if you are away for an extended period, your birds are still assured of fresh drinking water supply to remain hydrated until you return.
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The Best Chicken Waterers
1. Rent-A-Coop 2 gallon Chicken Waterer with Horizontal Nipple
RentACoop waterer is one of the best selling waterers available in the market.
It is made using BPA-free food-grade plastic that does not require any assembling.
The horizontal nipple system prevents the mess from getting into the water and also keeps bedding from getting wet.
RentACoop waterer also has a ‘no-roost’ design that keeps hens from roosting on the unit.
- Easy to install, remove, use, and clean
- Gunk and mess-free clean water for your birds
- Most birds quickly learn how to tap into the nipple and get the water
- Some birds take time to figure out how to use it.
2. Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Twin Waterer
Royal Rooster poultry waterer ensures mess-free water for your chickens or/and ducks. It is one of the best waterers that can prevent evaporation, spillage, and mess getting into the water.
This European poultry waterer is made using superior PVC material and ensures refilling the cup as the level goes down. Birds take straight to this poultry waterer; you don’t have to train them.
Royal Rooster poultry waterer can also be attached to a mesh or installed on a wooden wall using brackets. The cups are made in Australia with durable food-grade plastic.
- Easy to install, clean, and use
- Value for money
- European and Australian designed parts
- Cups stay full at all times
- Water stays clean and mess-free
- Some users experienced leaks after a few days.
3. RentACoop Automatic Refill Chick Cup Drinker Waterer
When it comes to poultry-related products, RentACoop is a reliable brand name loved by many.
The well-designed waterer keeps water clean. Its cup refills automatically and remains half-full at all times (as long as the reservoir contains adequate water) so that your birds can drink like they would from a pond.
The transparent plastic body allows you to see the water level. The reservoir is easy to fill from the top, and you need not remove the waterer each time you want to refill it.
- Made with sturdy, food-grade, BPA free plastic
- Comes with a leak-free warranty of 2 years
- Easy to install, use, remove, and refill
- Value for money
- Bowl is small for some species of birds
- Cleaning the small bowls could be a hassle.
4. Little Giant 1 Gallon Complete Plastic Poultry Fount
The Little Giant waterer is an attractive and efficient poultry fount. It has received rave reviews from hundreds of users and is easy to clean and use.
- Sturdy and durable plastic reservoir.
- Easy to use and clean
- Safe for younger as well as small-sized birds.
- Easy to refill
- Value for money
- Water remains clean in most cases. Even if the shavings get inside the base, you can tilt the waterer and get it out.
- The reservoir easily lasts for 2-4 hens for 3-5 days.
- Replacement parts are tough to get
- Sunshine and hot weather tend to make the plastic brittle leading to cracks.
- No facility for hanging.
- It does not have feet, which can be an issue for some birds.
5. DOUBLE-TUF Poultry Waterer with Legs
DOUBLE TUF poultry waterers are available in 3 different sizes.
The 1.5 quart size is suitable for chicks and smaller birds, so buy the larger waterer if you have bigger birds.
DOUBLE TUF Waterer also has feet that ensure proper height for the birds and prevent shavings from getting in the water.
- Inexpensive waterer
- Suitable for chicks
- Water stays fairly clean
- Not very sturdy and durable; Supporting tabs tend to break easily.
- The waterer is also not easy to fill.
6. Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker
Harris Farms Poultry drinkers come in 3 different sizes so you can choose one based on the number of birds you own.
It is made with high-quality, long-lasting plastic and is compatible with Harris Farms heated poultry base drinker.
- Easy to refill, install, clean, and use
- Sturdy and durable
- 5-gallon size is suitable for feeding nearly 32 birds
- The water level is easy to see from outside
- The design of the waterer allows you to make additions to the water, such as apple cider vinegar.
- The lid is difficult to lock-in
- Hard to haul large quantities of water
- Could give issues in winters when temperatures are below freezing
- Design is inconvenient for hanging at low height since birds tend to kick debris in it. Placing it at a height may cause the birds some difficulty to dip their beaks in.
7. RentACoop PVC Twin Cup Chicken Waterer
RentACoop PVC twin cup chicken waterer can be used for chickens, quails, turkeys, ducks, and guineas of all ages.
It comes with hooks for easy installation and a facility for hose attachment. You can also use it with the cups if the weather is expected to stay warm and go for horizontal nipples if the temperature is likely to go below freezing.
The company also recommends a heater that is compatible with the unit. You also get all the hardware needed for installation on wood.
- Can be installed inside or outside the coop
- The cups are easy to install by simply twisting them round in the slots provided
- Suitable for use in summers and freezing winters
- Compatible with many species of poultry birds
- Holds 2 gallons of water
- Easy to refill
- Heating coil installation is troublesome; many units froze and cracked in winters.
- Tend to develop leaks after a while.
Types of chicken waterers
Many types of chicken waterers are available today. You can buy them in plastic or metal. You can even purchase a hanging style waterer or a heated chicken waterer. These waterers come with a heated base that keeps the water drinkable even in freezing temperatures.
What to look for when buying a chicken waterer
Ease of use for the birds
The most crucial factor to consider when selecting a waterer is that your birds should be able to use it easily.
Some waterers come with horizontal nipples that dispense water only when they are pressed or tapped.
Younger birds may not be able to figure out how to operate such complicated waterers. So, always look for a product that your birds can master easily and quickly.
A chicken waterer made using food-grade, BPA plastic lasts for years.
Cheaper plastic variants tend to get brittle and develop cracks and leaks, especially when kept outdoors in the scorching sun. So make sure you read the reviews of chicken waterers before selecting one.
For all-year-round use
If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, you must look for chicken waterers that will prevent the water from freezing.
Some waterers are compatible with heated coils (that need to be purchased separately), and they keep the water from freezing. Some waterers come with a heating element that prevents water from freezing over.
Clean and mess-free
Some waterers can be placed on the ground, and they come with a moat that fills up with water from a central reservoir.
Birds can quickly dip their beaks into the moat and drink up. While this type of waterer is easy to use for the birds, it tends to get dirty very quickly.
Hay, straw, mulch, and roosting birds’ droppings can easily get into the moat. These waterers need daily cleaning, which can be a hassle.
Ease of access for the birds
Some waterers can be hung up on the coop’s wall or mesh wire. While older birds can easily drink from these hung waterers, smaller birds or chicks could face a problem when reaching the cups. Consider all these factors when purchasing your waterer.
Small chicks need particular types of little waterers, which are safe, easy to use, and won’t drown the small birds.
As your birds grow, you need to buy bigger waterers.
Calculate the size of your waterer based on the size of flock and the space available in the coop.
If you have more than four birds, it is a good idea to have at least two waterers in two different parts in the coop. You can also keep one chicken waterer inside the coop and one in the run.
Ease of installation, cleaning, and refilling
Chicken waterers need regular scrubbing and cleaning. You may want to clean the unit using distilled white vinegar from time to time.
The waterer must also be easy to refill. In the warmer months, chickens drink plenty of water. So, for a flock of eight birds, you’d need to refill two 2-gallon waterers at least twice a week.
The waterer must not be heavy in case you are required to haul it indoors for refilling.
If you have permanently attached the waterer to the coop’s wall or mesh, then it should have the facility of refilling from the top without any special hose.
If you plan to hang up the waterer, then it should come with easy instructions as well as all the parts needed for installing it on wood or the mesh wire cage of the coop.
Related post: The Best Chicken Coops
Every backyard chicken coop needs a chicken waterer to ensure that your birds have continuous access to fresh drinking water to stay hydrated.
Use the above reviews to buy the best chicken waterer that both you and your birds will love.