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What to Look for in a Chicken Waterer

Finding the perfect chicken waterer, or drinker, for your flock is surprisingly a tougher task than one may assume. 

There are so many to choose from and so many variables to consider in picking out the one that best suits your flock. And this is an important task, so it deserves consideration!

We are talking about water here, the resource that keeps all living things alive. So if you’re in the business of growing healthy and living chickens (which I’m assuming you are), then choosing the right chicken waterer has to be a priority. 

And no, you can’t just lay out a bowl as you would for your cat or dog and expect the chickens to drink. Well, you can, but it’s going to leave you with an unholy mess – as you probably already know, chickens are very fond of pooping in their water supply!

As I said, there are many factors involved.

I’ve tried to eliminate some of the overwhelm in your chicken waterer searching by collecting this detailed list of the best chicken waterers out there today. 

best chicken waterer

**J&R Pierce Family Farm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to allow sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. I often link to Amazon when recommending certain products, and if you choose to purchase, I may earn a small percentage of the sale. It costs you nothing extra, and all recommended products are ones that I personally vouch for. **

What to Keep in Mind When You Are Buying a Chicken Waterer: A Buying Guide

best chicken waterer

Size

While there are several types of chicken waterers to choose from, one of the top details to consider is the size of your waterer. Do you have chicks or adult chickens? This is the question that will guide you to the correct chicken waterer size. 

For Chicks 

Since chicks are inevitably smaller, they need a much smaller drinking dish. This is so they can reach the water. It is also important to keep the water shallow in order to reduce the risk of drowning. 

For Adults 

With adults being larger in size, you can look for larger chicken waterers that coincide with how many adult chickens you have. Rather, the more chickens you have, the larger you’ll likely want your chicken waterers to be. 

Style 

While each chicken waterer varies, they all have the same goal: hydrate the chickens with ease. Here are the different styles:

Bucket, Container or Trough Waterers 

These styles are cheap and easy for your chickens to use. They are simply an open container for the chickens to dip their necks in and take a drink. 

The problem? It can be difficult to keep these waterers clean. You also need to be conscious of the length of the sides on the container. If they are too high then it will be difficult for the chicken to drink from, but if they are too low then you will have to constantly be refilling it. 

Another issue is that you may have small chicks that drown in the waterers. Often, you’ll need to fill up some of the extra space with rocks so the chicks can’t fall in and get stuck.

Bell Chicken Waterer

Likely the most common style, these waterers are cheap and simple. They are shaped like a bell, hence the name, and they are gravity-fed. So as the chickens drink, more water will come down. These do require manual fill ups though. You can also hang these, making contamination minimal. 

Automatic Nipple Chicken Waterers 

This style is sure to make your life simpler! Though they are more of an investment up front, since the flow of water is produced by the chickens pushing on the nipple, there is less water waste. 

These types of chicken waterers typically last a long time and they require little maintenance. All you have to do is connect the chicken waterer to a water source, such as a drum or even a main water source. You may also want to keep an eye on your chickens for a while, as it sometimes involves a bit of a learning curve to get them going.

Material Type 

After your chicks grow out of using a small waterer, then you are left with two material options: plastic and metal. 

Plastic

Plastic waterers come in all designs and sizes. They are convenient and typically lightweight, but they will deteriorate over time losing color and durability. Also know that plastic can easily crack during the winter months. 

Metal 

Metal waters are typically more expensive, but they do last much longer than plastic. There is also an array of metal styles and sizes to choose from. One thing to keep in mind if you are using a galvanized drinker – don’t use vinegar to clean it. It can cause chemicals to leach out and harm your chickens. 

Ease of Use

Some other factors to consider include: 

  • Weight: How heavy is it when filled with water? 
  • Cleaning: Is it easy to keep clean and keep safe for the chickens? 
  • Longevity: Is it made well? Will it last a long time?

The 15 Best Chicken Waterers of 2020

best chicken waterer

1. LITTLE GIANT Galvanized Double Wall Founts 

The reliable and heavy duty waterer with durability that is unmatched. 

If you are looking for a waterer that will get the job done in a way you can trust, then this might be the option for you. The LITTLE GIANT has a durable double wall construction that is sure to keep constant water flowing through its bell shaped design. 

It’s equipped with a strong arched handle to make carrying easy and convenient and is made from longlasting galvanized steel material. 

Pros: 

  • Gravity-fed – provides constant water flow 
  • Rolled edges for safety 
  • Sloped top prevents roosting
  • Can be used with heater 

Cons: 

  • Requires refilling since it is not automatic 

2. RentACoop Automatic Chicken Water Nipple Cup Waterer Kit for Poultry 

The #1 Best Seller that is easy-to-use.

You can fill up these waterers and simply let them be. They are that easy to use. You can attach these portable cups to 5 gallon buckets, rain barrels, pvc pipes, storage containers and more. Then, as chickens drink from the cups, they automatically refill when they are 3/4 full. 

These work perfect for baby chicks and adult chickens. 

Pros: 

  • Automatic refilling
  • Easy to construct 
  • BPA-free

Cons: 

  • More expensive than other options 

3. 2 Gallon Chicken Waterer

The waterer that never gets dirty.

Those in the market for a chicken waterer they don’t have to regularly clean may want to consider this option. This is literally just a five gallon bucket with nipples the chickens can drink from. Easy, no assembly required, and gets the job done.

Pros: 

  • No assembly needed 
  • Lasts four hens more than ten days
  • Easy to fill with removable lid

Cons:

  • May not work in winter months due to freezing temperatures

4. Little Giant 3 Gallon Complete Plastic Poultry Fount (3 Gallon) 

An intuitive design that makes for quick and easy use.

This gravity-fed design is chicken approved! This basic waterer is compact, but effective. The jar is transparent so you can always see the water line and is easy to screw on to the tray! 

Hydrating your chickens couldn’t be much simpler than with this option. 

Pros: 

  • Gravity-fed – provides constant water flow 
  • Durable plastic
  • East to clean and construct 
  • Transparent jar

Cons: 

  • Subject to UV degradation 

5. Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder with Rain Cover and Valve-Cup Waterer 

The innovative option. 

This waterer’s simple, but innovative design makes it suited to hydrate just your chickens – not the sparrows, rodents, and squirrels – who tend to find their way into other types of waterers. 

Whether you’re looking for minimal cleaning, durability or automation, this option will provide acceptable results. 

**This also comes with a feeder option as well.

Pros: 

  • Valve operated for automatic water supply 
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to fill 
  • Attaches to mesh or wall with included brackets
  • UV resistant  

Cons: 

  • Can only contain 1 gallon of water

6. MACGOAL Poultry Water Drinking Cups Automatic Poultry Waterer Chicken Drinker Cups

The durable, leak-free waterer for those looking to get a good bang for their buck. 

These watering cups are flexible for chickens of all sizes. As you can drill them into different heights on your bucket. Chickens simply move the yellow tab tucked into the cup to let fresh water out. This prevents water waste and saves money! 

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive solution, you may want to consider this option. 

Pros: 

  • Made from ABS plastic
  • Easy installation – simply install to bucket or pipe 
  • No leakage 
  • Easy to clean 

Cons: 

  • Some reviewers claim they are fragile  

7. Premier Heated Poultry Waterer 

The waterer that survives all seasons. 

The best part of this waterer (besides its large capacity) is its heating capabilities. This allows you to keep clean water flowing to your chickens all year long. All you have to do is plug it in! Even better is that the electrical cord is detachable, so you can leave it unplugged in the warmer months. 

This waterer is also equipped with automatic nipples, so chickens can drink as they please without making a mess!

Pros: 

  • Heater with detachable cord
  • Thermostat (automatically turns on at 40o and off at 60o) 
  • Secure lid and carrying handle 
  • Automatic nipples 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 

8. Heritage Acres Market LLC Original Side Mount Horizontal Chicken Water Nipples with Install Tool 

The “real deal” chicken water automatic nipples. 

Finally. A chicken waterer made from premium materials that won’t leak! Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, these nipples are reliable and effective. It’s one of the best options for those looking for an easy watering solution. 

Pros: 

  • Famous and original “Columbus Aqua” design 
  • Compatible with any size watering source 
  • “Lifetime Leak Guarantee” 
  • Inexpensive 
  • Watering buckets can be left on the ground due to horizontal design

Cons: 

  • May be flimsy while installing  

9. Harris Farms Plastic Poultry Drinker 

Easy, reliable, classic.

You can’t go wrong with this purchase. Though there is really no “advanced technology” it still is affordable, easy-to-use, and capable of doing the job effectively. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to fill
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be paired with heated base
  • Visible water level 

Cons:

  • May get dirtier faster due to design. Reviewers recommend avoiding coop. 

10. Harris Farms Double Wall Poultry Drinker

Ready to hydrate your flock in an instant. 

Made from galvanized steel and equipped with a vacuum process that delivers a constant water stream, this is a product you can trust. And its large capacity can serve up to 50-80 chickens! 

Pros: 

  • Made from heavy duty galvanized steel 
  • Constant flow of water 
  • Can be paired with heated base

Cons: 

  • May be prone to rusting and leaking over time

11. Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Twin Waterer with Automatic Valve Operated Cup

A unique design that is modern, simple and effective.

An automatic valve design that requires no training. You read that correctly! This uniquely designed automatic waterer has easy-to-use valves and can hold up to a gallon of water. Plus, the cups automatically refill and it can attach to any wall with its included brackets! 

Pros: 

  • Automatic refilling 
  • No training required
  • Easy to clean
  • Attaches to wall and mesh 

Cons: 

  • May be prone to leaking 

12. Farm Innovators Model HPF-100 “All-Seasons” Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain

A waterer you can confidently use in the winter. 

This waterer has a ton of benefits, namely that it has a heater! It also holds three gallons of water, has a thermostat, and is easily refillable! 

Pros: 

  • Heater
  • Thermostat control
  • Easy to refill
  • Easy to clean

Cons: 

  • Manufactured in China  

13. Ethical Stainless Steel Coop Cup

The waterer that prioritizes clean drinking. 

This waterer is made from toxin-free, stainless steel material, so you don’t have to worry about BPAs or other toxins from drifting into your chicken’s water. It also is super easy to clean as it rids algae growth commonly found in plastic waterers. 

Pros: 

  • Made from stainless steel
  • Easy to refill
  • Easy to clean

Cons: 

  • Manufactured in China  

14. Automatic Chicken Waterer Kit

The DIY waterer you need. 

These kit comes with everything you need to build your perfect chicken waterer. It can be easily attached to a gardening hose for automatic refilling. 

Pros:

  • Freedom to construct how you want it 
  • Easy to install 
  • Automatic refilling 

Cons: 

  • Some reviewers claim it to be “delicate”  
  • No heating 

15. Farm Innovators Plastic Poultry Drinker

A classic gravity-fed waterer that won’t disappoint.

This plastic, gravity-fed waterer is prepared to stand in the coldest of temperatures and draw in your chickens with its bright red design. With the transparent jar you can see the water line and it can hold up to three gallons. 

Pros:

  • Easy to refill 
  • Transparent jar 
  • Carrying handle 

Cons: 

  • No heater 
  • Easy to assemble incorrectly 

While there are so many options to choose from, you can feel confident about bringing any of these to your flock! What style do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!

Want to learn more about farming? Be sure to take a look at these other articles.

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Author: Rebekah Pierce

I'm a writer and small farm owner, and lover of everything outdoors. I'm hoping to share my passion for farming, gardening, and homesteading with you on my blogging journey.

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