DIY 5 Gallon Chicken Waterers for CHEAP!

I currently have 24 broilers and 9 layers.  My broilers are only 5 weeks old and they’re emptying their 3 gal commercial waterer 2x a day.  Crazy!  My ongoing batches of broilers will be 4o each time.  Need way more watering capacity!

The commercial waterer I have is super annoying, only holds 3 Gallons and cost $40.   No way I was willing to  spend that kind of money again!

VOILA!  1o mins labor, $20 and I’ve got TWO 5 Gallon poultry waterers!

Supplies

  • 5 Gallon bucket with tight seal and ‘liquid’ spout – I bought mine at Home Depot for $7 (I think) because I had no time to head to local restaurants.  These can often be picked up for free – restaurants get veg oil in them. Scrub them out and VOILA!  An translucent bucket is highly recommended so you can see when the water level is low, so don’t buy the orange Home Depot ones.  I found mine in the paint section.
  • Sink Plug – mine was a 1″ plug for a couple bucks at Home Depot
  • Drill bit 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch smaller than the size of your plug.  I used a 7/8 bit.
  • Oil Pan – I used a 14″ wide and 4″ deep oil pan from Princess Auto (http://www NULL.princessauto NULL.com/pal/Funnels-And-Pans/8-Litre-Round-Oil-Drain-Pan/8058117 NULL.p) – only $4
Get the lid with the spout, the other style will be a major pain!

Get the lid with the spout, the other style will be a major pain!  NOTE:  the buckets in this image are not translucent so are not your best choice.

Set your bucket in your oil pan and figure out where the top of the oil pan level is on your bucket.  Measure down 1/2 inch from that spot.  This is the TOP of the exit hole you will drill!  This hole MUST be under the top edge of your oil pan or you’ll just have a leaky mess and will need to go get another bucket.  Do NOT drill it too low on your bucket, the water level will be the top of this hole.

Carefully and slowly, drill a hole in your bucket.  Use a little sandpaper or a rasp if your hole has rough plastic edges.

Now here’s the science behind this!  You need to create a vacuum in your waterer or the water will simply pour out continually.  To create a vacuum you need three things:

  1. A tight sealing bucket.
  2. A hole that is UNDER (I recommend at least a 1/2 inch) the top edge of your oil pan.
  3. A method to temporarily plug your bucket while you fill it with water.

Here’s what the finished product looks like.  To use:  Put your plug into the exit hole you drilled.  Put the bucket lid on tight, unscrew the pour spout lid from the bucket lid.  Drop your garden hose into the open spout hole and fill your bucket.  Screw back on the pour spout lid.  Set the bucket in the oil pan and remove the plug.  You’re DONE!

For the next fill – pop in your plug, remove the spout lid, top up the water – no need to remove the bucket lid.  Of course for sanity reasons regularly scrub down the bottom portion of your bucket and your oil pan so that you’re not growing bacteria in the water trough area.  Every few weeks remove your bucket lid and scrub out your bucket too.  :)

First 2 checking it out

First 2 checking it out

 

The hole I drilled.  Note the water level is at the top of the hole.  As the birds drink more water will flow out into the tray

The exit hole I drilled. Note the water level in the pan is at the top of the hole. As the birds drink, more water will flow out into the tray/pan keeping it perpetually filled

 

The plug I plug the hole with while I'm filling the bucket.  Tied it on so I wouldn't lose it

The sink plug I use to plug the exit hole while I’m filling the bucket. Tied it on so I wouldn’t lose it

 

This bucket is SUPER easy to fill.  I don't need to wrestle off the top, I simply twist open this filling hole and pop in my garden hose.

This bucket is SUPER easy to fill. I don’t need to wrestle off the top, I simply twist open this filling hole and pop in my garden hose.