Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watering poultry

Watering poultry

  You've made an investment in your livestock and making sure your livestock has a fresh clean water supply is very important. Water should be changed daily if you are not using a pressurized water system. Wild animals will want to use your poultry water supply and this poses a health threat to your livestock. If you can keep your water supply clean this will reduce the stress on your poultry and improve the health of your flock.

Chicken nipples

Poultry nipples are a fairly new way of safely watering your poultry.They allow you to water your poultry and keep wild birds out of your water supply and from spreading disease.

 It is a more sanitary method of watering your poultry . They are a miniature version of the watering nipple used for dogs and larger livestock. You can attach these to buckets as you see here or they can be attached to pressurized water systems. You should use two or more nipples in case one gets clogged or if you have a lot of poultry.

 Two things should be kept in mind.  The cheapest source is usually eBay. The second thing to keep in mind is that chickens will not learn to drink from these on their own . Simply tie a string to one of the nipples and let it drip. After a day or so the chickens will know where to get their water . The buckets need to be cleaned from time to time, but all in all they work well during the summer. In winter I am back to using a rubber bowl.
    I only have turkeys and chickens at this time so I don't know how well it works for other birds. It should be noted that I am still trying to get the turkeys to use the nipples.

During the winter months I use a rubber feed dish. These feed dishes are made from recycled tires,come in a variety of sizes and will last forever. They remain flexible during the winter months (Unless you live in sub freezing temperatures, in which case everything breaks.) when the water freezes and makes it easy to remove ice. When using this type of waterier it's important to change the water daily, as wild birds will leave droppings in the water spreading disease.
(note) this type of dish should never be used around baby chicks as they will fall in and drown.
    During the winter months chickens have a tendency not to drink enough water. A heated watering dish will encourage the chickens to drink more water. An additional benefit to a heated watering dish is that the hens will lay more eggs during the winter months. Although heated watering dishes are expensive, homemade watering dishes can be made with a light bulb under a metal pan. It should also be noted that during the winter months it is a good idea to add minerals to the water. 
These mason watering jars for baby chicks are made from galvanized metal, left and glass on the right. both are dishwasher safe and will last a lifetime. The glass one on the right has been in my family for over 50 years and the only thing that I have had to replace on it is the jar. I do not recommend plastic for several reasons. One it is designed to the biodegradable which means they will rot in the sun after a year or two and the other is for about the same amount of money you can find the metal or glass ones. In addition as the plastic heats up in the sunlight it leaches chemicals into the water.

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