Our Homemade Watering System Under $65 Dollars

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My husband built this chicken coop tractor for me in 2009 for my *throat clearing* 43rd birthday, providing a portable water source was important. We needed to it to provide water for the flock wherever we parked it on the farm, hold enough water so that fillings were infrequent, and be easy to fill and maintain. He did an excellent job in design and function. Other than adding a tee connector to run lines to the rooster and breeding yards, we’ve made no changes and have only made minor repairs a couple of times.

Chicken Coop Tractor

He purchased a 30 gallon plastic barrel from a local odds and ends shop for $10.00; black water tubing because it resists algae growth and is UV stabilized – picked up locally for $10.00 for 30 feet since we wanted to have extra just in case (we still have some of it left); 1/4” tee connectors – 10 for about $6; splicers – for about $5.00; and the watering cups and mounts – 7 for about $30. He had the garden hose to create the attachment to the barrel and the shut off valve that he added to the hose. These prices are based on the products available today. When he built it for me then, it was about $20 less than it would be now.

First, he laid the barrel down the way it would be mounted and drilled an air hole on what would be the top of the barrel. Next, he drilled out the hole for the hose connection and attached it with plastic threaded bolts, silicone, and plumbing tape. Then he did the same process with the water line in the other cap. The barrel is mounted using roofing strap. A 2” x 4” frame supports the tin “roof” over the barrel with a sheet of silvered backed foam insulation between it and the barrel. He used tee connectors to run two cups inside the coop and one outside the coop.

Barrel System

When we enlarged the compound to include the rooster and breeding yards, all it took was a few tee connectors, some water line, and cups with mounts, all of which we already had on hand. At this time, we took insulating tape and wrapped it around the lines to help keep the water cooler in the summer time.

roostercupChick Cup

We run a water hose to the barrel, connect it, turn the water on, open the shut off on the barrel nozzle and wait. Once we see water begin to trickle from the top air hole, we know the barrel is full and turn it off at the barrel then the faucet. This lasts our flock 10 – 14 days depending on the weather. To keep them from running out, we fill it every Saturday. This give us the opportunity to check for leaks in the line, at the connections, and at the cups. In the last 6 years, we have only had to replace 3 cups. That’s not too bad, we think.

We have faucet nozzles in several locations around the farm. They run from our deep well that is fed by underground springs – always cold and delicious. No matter where the coop tractor is located, we run a hose (series of hoses) to it and fill it up. When the coop is out of the poultry compound, we provide water to the other yards by using one gallon poultry waterers. We use this system most of the year. If we are going to have prolonged freezing weather, which isn’t often, we drain the system and use the gallon waterers.

Inside Coop

This is an easily customizable system. You can tweak it or make it work the way you need it by adjusting the size of the barrel, creating your own type of connections, and using the number and kind of cups you need for your flock. Once a year, we run a hydrogen peroxide/vinegar mixture through the lines and flush them well.

Here are some links you may like to have to order supplies, if you don’t have a place locally, or a company you prefer to do business with.

Beaktime http://beaktime.com/parts.php

Randall Burkey http://www.randallburkey.com/chicken-supplies/feeders-waterers/waterers/watering-systems.html?limit=48

QC Supply http://www.qcsupply.com/advancedsearch/result/?q=black+vinyl+hose

You can always reach me personally by using the Contact Me page with any questions or if I can help you in any way. If you like this article, please feel free to share it using the share buttons. Be sure to share your comments, experiences, or ideas.

You can read this article on Backyard Poultry Magazine Blog (Please note the price difference in this article. I mistakenly figured the original cost on all the supplies we ordered which included extras for maintenance and future enlargement of the project. I’m very sorry about this). If you want to learn more about backyard chickens, subscribe to Backyard Poultry Magazine, or join them on Facebook to stay in touch with the latest information you need.

Safe and Happy Journey,

Rhonda and The PackNew Pack PhotoThis post is shared on Homestead Blog Hop



  1. Jenna on May 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

    What a cool system! 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week. 🙂

    • Rhonda on May 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Jenna for stopping by to comment. Also thanks for letting me share on the Homestead Blog Hop! See ya Wednesday 😉

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