Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Food and Water Improvements

I was getting tired of how disgusting my chickens' water was getting. It seemed like it was always really dirty, even soon after I'd cleaned out the watering bucket I'd made.  I'd heard great things about watering nipple systems, so I bought a 10 pack from http://www.cconly.com/.  There was installation instructions with THIS youtube video. It was just as easy as the video showed.  I made two watering systems- one for the old coop and one for the new.  I also put a nipple in the cap of a liter soda bottle for chicks.
You'll note the small hole in the top, where I can just use a hose to fill. We also used a strong rope to attach it. We drilled holes in the bucket so to loop the rope through so that it would be very sturdy. We also used a hook in setting it up so that we could adjust the height if needed.

The new coop has the watering system inside, which hasn't been as good. I'm not sure if the nipples leak a little, or if the chickens are just messy drinkers. It's probably a combination of both. But, I had this gooey/wet shavings mess in the bottom of the henhouse. I have been meaning to move it outside, but haven't had time.

Here's a picture of the new coop, showing the new feeding system and the nipples. Note the mess on the floor.

The chickens figured out how to use the nipples very, very quickly.  Best of all, it's easy to keep the water clean.

 When winter comes, I'll have to invest in a heater that will go into the bucket to keep the water from melting.

Moving on to the new feedbox.

Here's after we put the sides up. I wanted it to be tall enough to hold at least 50 lbs of feed, but not so tall that putting the bags in there would be difficult for a shortie like me.

Completed box. Note that top is at an angle to discourage the birds from climbing up there and pooping all over the box and food.

We put some wood at an angle to encourage the food to go out, and not get stuck in that back corner. This is looking from the top down.

One big problem with our feeder is waste. The chickens are still small enough that they climb inside, and then kick the food out and around. I think most of that will fix itself as they get bigger. I am considering running small wooden dowels across the feeding area to make kicking the feed out more difficult.

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