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Best Automatic Chicken Waterers: What’s Best For Your Flock

Automatic Chicken Waterers What’s Best For Your Flock Blog Cover

Today we are going to be talking all about automatic chicken waterers.

Certainly, an automatic system can save you time, but is it worth the investment?

You can spend a lot of money on some of the automatic systems available, so you should try to find the best bang for your buck.

This is where our article helps.

We will explain what to consider when choosing a chicken waterer, the various types available, and much more.

Take a read through this article and decide for yourself which is going to be best for you.

Best Overall Automatic Chicken Waterer


Red Automatic Poultry Waterer
LITTLE GIANT Automatic Poultry Waterer
  • Provides a constant flow of clean fresh water for your hens.
  • This waterer has a cover that stops any dirt from getting into the water.
  • Safety float to prevent water from spilling over.

See Price on Amazon

What to Consider When Choosing a Chicken Waterer?

Consider a few things when setting up your own automatic chicken waterer.

Firstly, how much room do you have to set it up?

If you have a large area for your flock, perhaps a long piece of PVC piping with several nipples would be best. On the other hand, if space is tight, what about a 5 gallon bucket with several nipples?

Secondly, the weather.

If you live in the snow-belt, weather is going to be problematic with any outside system that you have.

Water can freeze in the pipes causing all sorts of problems. It can be done but it requires a lot more thought and labor.

Last but by no means least – it needs to be simple to use for you and the birds. It’s no good having a fancy system if you dread using it.

Automatic or Semi-Automatic?

An automatic waterer is something that you don’t have to fuss with daily – something like a low-pressure continuous system or a large volume holding tank that you need to check on perhaps weekly.

Whereas a semi-automatic one, is something like the regular gravity one.

It requires you to tend to it daily, but the chicken can get their own water.

How Many Waterers Will I Need?

This will depend on the sort of setup you use.

Will you be using a bucket setup or PVC piping with nipples?

As a handy rule, if you’re using a bucket, you should have a 5-gallon bucket for every six hens or so.

If you have a flock of 12 hens, you would need two 5-gallon buckets.

This also helps to prevent bullying.

If you have a much larger flock you may want to consider the PVC solution.

The PVC piping would be suitable for a larger confined area such as a run, but the bucket system can be used if space is a bit more restricted.

Automatic Chicken Waterer Review Table

LITTLE GIANT Automatic Poultry Waterer Fully Automatic Affordable
See Price
RentACoop Chicken Waterer with Poultry Nipples Semi-Automatic Affordable
See Price
OverEZ Waterer Semi-Automatic Expensive
See Price

Plastic vs Metal

Generally, there are two types of materials used: plastic or metal.

Metal is very durable, but you can’t add Apple Cider Vinegar to the water, it will corrode the metal.

Plastic is generally the material of choice.

It is lightweight, durable, and easy to replace.

It does bleach out in the sun over time but that really isn’t a big problem.

If you live in a cold climate, you should consider metal, as plastic can shatter when frozen.

Where Should I Place Them?

This will depend upon your setup, but one thing is for certain; you should never put the waterer inside the coop.


Partly because chickens are messy, they bump into it, spilling water everywhere. This constant dampness can lead to mold issues which can impact on a chickens’ health.

Also the moisture given off as vapor can cause frostbite issues in winter months.

If you have the luxury of a large barn or out building where they can wander in and out, a water system inside would be ideal. It will be kept cooler out of the sun and being inside will discourage wild birds from using it too.

If you have a coop with an attached run, a waterer placed in the run will suffice.

Try to place it centrally where all can access it and preferably away from food just in case there is spillage.

If your birds free range most of the time, a couple of waterers placed around the yard out of the sun (under cover if possible) will do very nicely.

These would likely be free standing units not attached to your automatic system.

Best Automatic Chicken Waterers and The Different Types

We have selected some different types of automatic waterers for you.

Several manufacturers make similar items with different valves or connectors.

Fully Automatic Waterer


Red Automatic Poultry Waterer
LITTLE GIANT Automatic Poultry Waterer
  • Provides a constant flow of clean fresh water for your hens.
  • This waterer has a cover that stops any dirt from getting into the water.
  • Safety float to prevent water from spilling over.

See Price on Amazon

There are a few different designs out there, but they function basically the same way.

They are a bowl with a valve-controlled water outlets.

They are designed to fit into a standard hose pipe, but you will likely need to purchase an adapter to ensure a good fit.

Hanging Semi-Automatic Waterer

Horizontal Nipple Chicken Waterer

Nipple Waterer for Hens
Horizontal Nipple Chicken Waterer
  • The best style of drinker to keep your water clean
  • This is the complete system, no assembly needed
  • Built from 100% BPA free plastic

See Price on Amazon

These are similar to a regular gravity one in shape and looks.
This system consists of an enclosed water tank with nipples attached. You can use it as a stand-alone tank and fill as you would a regular gravity waterer or you can modify it.
Whilst a touch expensive, it does keep the water very clean.
They are sturdy in make and come with all the fittings you should need.

Vertical Watering Trough


Royal Rooster Twin Waterer
Royal Rooster Chicken Waterer with Automatic Cup
  • Dispenses water through two separate automatic cups.
  • Each drinker can support up to six hens.
  • The cups are up off the ground which stops dirt getting into the waterer.

See Price on Amazon

These vertical troughs are quite long and have the advantage of saving space. They have a full capacity of 1 gallon.
This item is suitable for ducks and geese also.
They work on drinker cups which automatically fill when the water level gets low.
My only concerns with this is that you might need to keep it up off the ground a little higher than 5 inches to prevent the birds from kicking muck into it.

Waterers for DIY Build (Chicken Nipples or Cups)


Nipple Drinker Feeder
Pack of 25 Automatic Chicken Water Nipples
  • You should use one nipple for every 3 hens.
  • Ready to use; just screw directly into PVC pipe or bucket.
  • Contains pack of 25 nipples so you can make up to 12 waterers.

See Price on Amazon

If you’re building your own automatic chicken waterer you will need to fit either chicken nipples or a cup to your watering system.

Please make sure your birds know how to use these, some chickens cannot get to grips with them.

Remember if they cannot use the nipples or cups they cannot access the water, so if in doubt; leave a regular waterer out until they get the hang of it.


Automatic Poultry Waterer
Rite Farm Products 12 Pack of Automatic Cups
  • The cups are up off the ground which stops dirt getting into the waterer.
  • Ready to use; just screw directly into PVC pipe or bucket.
  • Contains pack of 12 cups suitable for around 30 hens.

See Price on Amazon

Heated Automatic Chicken Waterers

The Best Heated Chicken Waterer

Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain
Heated Plastic Poultry Fountain
  • Every chicken owners dream for winter
  • No more frozen water. Has a thermostat so only turns on when necessary
  • All in one solution: just plug it in, fill it up and it’s ready to go

See Price on Amazon

If you’re expecting very cold winters that will freeze your chickens’ water supply, then you can consider using a heated one.
It sure beats breaking the ice out of their bowl twice a day!
Even if you are using this I would still check on them twice a day to make sure they still have water. Lack of water will cause them to stop laying eggs.

Alternatives to Automatic Chicken Waterers

Best Standard Waterer for Hens

Galvanized Water Feeder
Galvanized Double Wall Founts
  • Made from galvanized steel making it very durable and rust proof
  • Heavy Duty making it much harder to flip over
  • Steel construction making it compatible with heater bases

See Price on Amazon

Your choices here are either stick with gravity waterers or build your own system.
If you want to save money you can build your own.
Although building your own system sounds intimidating, it really is a cost effective solution.
There are numerous ‘how to’ videos on YouTube that show you how to put a system together. You require a few tools, PVC piping, nipples or cups and whatever else for your particular situation.
Making your own gives you the benefit of being able to customize for your area or run.

FAQs about Chicken Waterers

Chicken Waterer Nipple
How Much Water Do Chickens Need?

The amount varies, but in general, a large chicken will drink a pint of water per day in winter. This can increase to 2 pints per day during the summer.

Do I Need To Clean The Waterer?

Cleaning the system regularly is a very important thing. Algae and bacteria will grow in standing water (even if it is covered) so cleaning should be done on a weekly basis.

You can use either neat white vinegar or a bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach per one gallon of water).

Best Automatic Chicken Waterer: Summary

Having an automatic watering system is a great idea if you have a larger flock of birds or are planning to go away for a few days.

Only you will know which system is right for you and your situation as everyone is different.

If like me, you live in the snow-belt, an automated system can be problematic in the colder weather so you should probably have a plan ‘B’ for the winter months.

We hope you find this useful in helping you to decide which type is best for you.

Let us know in the comments section below which waterer you chose…


Automatic Chicken Waterers


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12 thoughts on “Best Automatic Chicken Waterers: What’s Best For Your Flock

  1. My 5 hens won’t roost at night. They sleep huddled together on the floor of their coop even though they have lots of room and 2 roosting bars to roost on. Coop is 4ft by 4ft and 4ft tall. Are they okay as is or should I try to put them on the roost

    1. Hi Mary,
      Have they ever used the roosts? I’m wondering if the roosts are set too high…
      Or there could be a mite infestation on the roosts biting the hens at night…

    1. Perhaps they just need to be taught to roost. We got chickens that didn’t roost at night once and after a few nights of putting them on roosts they began to roost.

  2. They were small and a backyard variety. What would you recommend as I would like to have two or three of these to sit on the eggs. Thanks for reading mike says:

    Back in the day ( 1970 ) we used to have Banty Hens That would lay on our eggs from our Rd., Island reds to hatch. They were great mothers. There are so many varieties of hair to choose from. They were small and a backyard variety. What would you recommend as I would like to have two or three of these to sit on the eggs. Thanks for reading. Mike

    1. I had a Banty hen who hatched out her own eggs, chicken eggs, and Guinea eggs. It was especially good for the Guineas as they are really flighty and semi-wild when hatched. She calmed them down a lot and they thought they were chickens. The biggest benefit of having a hen hatch the eggs is that they are better mothers than we are. Taking care of chicks and integrating them into the flock is a lot of work for a human. It goes much more smoothly with a mamma hen.

  3. I gave my chicks a 2×4 peace of wood on the floor of the brooder when about a week old and they started to practice roosting on it shortly after, I just built them a Coop Mahal and gave them a two tier roost in the coop, the lower one is a tree branch at about 24″ from the floor the higher one 16″ above the first, a 2×4 on the flat, their first night I checked on them and they were all roosting on the higher one, they where 8 weeks then.

  4. The choice is yours, of course. If you really can’t afford a Grandpa’s, then they’re better than nothing. In the long run, though, you get what you pay for.

  5. I completely agree! I recently switched to automatic chicken waterers and it’s been a game changer for my flock. No more messy water bowls to clean and my hens are so much happier with their easy access to fresh water. Highly recommend giving them a try!

  6. I’m definitely interested in trying out an automatic chicken waterer for my flock! I’ve heard great things about the Best Automatic Chicken Waterers and love the idea of not having to worry about my chickens drinking enough water. Any recommendations on which one to choose? 🐓💦

  7. Great post! As a fellow chicken owner, I’m always looking for ways to improve their living conditions. The best automatic chicken waterers definitely make my list of must-haves. Not only do they save time and effort, but they also help prevent bacterial growth and ensure my flock stays healthy. I’m definitely going to give one of these waterers a try! Thanks for sharing!

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