Whether upgrading your old coop or starting from scratch and building a brand new one, you make dozens of small decisions with owning chickens.
Picking the best chicken water cups for your flock is one of those decisions.
We’ll show you the good and bad aspects of using poultry water cups and then the best ones to help you decide what is best for you and your flock.
What Are Chicken Water Cups?
Chicken water cups are attachments on the sides of large, sealed water containers, intended only to serve small portions, so it stays cool, fresh, and clean.
The Best Chicken Water Cups
Best Overall Chicken Water Cups: RentACoop Chicken Water Cup Kit
This kit has seven cups, and they self-fill, so all of your chickens will instinctively know how to use them. These seven cups can accommodate up to twenty-one chickens.
These cups are made in the United States, easy to screw into the water container, flow automatically without fail, and the water stays fresh and clean in them.
Water levels stay consistently at the halfway mark.
The RentACoop Watering bowl is also wide enough to accommodate the beaks of ducks, geese, and other billed fowl.
Best Runner-Up Chicken Water Cups: Erduoduo Chicken Water Cups
This peck-style product gives you twelve or twenty-four watering cups, your choice, plus an equal number of nuts and the drill bit you need to make the holes for the chicken waterer.
With 12 watering cups, you can successfully water about 36 chickens. With 24 cups, you can take care of 72.
The valve is removable, making it and the bowl easy to clean. The peck system conserves water and keeps the chicken water extra clean too.
This kit is not likely a good match for billed fowl, like ducks or geese.
You should use a different waterer for them or get a larger open cup for their bills.
You can check the price of the Erduoduo chicken water cups here. This product has consistently provided the most value for the price point.
Mewtogo Automatic Poultry Drinking Cup
The Mewtogo cup system has six cups, matching PVC fittings, and is of the “perk tab” variety.
What’s interesting about this option is that it connects to a PVC pipe rather than a barrel or bucket.
You can water many chickens on a larger scale if desired.
The cups are built thick and durable, the water stays clean, this is a fully automatic system, and it’s speedy and easy to install.
Like all other water cups, it does not tolerate freezing temperatures.
Lil Clucker Chicken Watering Cups
I like these cups because they are peck-free and extra large, so all types of poultry can use them without issues.
The cups are substantial in weight and hold up to drops and bumps well. They also come with a complimentary drill bit in the kit, so installation is extra fast and easy.
Only five cups come in this kit, but they are clearly well made, which makes up for the price differences.
Sansheng Chicken Drip Drinking Cup
This cup is another budget-friendly option with twelve cups for a fair price. These twelve cups can supply up to 36 chickens.
It’s a good choice because it does not leak, is easy to install, and comes with the nuts and drill bit for installation.
It is of the “peck style,” so it will not likely be suitable for older, more stubborn birds.
It probably will not serve birds with bills well because it is too narrow.
Still, it’s a lot of products for little money and an excellent way for beginner chicken keepers to try water cups for the first time.
Cruzadel No Peck Chicken Water Cup
The Cruzadel is of the “no peck” variety and comes with six cups, serving up to eighteen chickens.
These cups are some of the easiest ones to take apart to clean.
The cups are good quality and hold up to daily use well, and the kit includes all the hardware you need for installation.
No-Peck Backyard Barnyard’s Automatic Chicken Drinker Cups
These no-peck waterers won’t need any training or backup water sources for older hens because they will always have a half-full drinker cup.
There are six cups in this kit, which will serve up to 24 chickens.
It is easy to install, of great value, and made of good quality materials, so it will last a long time without issue.
Why Use a Chicken Water Cup?
Chicken water cups are a great addition to the coop because they ensure your coop always has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
Even if you are late getting to the coop that day, your chickens are covered and well cared for.
It also automates life a little to make your busy days more manageable.
On that note, it enables people of all accessibility to keep chickens.
No longer need to carry cumbersome buckets of water to the coop every day.
You can skip that step more often, spend more time with your chickens, or work on another task around the homestead.
Another perk of a water cup is the large container it attaches to.
With the container, the water is colder for longer because it will likely be out of sunlight and in an upright container.
This is especially the case when compared to stale water sitting in a shallow open pan.
Chicken water cups are a fantastic way to conserve water too. Water conservation should be reason enough, but this is doubly helpful in areas where water is rationed in drought-prone regions.
Lastly, cups are affordable, relatively easy to clean, and inexpensive to provide fresh water that stays cool and clean for much longer than other watering solutions.
How Many Cups for Chickens Do I Need?
You will need one cup for every three chickens.
You may need fewer cups if you purchase larger ones, but three is an excellent general guideline.
A coop with ten chickens will need three to four cups, while a coop with fifty chickens will need sixteen or seventeen cups.
Where To Put Chicken Water Cups?
Chicken water cups should go somewhere that you won’t accidentally break them.
They are relatively fragile if innocently bumped or kicked, so make sure they aren’t in a frequently-visited spot where you could accidentally break them.
Leaks and tip-overs quickly become a thing of the past, so there’s no need to worry about finding an area that can handle spills.
Another consideration should be the feed and roost areas.
Don’t place the water unit too close to the feed.
Chickens could scratch into it (though this is much less likely with a cup).
Chickens will defecate on anything below their roosts, so don’t put it there.
Lastly, make sure it is protected from the elements. In the cold, the cups can freeze and burst. If you live up north, keep the water in a space where the temperature will not dip below freezing.
If you live in a warmer area, set the water cup in the shade to protect it from the sun’s powerful UV rays.
These quickly fade and then degrade the plastic, causing cracks and leaks over time.
The best place for the cup is somewhere it won’t freeze, won’t sit in direct sunlight, and won’t accidentally get kicked or be made dirty by manure.
Can Ducks, Geese, Guineas, Pheasants, Quail, and Other Fowl Use Water Cups?
Guineas, pheasants, quails, peacocks, grouse, and other fowl with pointy beaks can use water cups without issue, so long as they are trained to use them.
Geese and ducks have bills instead of beaks, and their bills usually do not fit into most cups.
If you keep a mixed flock, you must find an extra large cup or provide a different water source.
How To Install a Chicken Water Cup
Your chicken water cup will come with detailed instructions for installation.
The basic steps are to drill a hole in a bucket, trash can, or another water-holding container.
You want something at least five gallons in size, preferably larger.
Most water cups will instruct you to drill holes into this container around the chest to the eye-level area for the chickens.
Follow the instructions on the packaging.
Pop the water cup in place, seal it if desired, and then add water to the big container.
Look for cracks, leaks, or stuck valves during this step.
You want to avoid any leaks before you leave it.
How To Teach Chickens To Use Water Cups
Chickens are intelligent, curious creatures who love to explore everything around them, so chances are you won’t need to teach them to use water cups.
The cups that fill with water will require no training. Once one chicken figures it out, the whole flock will soon understand.
With that said, it’s wise to keep a more traditional waterer until you watch every chicken use the peck-style cups.
Older chickens will have a more difficult time adapting to these and may not be able to make the switch at all.
Will Chicken Water Cups Freeze and Break?
Yes, if the water cups are in an area where the temperatures will drop below freezing, there is a good chance that they will freeze, crack, and break.
Either keep them in a warm area or store them until the temperatures rise again.
Best Chicken Water Cups: Final Thoughts
Chicken water cups are a wonderful invention.
They allow chickens free access to clean, clean water that is usually nice and cool, even in the hottest summer months.
Cups are also affordable, easy to clean, and exceptionally durable.
If you live in an area where cold weather isn’t a large part of your year, consider getting a pack of chicken water cups.
You’ll be amazed by how much less water is spilled and how much cleaner the chicken water will stay, with much less work on your behalf.
Once you try a water cup, there’s no way of returning to the old ways of managing your flock.