I originally watered my chickens with a $30-something metal hanging waterer I got at the feed store (which you can see at this post about the Mama Heating Pad Brooder). In under a year of use, the metal has already started to deteriorate from the constant water exposure. Due to leaving it on a cinderblock, it doesn’t usually get dirty unless someone goes crazy and decides it’s time to overturn everything in the coop, but generally speaking the water quality has definitely gone down with time and so has cleanliness.
Enter the chicken waterer nipples. My bestie at Shady Side Farm deserves full credit for this post, since after she very kindly brooded two Black Jersey Giants for me and decided I should take her Cuckoo Maran rooster too since roos aren’t allowed where she lives, she set me up with a milk jug chicken waterer and left me with extra nipples to make more. Making more so was stupidly easy, I regretted not doing it sooner!
To get the birds used to it is pretty easy if you have a few birds who already were raised using the nipples, and that’s how they got water to begin with. The other birds will watch and copy. If you’re starting fresh like with my older birds, I gradually had the waterer run low with the only water being from the jugs. If they’re particularly slow, you can dip their beaks into it like you sometimes do when you take chicks home so they know where water is, but mine have always been pretty quick on the uptake.
Thoroughly cleaned out milk jug
Something to poke a hole with (drill bit, I used a tiny knife – just careful not to cut it too wide! 5/16″ is recommended)
Something to hang the jug with – I used leftover hay bail ties