Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Twist on a Chicken Waterer

I have 10 hens now.  I really like my birds. 

I have three waterers, all of which were given to me.  Two are older metal ones, the third is a plastic one.  All are crappy looking, a pain to try to clean and really heavy when they're full - 5 gallons of water.  Besides the algae that forms on them, there's also hard water deposits.  In a big way.  So in the spirit of using what I already have, we made two new waterers last weekend using leftover aluminum roof guttering.

I first saw one at the neighbor's place. They had a lean-to roof over their too small chicken run.  There was guttering along the edge of the roof line, then a downspout with a couple of elbows to a length of guttering on the ground in the run.  The rain water was successfully diverted into the guttering on the ground.  The ends of the guttering had the appropriate end caps sealed so it held water.  Since they had regular crapola shingles on the lean to, there was still some sandy/grit crud from the roof and a fair amount of dirt from the run in the water.  But I thought the basic idea was rather clever.

For those who don't know guttering parts, this should help:

So we took some scrap guttering and sealed on the end caps (Bill swears that what he used will not be outgassing solvent gases).  Since he used some high dollar epoxy stuff that we already had, you're on your own on this step. Our scraps were probably 4 -5' long. We put scrap pieces of treated 4 x 4's to raise the guttering off the ground.  He had put a couple of strap hangers on each length of guttering.  These are the things that are used to keep the guttering stiff at the top edge.  Anyway, we took some wire ties (zip ties), ran them around each of the two gutter braces and through the fence to secure it.

It's only been a week or so since we did this, but so far I really like them.  The guttering is aluminum and I was a little worried that the water would be hot from the 97 degree afternoon heat and sun shining right on one of them.  Know what?  The water was relatively cool in both of them.  I'm guessing because of all the surface exposure and of course, we always seem to have some wind out here.  The best part is that I can use a good shot from the garden hose to rinse them out and refill, all from standing outside of the fence.  They get fresh water in both waterers every day. 

I have an enclosed run behind the coop and a fenced area in front of the coop, so when it's time to disinfect the waterers, I'll just lock up the hens in one area and disinfect the other waterer.  Or it wouldn't be that big a deal to cut the zip ties and take the sections of guttering out to a different area, then zip tie them back in place.  Oh, by the way, our black zip ties are UV resistant.  And did you know that you can take leftover aluminum guttering scrap to the same place you get paid for your aluminum cans?  If you're going to trash it anyway, you might as well make a few bucks.

One of these days I'm going to learn (1) how to use our digital camera and (2) how to post pictures from it here.  Honest.