Best Chicken Waterers for 2022

Picking the best chicken waterer for your flock and your own maintenance needs requires thought and research. As chicken keepers wanting to know this information ourselves, we did the hard work for you and spent hours of researching and finding the best value chicken waterers available on the market. 

best chicken waterer
There are many different chicken waterers on the market. Ensure you pick a suitable one correctly for your own situation and requirements.

After hours of looking we have put together our research on the top 3 chicken waterers on the market. Our picks are based off looking at factors such as quality materials, capacity, ease of use and other practical features.

Read on to learn about some of the most important factors to account for when looking for a chicken waterer and discover some of the best waterers available to keep your flock hydrated and healthy. 

What this article covers

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The Different Types of Chicken Waterers

There are many different types of chicken waterers available on the market. The right one for you is going to depend on how many chickens you have and your coop set up.

Gravity Fed/Standard Waterers

Gravity Fed or Standard waterers are the typical tank with trough or tray style waterers. These waterers utilize gravity to pull water downward as the trough or tray empties.

A float in the base measures water into the trough in a controlled manner to prevent overflowing. In terms of upkeep and maintenance the trough or tray will need regular cleaning due to the debris being on the chickens beak ending up in the trough/tray, the chickens kicking dirt into the trough/tray or the water becoming stagnant and growing algae.

The water in the tank remains clean and debris free as it is separated from contact . The tanks are easily refilled. These waterers are generally made from plastic or metal and can be hung off the ground or just placed on the ground itself.

Hanging Waterers

Hanging chicken waterers have the advantage of being hung off the ground and therefore do not become as dirty with dirt being scratched into the trough. Hanging also prevents the tipping over of the waterer. Hanging waterers are generally hung up by a handle that’s made from metal or heavy-duty plastic.

The waterers come equipped with either a trough, cups or nipples and are usually made from plastic or metal. We personally use a hanging waterer for our flock as it avoids extra maintenance and eliminates the worry of the chickens being without water in case the waterer accidentally tips over.

Nipples and Cups

Nipple-style attachments work by dispensing water when the chicken pushes a toggle with their beak. This style basically eliminates any their water becoming dirty as their beak does not sit in a water trough.

Subsequently these are a much lower maintenance option. Your chickens will initially have to learn how to use this waterer but chickens are pretty smart so it wont take them long! This style is probably best for a flock of only a few chickens as generally only one bird can access it at a time.

Cups are like the trough and tray set up and the water is dispensed into the cup. This will require some maintenance for the same reasons as the standard gravity fed waterer due to the bird dipping their beaks into the waterer and the possibility of the water becoming stagnant or forming algae.

Automatic Waterers

Automatic chicken waterers connect to a water source such as a hose, and refill the water automatically as it runs out. This eliminates having to manually fill up the waterer.

Automatic waterers are generally purchased in the form of DIY kits. Automatic waterers can be fitted with any set up such as a trough/tray, nipples or cups. They come in a variety of sizes and material types.

Considerations For Choosing the Best Chicken Waterer 

Choosing the best chicken waterer for your flocks is going to depend on a range of factors. You need to consider the size of your flock, the environment in which you live and how much regular involvement you want in daily maintenance and upkeep in tending to your flock.

A Metal or Plastic Waterer?

Chicken waterers are typically made from either plastic or metal.

Plastic chicken waterers are generally more affordable and lightweight. Unfortunately they are also less durable and prone to cracking in extreme weather such as very cold temperatures. If you decide to choose plastic, go for something that is thicker and more durable and also BPA free.

Metal chicken waterers are more durable but due to the more expensive materials they are also more expensive. Ensure you choose a waterer made from galvanized metal that won’t rust or corrode over time. A metal waterer may not be suitable in very hot temperatures, due to the metal heating up and especially if the waterer is not placed in the shade.

The Size of Your Flock

The size of your flock will determine the type of chicken waterer you get and its size – i.e the size of the water holding tank.

Tank holding capacities range from 1 to 8 gallons (4.5 to 30 litres). The average chicken drinks approximately 16 ounces (2 cups or 0.5L) of water each day. A 1-gallon chicken waterer will provide enough water for eight chickens per day.

If you have a small flock don’t mind re-filling your waterer every day or every second day then a 1 gallon tank should be enough. If you want to refill the tank less frequently consider sizing up to a tank with a bigger holding capacity.

Its also worth considering the pecking order of your chickens too. Some hens can be bossier than others and hog the waterer preventing other chickens from accessing it. If this is the case with your flock its probably a wise idea to buy at least 2 waterers so the other chickens will have access as well.

Ease of Use

Ease of use with whatever chicken waterer you choose is very important. Ensure the waterer can be opened, cleaned and refilled easily.

Some of the waterers come fully assembled and some will require assembly with some basic tools. Keep this in mind when purchasing a waterer to make sure you are happy to do some basic assembly if required.

Also consider your chickens, their breed/s and what kind of chicken waterer would be easiest for them to use to use. Some chickens may easily learn how to drink water from a nipple and other chickens may be more suitable for trough or tray drinking.

Additional Options for Chicken Waterers

If you live in a very cold climate where temperatures get down to freezing, a heating tray to place underneath your chicken waterer is important to prevent it from freezing up during the cold weather periods.

When choosing a waterer with a trough, aim to get one with a curved top on the tank that the chickens cannot roost on. This will reduce the likelihood of dirt, poop and debris making their way into the water trough and therefore reduce the amount of maintenance and cleaning required to maintain a fresh water source.

Our 3 Top Choices for the Best Chicken Waterers

The following are our top 3 picks for the best chicken waterers for your feathered friends.

These recommendations for the best chicken waterers were selected to cover flock sizes from as small as 2 chickens up to as large as accommodating 15 chickens. With this in mind we also assessed the quality of materials, tank capacity, ease of use and other practical features to be mindful of for maintenance efforts.

Harris Farms Double Wall Metal 2 to 5 Gallon Chicken Waterer

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Made from heavy-duty galvanized steel, this poultry drinker from Harris Farms is super sturdy and can be placed on the floor or hung from its handle. Its metal handle also makes the waterer easy to carry and the shape of the tank prevents roosting on top. The vessel’s gravity-fed design ensures chickens and other fowl have access to fresh water all day long.

Harris Farms’ drinker is available in 2 or 5 gallon capacities. The capacity you pick will depend on the size of your flock. This waterer is compatible with the Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base to prevent the water from freezing in the colder months, an additional must if you live in this type of climate.

Pros 👍Cons 👎
✔ Galvanised steel
✔ Large tank
✔ Durable
✔ Can pair with a water heater in freezing climates
✔ Affordable
✔ Easy to re-fill and clean
✔ Pointed top to prevent roosting
❌ Can rust
❌Should be kept out of hot sun due to metal

Rent-A-Coop 5 Gallon Water Cup Chicken Waterer

Chickens will love the four easy-to-use cups on RentACoop’s 5-gallon waterer. There are no tabs for the birds to push and the cups remain half full at all times.

To accommodate coops of various designs, this chicken waterer is available in center placement or corner placement configurations, which either have cups on two parallel sides or two adjoining sides of the waterer. A cone-shaped cap on the vessel prevents roosting.

This waterer has a plastic carrying handle but do not hang it by the hand as when full the handle will not be able to support the bearing weight. The good news is that there is a separate and compatible hanging strap which is sold separately.

Pros 👍Cons 👎
✔ Cups stay half full automatically
✔ Large tank
✔ Lightweight when empty
✔ Can switch to nipples if desired
✔ Affordable
✔ Easy to re-fill with water
✔ Several access points for chickens to drink
❌ Washers can leak after time
❌ Handle is not strong enough for hanging
❌Plastic may crack over time
❌ More parts to clean
❌ Cannot be hung by the included strap

OverEZ Large 12 Gallon Nipple Waterer

The OverEZ Chicken Waterer holds 12 gallons of water and eliminates daily maintenance by providing clean water for up to a month (dependent on flock size).

It is a no-waste, drip-free system with nipples that allow multiple chickens to drink at one time.

The OverEZ Chicken Waterer is durable, made to last and comes equipped with a power cord access port for an optional de-icer.

Pros 👍Cons 👎
✔ Stays cleaner for longer due to use of nipples
✔ Very large tank
✔ Lightweight when empty
✔ Water re-filling is infrequent
✔ Affordable
✔ Easy to re-fill with water
✔ Several access points for chickens to drink
✔ Has the ability to connect a de-icer to the lid
❌ Washers can leak after time
❌ No handle to hang off the ground
❌Plastic may crack over time
❌ More parts to clean
❌ Some chickens cannot drink from nipples

In Conclusion

Chickens rely on a steady supply of clean water. Its important to choose a chicken waterer that is reliable and has the proper capacity for the number of chickens you have. For the majority of chicken keepers the Harris Farms Double Wall Metal 2 to 5 Gallon Chicken Waterer is the best all round choice for making sure a small flock of chickens have access to fresh water. This is the waterer we personally use for our flock and have found it works very well.

For keepers with a larger flock and needing a larger holding capacity with additional access points, an option like the Rent-A-Coop 5 Gallon Water Cup Chicken Waterer or OverEZ Large 12 Gallon Nipple Waterer is a more suitable choice.

FAQs 

Below we have put together the most commonly asked questions about chicken waterers.

Q. How many waterers will my flock need?

Its best to have a ratio of one waterer for every eight chickens. Each chicken drinks about 16 ounces (4.5L) of water each day, so your needs will depend on how many chickens you have and how often you plan to change the water.

Q. Where should I place my waterers?

Waterers should be placed inside and outside the coop in an area out of direct sunlight so the water is kept cool and the growth of algae is discouraged.

Q. Can I put apple cider vinegar in the waterer?

You can if the waterer is made of plastic. If the waterer is metal the acid in the vinegar will eat away at the metal and corrode it over time.

Q. How high should a chicken waterer be?

Access to the water outlet should be placed at the chicken’s breast height.

Q. The waterer is getting very dirty, how can I keep it clean?

Your waterer may need to be raised higher to prevent dirt, poop and debris from falling into the trough or tray.

Q. How do I clean a chicken waterer and how often?

Depending on how dirty they have become and the style of the waterer, trough or standard waterers should be disassembled for thorough cleaning on a fortnightly basis. Waterers that have more closed systems such as a nipple waterer can be cleaned less frequently. The water reservoirs should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months.

Have you ever wondered if chickens can swim? Read our article to find out!

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AUTHOR

The team at My Chicken Guide are chicken enthusiasts! Our team has over 20 years experience in raising and caring for chickens. Our head writer is a qualified Environmental Scientist with a passion for sharing accurate and scientifically based knowledge on chicken care.