A while ago now, I purchased some chicken nipples. No really, there is such a thing!
Yes, these little nipples clamp onto a piece of 25mm OD (outer diameter) Grey electrical conduit with a 9mm hole. Here is how we did it.
The nipples should be placed so they hang straight down from the pipe, approximately 300mm (1 foot) apart from each other. Using a pencil, mark a straight line on the pipe from one end to the other. We used 1.3 metres of pipe. With the electrical conduit, I laid the pipe on a table so it doesn’t roll around. Dad held it for me whilst we drew the line. We used the edge of a saw as the ruler. Then we measured the 300mm spacing and marked where each hole was going to be located.
Next, I made a pilot hole with a sharp nail at each of the locations, and when this was finished, we drilled the holes with the 9mm bit. Be sure to clean waste material away from holes before installing nipples, and we used a small file and sandpaper to smooth the hole. Where the clip on nipple meets the pipe, there is a rubber ring which seals the fit. Now, just go along the pipe to each hole, and by spreading apart the clip and put the ring in the hole. We placed a nipple over the pipe and snap the clip shut as far as it could go.
The grey electrical conduit was perfect for this application as it exactly 25mm OD and nipples fit very well. Mind you, we found this out the hard way, as I initially used a piece of white 25mm ID conduit, not really knowing the difference, and mucked around for an hour and broke off three nipples! I believe that 25mm black PVC water line will work, too but be aware that nipple clamp may not click all the way. That was my next option if the grey conduit did not work.
So then we fastened the row of chicken nipples to the inside of Cluckingham Palace with some saddle clips and rigged up the water pipe to the rain barrel that we installed on Monday. I found that 19mm irrigation parts loosely fitted into the end of the grey electrical conduit, and with a bit of silicone sealer stayed in place with no problems.
The pipe has a slight drop towards the other end. There was no leaks, so we must have drilled the holes properly, and the clamps fastened tight.
Here is a chickens eye view of the pipes. Look at the shiny nipple, which are so intriguing to a chook. They love pecking shiny things!
So here is the pipe work, all 19mm, with a bit of pipe and some elbow fixtures and clamps.
So the million dollar question is “Do they work?” Well, it rained on Monday night and the barrel is about a quarter full, so when I touched a nipple, water dripped out. As for the chickens, they have not quite figured it out yet, but I have not really tried to teach them. When the barrel gets a bit fuller and the pressure increases in the pipe work, I will give it another go. I intend on teaching Jennifer first as she is the friendliest, and learns quickly, and maybe Edwina as she is quick to learn as well. I figure that if I take their normal bowl away and teach these two, the others will learn quickly. Time will tell.
Finally, a big thanks to Dad for all his help in all the guttering and chicken nipple projects over the last few days. I could not have done it as quickly or with as much enjoyment with out you!
Sustainable chicken watering! It should last for a good many years to come.