Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Chicken nipples

No, there's no great punchline here ... just .... chicken nipples .... or perhaps better to say, "gravity-locking beak-activated water dispenser". Either way, these are some very cool additions to my urban homestead that has dramatically improved the hydration levels, and water quality that my chookens are getting.

These valves are sold by  the chicken keepers supply company CC Only as a part of their extensive poultry supply catalog. They have a wide variety of poultry farming supplies, but these little watering devices caught my eye after a post on the American Preppers Network.

The magic of the valve are the twin pins and ball bearing between them.

When screwed into place with the threaded end, the ball bearing and top-pin presses down on the top of the bottom pin, forming a seal. When the bottom pin is jiggled, it moves the ball bearing, breaks the seal, and allows a dribble of water to flow. Once the jiggling ceases, so does the flow of water.

The bottom pin has considerable freedom of movement which means that the chookens can poke and peck at it from whatever angle their little chooken heads come at it.

 In fact, within minutes of placing these out for ours to drink from, they had worked it out and have not gone thirsty since installing them.

This layout was my first iteration, which featured a simple clear bucket, without even a lid, but it did allow me to judge how much water was in it, to guage any leakage, as well as how much the chookens were drinking.

One of the things CC Only were quite clear on is ensuring that the connection was secure.

Drilling a hole in the bottom of the bucket was simple enough, and with a dab of pipe-sealant to close any gaps, the system was pretty easy to set up. The real trick is to ensure the hole is the right diameter, there is adequate material for the thread to bite into, and sufficient sealant to prevent dripping.

I have just recently replaced the plastic bucket with a repurposed baby-food tin with a lid, to stem evaporation and also to reduce the weight , as this big bucket got quite heavy to haul when full. Working with a metal base added a little more difficulty in the fitting, as it wasn't as forgiving as the plastic, but is a longer lasting solution.

These were a great addition to my urban homesteading venture, my chookens have had un-fowled water (hyuk-hyuk) and I think they are a little more entertained with having something to peck at for their water.

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