Brooder Watering System


We all know what a mess that baby chicks can make with the conventional watering bottles. They scratch the hay or straw or whatever into the cup, poo in it, and some even drown in it if not fixed correctly.

Well, you don’t have to put up with the mess or the wasted water anymore! This little wonder will water your chicks without barely a mess at all.


This is what you are about to create. The exact measurements are up to you except where noted. For up to 20 chicks a 50mm PVC pipe is fine. For 25 or more you will need at least three of these or better yet; two 100mm PVC pipes with two nipples in each one.

 What You Will Need



50mm PVC pipe (shown) or 100mm PVC pipe

Two end caps to suit

Piece of 25mm Grey electrical conduit

PVC Glue

Sand paper

A drill and 9mm bit

Tap (1/8BSPT BOTT)

Screw in Water Nipple/s

Cuppa or suitable drink

The Tank; 

Whichever size PVC pipe you select, cut to a length which will hold enough water for about 3 days. Consider normal temperatures in Winter and Summer. In hotter climates you want the water to be used before mould starts to develop. Colder weather will allow a bit more water before this happens. My tubes are all approx 450mm long and 50mm. My brooders are all inside, protected from hot or cold.

You should have two end caps of which one will be for the top. Take the other cap and drill a 9mm hole through the centre. Place a scrap bit of wood under the cap to prevent any accidents to the table. Be sure to clean away any waste material so it won’t get stuck in the nipple later on.

If you have decided to use the 100 mm PVC, remember to drill two holes for two nipples! Keep them at least 55 – 60mm apart.


                  inside cap             tap cap

 Next, with your tap, tap the hole you just drilled to make the screw threads for the nipple to screw into. If you do not have a tap, or want to buy one, your local auto repairer will probably do the job for you if you ask real nice. The tap will easily turn by hand so wind it in about ¾ the way up the thread and take it back out. The bottom cap is almost ready.


nipple screw

 Screw in nipples are made up of three pieces. The outside body and two stainless steel pins. The thinner pin is the trigger the bird pecks at to get a drink. The thicker piece acts as a plug that keeps water from entering the nipple until pushed up by the trigger pin. Without something to stop the plug at a safe distance above the body, it will fall out and water will flow freely through the nipple. When mounted in a 25mm pipe, such as the grey electrical conduit, it works perfectly as the inside diameter of the pipe stops the plug from rising too far. Since we are using 50mm or 100mm PVC we need to fix the nipple in to stop the pins from falling out.

Note - If using Go Anywhere nipples, this next step is not needed as the nipple stays together!!

 drop saw           final cut  Drop Saw

  hacksaw1     hacksaw2    Hacksaw 

ABOVE     With a drop saw or hacksaw, cut away a piece of the 25mm pipe as shown below for each nipple. This piece should be about 30 – 40mm long, no more in a 50mm pipe. In the 100mm make sure it covers both holes but does not impede the PVC pipe inside the cap.




nipple stop     cap w stop

PVC Cement this 25mm piece to the inside of the bottom cap, centred over the hole. Allow to dry before handling again. 


 cap w nipple

 When glue is dry, screw in the nipple, making sure all parts are intact. It will screw in most of the way by hand. Hold the cap so nipple is vertical with trigger down until nipple is screwed in all the way. The last few turns can be managed with a spanner. Don’t over do it and strip the threads! 

inside pipe    The bottom cap can now be placed on the 50mm or 100mm body. Place some PVC glue along the inside edge of the cap without getting any into the nipple, and push onto pipe.

 The other cap can be placed on the top. Remember that it is there just to keep dust out. Don’t put it on hard or you’ll struggle to get it off when you want to fill with water.


 complete nippl tube


 If you wanted to get a bit fancy, the caps left are the ones I use. More expensive but I have gotten a top cap stuck on more than one occasion!


That's it!! Now just place the pipe in brooder and show chicks the nipple by wiggling it with your finger and they will catch on very quickly!!

By the way - to hang the pipe on the side of the brooder, here is a quick and easy holder.

holder drawing

The pipe slides throught the hole you cut out and rests on the inside wall of the brooder. The angle of the two pieces of wood screwed together hold the pipe in place. You may have to adjust this but basically, here it is.