Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chickens -- Part Two: The Watering Hole Continued --

   Well, if you listen closely, you may hear the soft sounds of baby chicks in the background.  They are in their temp housing under the heat lamp having a blast.  There are 12 of the little buggers, ten Golden Comets and two Rhode Island  Reds.  The chicken adventure begins!  (the white bottle with the red lid is the current chick water-er with one nipple)

   The past few weeks have been rather non stop, as will be the next few.  This is spring and farm life after all, and at this early stage in the game it takes me ten times as long as it should to get things done.  Mother nature is pulling no punches either.  However, it is a rainy day and so I opted for a task that was under roof… full size chicken water-er.  So here it is step by step.

the Lowes trip skinned me for about 15 bucks in parts…
- Tubing (10’ 3\8 inch)
- PVC pipe (one stick 1\2 inch)
-  PVC fittings
     - 1\2 inch threaded cap
     - 1\2 inch slip thread male adapter
     - 1\2 inch slip thread female adapter
     - 3\8 barbed hose adapter threaded (X2)
     - 3\4 to 1\2 inch slip thread female adapter
     - 3\4 to 1\2 inch slip thread reducer
- Two hose clamps
- A five gallon bucket
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If you are looking for the nipples I got them here … http://www.avianaquamiser.com/
With your parts and pieces all gathered and ready lets start with the bucket.  For this step you will need the one inch hole bit.  Lay the bucket on its side and locate a good spot for your hole near the bottom of the bucket.  I would avoid putting the hole in the bottom of the bucket, but I guess you could.  You will have issues with setting the bucket down and things will end up broken.
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With the hole made, you will want to push the 3\4 to 1\2 slip thread reducer through the hole from the inside of the bucket out.  The 1 inch hole may need to be enlarged a very slight amount.  Keep the fit as tight a possible but a round file will help with enlarging the hole if needed.
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Move onto the 3\4 to 1\2 slip thread female adapter. Into it thread in one of the barbed hose adapters.  The assembled pieces will slip right over the reducer that you pushed through the side of the bucket.  As a side note: you can place a garden hose rubber washer (the one with the mesh screen on it) inside the 3\4 fitting before you slip it over the reducer coming out of the bucket.  This will keep any large debris from entering the rest of the system.  Your setup should look similar to this…
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Now,with hose and hose clamps at the ready, place the clamps over the hose and then push the hose onto the barbed adapter sticking out of the bucket, and then position and tighten the hose clamp in place.
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At this point you can call the water reservoir 99% complete. Let's move onto the the water nipple manifold.  From here on you will need to size things to fit your flock.  Get the stick of PVC pipe and cut a length to suit your needs.  I am using an 18” piece of pipe with the nipples set 4” apart. I have a total of 4 nipples.  This can always be changed at a later date.
With your pipe cut, lay out your marks for the holes.  You will need an 11\32 drill bit to make the holes for the nipples (if you are using the same nipples as I did) and you want all the holes to be drilled strait and inline with each other. Easiest way to do that would be with a drill press, so if you have one use it, otherwise use a much smaller bit to make a pilot hole and then use a hand held drill to make the finished hole.
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You now have a piece of pipe with holes in it so let's add some pipe fittings.  Thread in the second barbed hose adapter into the 1\2 inch slip thread female adapter then slip it onto the pipe.
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To the other end of the pipe slip on the 1\2 inch slip thread male adapter and spin on the 1\2 inch threaded cap.  You could simplify and replace the adapter cap setup for a simple slip on cap, but I wanted to be able to clean out the manifold from time to time and figured the threaded cap would be of help.
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Time to thread in the nipples.  These babies are pretty strong and the first one I carefully lined up in the hole applied constant pressure and threaded the nipple in.  It was not the easiest thing to do and I could tell I was just at the edge of messing up one of the nipples.  So, I cheated… I am one of those guys that has a good collection of tools, so I tracked down the tap and die set and threaded the remaining holes before putting the nipples in.  This is not needed and the tap to thread the hole would be a pricey purchase, so I leave that option up to you.  However you get her done, you should end up with a finished manifold looking something like this.
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The last step is to push the other end of the hose over the barbed adapter on the manifold and tighten up the hose clamp.  You will need to determine what length you want the hose to be.  My setup is a 4’ long hose and my finished product looks like this…
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At this point you may “test” out your water-er if you so desire, but the one last thing you need to do is to apply a silicone sealant to the threaded reducer that you pushed through the side of the bucket.  Not on the threads, but on the outside of the adapter to the bucket.  If you test the system it will leak without the sealant.   All the other joints can be left dry.  This is a non-pressurized system so glue is not needed.  It may be better in the long run and if so I will bust out the PVC glue, but being able to disassemble and fix, change or clean the parts, to me, is an added bonus.