Monday, March 5, 2012

Chickens -- Part One: The Watering Hole --

What-cha look'en at!
Okay, so chickens are our first animal project here at Even Meadow.  We are going to focus mostly on egg production on the first go, but no matter what intent you have for a chicken it must have access to food and water.  We are going to try the chicken tractor approach with a fair amount of just free for all roaming about, when weather and time allows.  For the well studied that means we are going to shoot for a blend between the egg mobile and chicken tractor approaches (I'll get into these at a later date).  What does that mean for our feed and water systems.  It simply means that they need to be self contained and portable.
   The feed will be pretty easy but the water supply (I felt) needed some thought and planning.  I did a reasonable amount of looking around and comparison shopping.  The water system that looked best to me was a gravity fed water nipple system.  If you have ever had a hamster, gerbil or the like you will be familiar with the concept.

   The setup for the chickens is very similar and works under the same principle.  A little stainless steal stopper at the end of a tube.  The stopper at the end is shaped a little different in the chicken water-er.  There are a few different companies making them (it is how large chicken industry has been providing water) but this is what the package brought me in the mail...
A poultry nipple is a essentially a valve.  When a chicken pecks at the metal stem, the valve releases a few drops of water.  The water comes from anything that you can drill a hole into and then tread in the nipple.  I am going to make an array of about three or four in a piece of PVC pipe and provide water to the pipe with a rubber hose that is connected to a five gallon bucket. When I get the setup completed I will post a picture.

  So why did I choose this over the plethora of other setups. Cost, portability, cleanliness and the fact that it is self made.  If I make it, I know how to fix, clean and improve the system.  Also (thought, as of yet, unsubstantiated) It will work with both baby chicks and full grown hens and roosters.  Its simple and the only setup that will be needed.

   I am going into town tomorrow, for work.  So when it is all said and done, the day will end with a trip to Lowes for a supplies pickup.  Oh boy! creativity and project building... do I sound like a giddy little school girl?  I'll Leave you with a little levity 

             Farm Boy

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