I have an earlier post where I made a bucket waterer for my chicken tractor using some commercial poultry nipples. This worked very well for the chickens, an I wanted a similar system hutch waterer for the rabbits.
Rabbits need a lot of water, they won’t eat unless they have a clean water source, and my rabbit hutch came with a large PVC pipe with some cutouts for the rabbits to get to the water inside. This caused a lot of spillage, contamination, and other problems. The cutouts weren’t level, so one rabbit got lots of water, but it kept overflowing, and the rabbit at the top end ran out of water too fast.
What I did was buy a large flush mounted shower drain and installed it at the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. I attached that to some 1 ¾ inch pvc pipe that ran to a manifold I made out of numerous fittings and elbows. At the lowest end of the manifold there is a drain valve for cleaning, and above that are elbows that branch the water pipe to the chicken hutch and another to the rabbit hutch.
Inside both the hutches I drilled holes and attached numerous poultry nipples, and at the end of each supply pipe I installed a threaded cleanout valve.
I had also bought a large steel hog nipple and attached that to the end of the rabbit hutch so Bear could also benefit, (he would rather stand in his water than drink it) but the hog nipple leaked too much so I left it out.
All I had to do was place the rabbit’s mouth against the nipple and let them feel the water and they immediately began to drink. They have no problems using the system, and they don’t contaminate the each other’s water.
I really like this system, as it is a real hassle saver, but there are some identified problems.
- I need a screen over the bucket, as I expect many leaves to fall inside it when Autumn arrives.
- The bucket is pretty high, and it’s not easy to fill
- I plan to make a toilet flapper filler similar to what Travis Hughey made for his Barrelponics setup (F.A.S.T.)
- You cannot see clogs in the pipe, so you have to schedule weekly cleaning sessions to ensure the pipes are flowing properly.
- My bucket leaks horribly from the seal between the bucket and the shower drain. So I have to fill it every day top make sure there is enough water in the pipe to sustain the animals. (this would not be a problem except the for the height of the bucket, and the fact that I made this to be easier on Genny (since she takes care of the animals).
- I am also worried about freezing in the wintertime
- I am working on a solar parabolic heater coil but who knows if that will work, I could use an electric heater like “real” farmers, but that is expensive and I would have to worry about Bear eating the power cord.
All in all though, even with the problems mentioned I do like the setup very well, but I don’t fully trust it, so I also make sure the animals have a backup water supply using 2 liter bottle waterer attached to their cages.