The Best Chicken Waterers:
Reviews to Peruse

Honest Analysis of 4 Chicken Waterer Options

 “Build a better [waterer], and the world will beat a path to your door."  It doesn't matter if you're brand new to chicken keeping or have been raising them for years, there's always something to learn.  Which chicken waterer is best? We have tried several over the course of our poultry ownership and I thought I’d give my honest two cents on some of our favorites in case it would be helpful to any of you.  Here they are, in no particular order:

·         K&H Manufacturing Poultry Waterer, 2.5 gal and K&H Heated Poultry Waterer, 2.5 gal – This waterer has some great features that make it one of our favorites.  Our hose is a good walk away from the coop so we love the feature that allows us to fill it and seal it with the cap and walk back to the coop without sloshing.  A bump on the base releases the water when the water tank is installed, filling the base.  Another unique feature is the filter insert that can be pulled out to clear any litter that may get in the water trough.  Lastly, I like that the water tank is shaped so that no chickens can roost on the top at night, but I will say it makes it a bit tricky to balance when you’re filling it with water.

There are a few other quirks about this waterer that I should mention.  First, it’s hard to clean because it has such a small opening for the water.  This can be remedied with a splash of bleach in the water from time to time, but without that, the water can get slimy.  Also, when you remove the filter while water is in the tank, the water fills in and overflows a bit when you replace the cleaned filter.  That isn’t a problem if you have your water outside, but can be more of an issue if you keep your waterer in the coop where overflow can make for wet bedding. 

One other major plus is that K&H has awesome customer service.  We managed to lose the screw-on lid for the water tank at one point, and when I inquired about purchasing a replacement, they promptly sent me another one, free of charge.  We liked this waterer so much that we also bought the plug-in heated model of the same design when the other started freezing and it works great at keeping the water defrosted enough for the chickens to continue drinking even in the coldest part of winter.  Overall, this has been one of our favorite waterers due to the sealed water tank.  So in summary:

Ø  Pros:

üFilling and transporting water from the hose without sloshing or splashing out

üFilter for the water trough

üAnti-roosting shape

üGreat customer service

Ø  Cons:

üHard to scrub clean due to the small opening (remedied with bleach)

üCan overflow when replacing the filter while the water tank is full

üPrice is a little high for being just 2.5 gallons


·         Premier Heated Poultry 3 Gallon Waterer  – We invested in this waterer after tiring of frozen dirty, shavings-filled water and cracked plastic bases from knocking out ice.  This is one solid heated waterer!  This was also our first attempt at training our chickens to use a nipple waterer.  Both were a success!  It took very little time for the chickens to figure out the nipple system and this waterer is solid!  The thick plastic combined with the practical top handle and easy slide locking lid really make this a winner.  I also love that the plug is easily removable either to take to the hose to fill up or just to be free of it during the summer when the plug is not needed.  Since the waterer is so insulated combined with the heat from plugging it in, this waterer checks all the boxes.  Since there is so much less waste from dirty water removal you also don't need to fill it as often and since it is opaque, there is no algae buildup.   

I love buying quality products that you can tell from the beginning they will last for years.  That was my feeling from the moment I opened the box.   So in summary:


Ø  Pros:

üQuality construction

üRemovable cord

üStays defrosted

üEasy to carry handle

üNo algae growth since it opaque

üLess waste since water stays clean so needs filled less often

Ø  Cons:

üA few more nipples would accomodate a larger flock, best for 25 or less birds

üPrice is high (but so is the quality!)


 Harris Farms Plastic Drinker, 3.5 gal – This waterer gets the prize for longevity.  We used this waterer for many years and it stood the test of time.  There were many featured we liked about this design and a few that made it less than ideal.  First, the good news is that this is one of the most affordable waterers out there and it tops the size of the other two waterers we have used at  3.5 gallons.  It is easy to clean since the base of the water tank is the size of the base of the trough.  The base was sturdy plastic and stood up to many cold winters of breaking out ice. 

Since our hose is a decent walk from the coop, the biggest knock for us was transporting the full waterer.  If you held the metal handle and carried it, water sloshed on the ground and on your legs and boots as you walked.  If you held it upside down, it was awkward since it was heavy and you had to hold it by the water trough.  One other frustration was the u-shaped metal handle would often slip out of the holes in the top of the water tank.  Overall, as mentioned before, this waterer gave us a lot of good years and was worth every penny we spent on it.  So in summary:

Ø  Pros:

üSturdy and long-lasting

üAffordable option

üEasy to clean

üGreat 3.5 gallon size (big enough to water a lot of chickens but not so big that it’s too heavy to carry!)

Ø  Cons:

üHard to transport any distance

üMetal handle can be unreliable

üPlastic base can crack in cold weather when removing ice


DIY Chicken Water Bowls – We bought these water cups when we were setting up some chicken tractors and we wanted a waterer we could hang that wouldn't spill.  These ended up being just what we were looking for!  The chickens learned out to use them quickly and since the bowls fill up, the chickens could get a nice full drink of water.  We ended up putting 8 on a hanging five gallon bucket.  We left the lid off so we could easily refill it while still hanging in the chicken tractor but if you were using it in a normal coop, I would want a lid to keep the dust out.  Since the cups stick out, it's not easy to carry a full five gallon bucket without bumping off some of the red cups since you have to hold the bucket away from you to avoid that.  

The red cups easily twist off and on but the yellow lever that releases the water keeps it from leaking.  Sometimes the waterer starts swinging so much when we're moving the tractor that a red cup falls off when they get bumped so that design could be improved a bit.  We only had one time that the plastic nuts that tighten them to the bucket broke and caused a leak so overall, we've been very happy with this product.   So in summary:

Ø  Pros:

üA great alternative to the DIY nipple waterers for hanging 5 gallon bucket waterers since it takes so little pressure to engage the lever to release the water, minimizing bucket swinging

üVery Affordable option

üAllows the chickens to get a full swallow of water

üChickens learn very quickly how to release the water

üEasy to install

üFar more sanitary than traditional fountain drinkers since the cups stay cleaner

Ø  Cons:

üHard to transport a full bucket of water since the cups stick out

üRed cup easily releases from the yellow lever

üCan leak if the plastic nut gets tightened too tight and the plastic breaks

üNot as sanitary as the DIY nipple waterers

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