You Can Lead a Chicken to Water…

…but you can’t make her drink.  Oh my Lord, chickens are not smart.  These are animals that once survived in the wild, yes?  I know domestication is the opiate of the masses but really how hard is it to provide yourself with water and food?  Let me rephrase that:  how hard is it to survive on food and water that is provided FOR you?  Each morning I’ve been shuffling out to the side yard to let the chickens out of the coop, give them some food, and rinse and refill their water bowl.  In a single day they drink all their water and fill up the bowl with dirt, and I mean completely fill it up.  We were overdue for a watering system that provided clean and continuously available water, so I built one this weekend.  Oh, it’s just bee-you-ti-ful.

Chicken watering system


Chicken watering system closeup

Total cost wast under twenty bucks, and half that for the little watering nipples, something I can’t say or write without cringing a little because I’m a ridiculous immature prude.  I know you’re dying to know how Uncle F$*k-Up made this project harder than it should have been.  Oh lawdy, the list is long but let’s hit the highlights:

1.  A 3/4″ threaded pipe fitting is going into a bucket.  Nota bene:  a 3/4″ drill bit cuts a 3/4″ hole, which is the INSIDE diameter of the pipe.  Once you cut your perfect hole you’ll spend ten minutes scraping it out and widening it with an old rounded wood rasp.  Now the hole has ragged edges and is no longer circular so your fitting is inserted with an immodest amount of silicone sealant.  And cursing.

2.  The blue goop for chemical-welding PVC pipe is really toxic.  Best not to do it at the dining room table with your kids in the room.  Opening the windows doesn’t help.

3.  When it’s dark out and you’ve had a few beers, don’t try to field-fit the watering system and finish construction.  One of the watering nipples [cringe] will fall off somewhere between the chicken yard and the workbench.  Now your watering system has a hole and your project is incomplete.  You will not be able to think about anything but finding this little red plastic doohickey and will be out in your bathrobe before breakfast raking through straw and chicken sh*t before you finally find the thing on the workbench.

So…since it’s blistering hot and dry because it’s springtime in SoCal, how are the chickens enjoying their new clean and cool water?  They haven’t had a drop.  I crouch in the straw and tickle the watering nipple [double cringe] to show them that water drips out and they stare at me with their surprised reptilian eyes then strut away.  I put a sad dribble of water in their bowl and placed it under the watering system so when they run out about noon today, they will lift their heads to crow to the heavens “Why have you forsaken me?!” and will bump the watering nipples with their heads.  Then they will all die of thirst with wet heads.  What magnificent creatures!

Writer, architect, father, husband.

Posted in Gardening, Home Improvement Tagged with: , , , ,

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