How To Stop Chickens From Pooping In Their Water


Chickens tend to have a habit of pooping in their water, but how do you stop chickens from popping in their water? It gets annoying dumping out the dish to clean it regularly. Often this is done multiple times a day, so it isn’t uncommon for their owners to look into alternative watering methods to prevent this.

Chickens tend to poop in their water because they like to roost on top of the waterer. To prevent this, the best option is to either elevate the waterer or have a container that prevents roosting.

There are many different options to prevent chickens from pooping in their water. Some may be preferable depending on the water location or just the amount of effort you may be willing to put in. 

How To Keep Chickens From Pooping in Their Water 

Many people tend to find they prefer a solution depending on the ease or their water dish style. It is also essential to consider why or how your chickens manage to dirty their water since this could help you decide on a solution.

Chicken Water Nipple 

Chicken water nipples are recommended methods to prevent chickens from pooping or dirtying their water. There are multiple options available for nipples and several different methods you can choose from to use them.

Chicken nipples are very similar to the concept behind hamster feeders. You will want to make sure the chicken nipple is easy to access for your chickens.  

You’ll also want to make sure you have enough chicken nipples for all of your chickens. The best practice is to have at least one nipple per nine hens. This is the minimum number of chicken nipples you will want, so it may be better always to have an extra to ensure they are all receiving a sufficient amount of water. 

Get the best selling RentACoop automatic chicken waterer from Amazon here.

The main goal of a chicken water nipple is to elevate the water so the chickens will be drinking from the nipple. This means they wouldn’t even have the opportunity to get to the water directly to poop inside of it. 

Most chicken nipples will come by themselves, with instructions on installing it into the water container of your choice. This can be a bucket, a water jug, or just anything containing the water while still allowing air to filter through it properly. 

Speaking of Water can a Chicken drink too much of it? Find out in my post here.

Choose a New Water Container

As I mentioned above, most chicken nipples will require you to find your water container. The container will usually depend on how many chickens you have along with how many water sources you are planning to have in the room.

A chicken tends to drink between one or two cups of water, but if you have laying hens, they may drink twice as much as a non-layer. 

You will want to make sure you also have enough nipples for each hen, so the container must have room for them all. I will go into more detail on the chicken nipple placements below. 

Another thing to keep in mind when selecting a container is that they must have somewhere to allow air to filter through. Otherwise, the container will stop producing water correctly, causing your chickens to be dehydrated without you realizing it until you check the container. 

The best way to think of this is when you drink out of a water bottle. If the bottle doesn’t have somewhere to allow the air in, then it will continue to compress in your hand and make it more challenging to receive water. This is the same concept for the container you will want to use.

Do your chickens have access to food and water at night, should they access to food and water 24/7? Find out in my post.

Adjust Chicken Water Nipples for Colder Weather

The prominent issue people run into with using a chicken nipple is during the winter, water will freeze. Some chicken coops stay warm enough that this isn’t an issue, but some people still tend to find other solutions. 

Most coops will have a heated lamp in them during the winter to keep them warm, so many people like to place the lamp near the water. This will usually do an excellent job of preventing the water from freezing.

Do your Chickens have an insulated coop? Learn how to keep a warm flock in my post.

Another option is to use a water heater, which is explicitly made to place animals drinking water to stop it from freezing. Many people use this for dog bowls or even water troughs that cows or horses will drink from. You can get a cheap yet effective water heater from Amazon by clicking here.

Place Chickens Water Around 12 Inches Off The Ground

Be aware that this option will require you to hang the container from a certain height. This will usually vary depending on the nipple, but the main focus is making sure your chickens can easily reach it when they want to drink. 

This would usually be around twelve inches off the ground, but you can test the height with your own space. This mainly means that depending on your chickens’ age, and you may need to adjust the height.

The placement of a chicken water nipple isn’t as important as some other water options. This is mainly due to the container being elevated, but you will still want to try and keep it away from any locations that the chickens may like to roost. You will also want to make sure there is still plenty of space underneath for the chickens to access the water easily. 

You will want to make sure there are around three inches of space around each nipple, so the chickens have plenty of room to reach the water. If you feel like this isn’t enough space for your chickens to reach the water comfortably, then adjust it as you see fit.

Install the Water Container and Chicken Nipple

There will be instructions with the chicken nipple you select that will tell you the best way to install it since it can vary depending on the brand you purchase.

Typically, you will need to drill a hole in the container you are using and attach the water nipple using the pieces they provide. The chicken nipple should come with information on the correct size the hole will need to be.

For video instructions watch the video above.

Automatic Poultry Water Cup 

An automatic poultry water cup has a similar concept to the chicken nipple, meaning it is meant to make it more difficult for chickens to poop in their water by elevating it. The water cup is a smaller cup that will fill with more water the chickens’ drink, meaning they will always have easy access to water. 

This option may be preferable since some owners can find it difficult to get the chickens to realize that the water comes from the chicken nipple. Meanwhile, this one is a much more obvious and direct source that chickens can easily identify. 

Pick up the best selling automatic chicken waterer for Chickens on Amazon here.

This is a relatively similar set up to the chicken water nipple above, but you must keep in mind that since the design is different, you may need to make slight adjustments. This is specifically in regards to the height and space between each cup. 

Find a Big Enough Container For Chickens Water

Like the chicken nipple, the container will mostly depend on how much water you will need for your chickens. 

The main thing you should note is that the cup will need more space than a chicken nipple would. So you will want to make sure the container is large enough at the base to still provide plenty of space for all of the water cups you attach. 

If you do not have enough space for the number of cups you will need, then you should consider having more than one water container. This could mean getting smaller ones rather than one large one, or whatever would work best in your situation.

Do your Chickens struggle to pack on the pounds? Learn why and how to stop skinny Chickens in my post.

Where To Hang Chicken Waterer?

Hang the water container, so it is around twelve inches from the floor. The main thing to be aware of is that the chickens will need to be able to put their heads into the bowl rather than being able to simply drink from the nipple. To do this place the container lower so they can reach it better. 

The other thing to note is that there is more risk of the chickens spilling water. If the container is hanging and a chicken manages to bump into it hard enough, then water may spill out of the bowl. While you may be preventing them from pooping in the dish, it is still causing other issues you will need to take care of.

Since there is a possibility of water being spilled, you will want to make sure it hangs in an area that won’t cause any issues—keeping it further away from the chicken’s food or other areas you would rather avoid being wet. You will also need to keep in mind that you will need to make sure it doesn’t get too wet and that you continue to monitor it.  

Like the chicken nipple, the water cup will come by itself with instructions on how to attach it to a container. This will usually involve drilling into the bucket and attaching it with the parts that come with it. Other than the cup, you will need to have your own tools and equipment to set it up. 

Get the RentACoop 5 Gallon Auto Chicken waterer for a steal on Amazon here.

How To Install Chicken Water Nipple

The installation is fairly simple as long as you have a drill to make the hole for the cup. This one doesn’t necessarily require the container to have a hole to allow air to move, but it never hurts to make a small one just in case.

The water cup does require more than a chicken nipple, so you would need one cup per five chickens. They are also slightly larger, so they may take up more space. You will need to make sure to take note of this when planning which container you are using, along with space you plan to place it in.

Use A Horizontal Lid To Stop Chickens Popping In Water

This is a great solution to prevent chickens from pooping in their own water because it can be done without any special equipment. A DIY project is always a plus. And, a DIY horizontal lid isn’t too complicated.

The horizontal lid is made specifically to prevent chickens from roosting on the container. These lids tend to come with a container themselves, so you would need to purchase the entire set for it to work properly. However, you could most likely make something similar using the parts you have at home. 

The main thing to note with this option is it won’t stop them from kicking dirt or other things into the water. If the container is sitting on the ground, then there is not much you can do to prevent them from doing this. Despite this downfall, it still helps prevent the main issue that requires owners to constantly dump the water.

Do your baby Chicks get grit? Learn why they should, and why it’s so important in my post.

DIY Horizontal Lid 

It is possible to create a lid or something similar just for your water container. The easiest way to do this is by using something like plywood or similar. You would then construct a steep lid that can sit on top of the container.

This would make it so when the birds attempt to roost on top of the container. They will simply slide off. You will need to make sure it is steep and high enough that they can’t roost on the peak of the lid, or it will not work as you intend. 

Standard Chicken Waterer DIY 

Another DIY prevention method for the win. The standard chicken waterer sits on the ground and has a bowl around it for the chickens to drink from. 

This is the simplest option but is the main cause of chickens roosting and then pooping into the water. However, there are several options to convert a standard waterer into something that could prevent chickens from dirtying it.

Elevate the Waterer

This is a similar idea to the chicken nipple and water cup, as it lifts the container out of reach of the chickens to prevent roosting. You would simply need to have a way to attach rope or a bungee cord to the container to hang it from somewhere.

The biggest downfall of this option is that it has a high likelihood of spilling. Since the standard waterer isn’t typically made for this use, they tend to be easy to tip and spill. While the water cups do spill somewhat too, they have a lower possibility of doing so than this.

Are your Chickens easily scared? Learn how to deal with this by reading my post.

Cage the Waterer 

This option will require some cage material with holes that are roughly 2″ x 4″. The main goal is to provide enough space for chickens to fit their heads through, but not their bodies. This cage material should extend above the waterer to fully prevent roosting, and only allow the chickens to drink from the waterer.

Like the horizontal lid, this method is meant to be sitting on the ground. This means there is still a possibility of them kicking some dirt into the water, but it should prevent the majority of this issue. Since the cage can keep their butts somewhat away from the waterer, it can help prevent them from digging nearby.

Alternative Solutions to Prevent Roosting on Waterer 

The above solutions are effective in preventing chickens from roosting on the water source. But, in addition to changing the water source or blocking the chickens from roosting on the water, these next solutions offer a different take on things. 

Squirrel Baffle 

Squirrel baffles can often be used to also baffle chickens when they attempt to roost on the waterer. The most common squirrel baffle that is used to prevent this is a rounded plastic dome. 

This dome is typically hung from a tree branch with a bird feeder hanging below it. This makes it, so squirrels will simply slide off the dome once they’ve reached it instead of eating the bird food.

Similar to this concept, you would simply hang the dome above the chicken waterer. It will prevent chickens from attempting to jump on top of the waterer to roost, and it is still easy to move the dome aside when you need to refill the water.

Or, if your not the best at DIY you can purchase a pre-made squirrel baffle on amazon here.

Deter Roosting 

As I mentioned previously, the main reason chickens tend to poop in their water is because they enjoy roosting on top of the container. Some of the best solutions to prevent them from doing this can also encourage them to roost somewhere else. 

This method doesn’t mean they will stop roosting on the waterer, but it can make it so they do it less often. Make sure to have plenty of areas of them to roost, and even try placing one near the water that is a more enticing location than on the waterer.

If you’re not handy with DIY get a pre-made Chicken rooster from Amazon here.

For other roost ideas and 20 ways to keep your chickens entertained see my post here.

DIY) PVC Pipe Chicken Waterer

Final Thoughts

The main thing to keep in mind when choosing which method you want to use is considering your coop and the overall setup. It may be easier to use a DIY method to convert your current waterer into something that can still prevent them from pooping in it. 

This can also be true the other way. Many people find it more straightforward and less stressful to go with one of the surer solutions. This will mostly depend on you and what you feel fits your needs most. Just make sure to note why your chickens are pooping in the water, which can help you find the perfect solution to fit you. 

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