Friday, June 13, 2014


Water to poultry is critical. On hot days 40 chickens can drink 5 gallons of water in just the daylight hours.

We have used bell drinkers fed from a 5 gallon bucket on each of the poultry pens. Algae grows in the bucket and sometimes clogs the tube, which cuts off the flow of water. Without water disaster happens.

It is a love hate relationship with the bell drinkers. In theory they are easy...fill the bucket, done. In reality they are a constant source of stress: did the water run straight out? Is the tube clogged? Is there really water available for the birds?

The use of the bell drinkers on mobile pens is a farm hack. They were not designed or built to use in the way we use them. A redesign of water supply on field is in order.

Last year a system that did not have enough water for hot days was installed on a few pens. While algae was not a problem there was not quite enough holding capacity for 24 hours.

So design changes were made. Slight pen modifications occurred. Larger capacity. Easier fill. Always with the idea that pens are moved daily, when water is almost out and refilled just after moving. Since water weighs about 8 pounds to the gallon, 5 gallons of water changes the daily pen move dramatically. Timing of refilling water containers is critical to keeping the farmers back intact.

This years version. To the untrained eye it looks like last years version. To the chickens, in July and August, it looks like plenty of cool, clean water. To the farmer, it looks like an occasional off farm trip on a sunny day will not result in devastation.

Its all in the details.

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