Saturday, April 25, 2015

IBC Tote Chicken Waterer

My hens like nothing better than to fill their water buckets with dirt, straw, and anything else they can kick up off the ground. I wasted a lot of water dumping that thing out every few days, so a couple of years ago I decided it was time for a change. I built a water system that used a 5 gallon bucket feeding to a section of PVC with some water nipples on the bottom edge. It worked ok but the hens always seemed like they were dying of thirst trying to get water a drop at a time. I finally went back to the water bucket and the nuisance of constantly cleaning it out.

This time I'm trying something a little different. Using a 275 gallon IBC tote as a water tank, I'm running PVC pipe along the bottom edge that feed into water cups I picked up from Beaktime. Because this tank originally had Roundup in it (chill, I cleaned the hell out of it) I'm going to add a homemade inline filter that uses activated charcoal. Activated charcoal pulls glyphosphate out of water. Finally putting all those water treatment classes to use.

So here are the parts. 5 cups attached to Ts from Beaktime. The Ts are 1/2", so I picked up a 1/2" end cap and a 1" to 1/2" reducer. The elbows and shutoff are for 1" pipe. I'm using the 1" because it's the smallest I can cram the charcoal filter into. The black ring is a 1" Uniseal, which I picked up a bunch of from The Aquaponic Source. I cut sections of 1/2" PVC to run between the drinking cups and connect them to the reducer. The jar is activated charcoal I got on Amazon, although you can get at pretty much any petshop that handles fish tanks. I also have a stick of 1" PVC pipe out in the garage that I'll use on this.

A 1" Uniseal requires a 1 3/4" hole. I drilled the hole at the base of the tank.
And then stared inside at the plastic circle left behind. 
Wonder if that'll float up to the top when I fill it? 
Next I pushed the Uniseal in place. How cool is that??

Now it's time to put the outflow line on. I went back to the garage and cut two sections of 1 1/4" pipe, then came outside and tried to cram it into my 1" fittings. :/
Back to the garage, grabbing the 1" stick this time, and cut two sections. Back outside, shove them into the elbow and cut off, and then....
Realize I put it together backwards. And let me be the first to say that after you've beat 1" PVC into place with a mallet, it's not eager to go twisting around to another direction. Took quite a bit more beating with the mallet before it was facing the right way. 

Once I had it going the right way I shoved the end of the pipe into the Uniseal.  It took some coaxing and muscle to get it in there but that's the way you want it so it doesn't leak. :)

So I had to take a break because, as usual, I forgot some parts. Brackets to mount the pipe to the chicken yard fence, and a filter media bag from Petco to put the activated charcoal in for the inline filter.  

I used a funnel to add some activated charcoal to the bag. Not much, because I have to cram it in a 1" pipe. And I do mean cram. It took a while to stuff that thing in there!


I pushed it in far enough to be clear of the shut off, but within reach so I can pull it out later on and replace the charcoal.

And hooked it all together. I didn't use any pipe cement since it's low pressure, plus I need to be able to open it back up every few months to replace the charcoal. 

It WORKS! And the chickens love it!

The tank holds a total of 275 gallons of water, and as soon as I find a missing piece of gutter I'll reroute a 24 ft section of gutter off the chicken house to drain into it. The only thing left to figure out now is how to deal with freezing temps in the winter. I can throw a tank heater in the tank but it's the lines that freeze. Will have to figure that one out before winter rolls around, but at least I've got some time. :)

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