Okay, so I needed and wanted a way for my turkeys and chickens to get water without using a bucket and nipples. I never even tried the bucket with my turkeys because they way they drink water, didn’t think it would work for them.
After talking to my friend Crystal, she showed me a picture for a waterer that looks like a trough and has a float valve and bucket outside the tractor! Score! Time to figure this out!
(and before you ask, here are the plans for the tractor!)
My goals were:
Able to fill from the outside
Able to supply plenty of water
5 gallon bucket with lid
Let’s start from the beginning, the bucket. Drill a hole with a hole saw or 1 inch Forstner bit (I’ve always called them paddle bits). Make sure it’s high enough on the bucket so that when you take it down, the end won’t hit the ground. Also, this gives space in the bottom of the bucket to allow dirt to settle and not get in the valve.
Put the spigot on the outside and the coupler on the inside. I had a couple of rubber gaskets from my water filter to keep it from leaking. If all else fails, caulk the heck out of it.
Now you have a bucket with a spigot on it. Now you’ll be able to take it down and you can turn off the water coming out without making a huge mess, bonus!
The nicest surprise was finding that this hose exists! I really thought I was going to have to buy a cheap hose, cut it up, put a female adapter and add it to the end! Nope, this worked great. There is also a washing machine hose you can use too, but it’s black and I was afraid it would heat the water up in the sun.
So, I like using 4 inch PVC for my hanging feeders. They are thick walled, sturdy, and have worked wonderfully so far. Also, chickens don’t tend to roost on them because they move. And if I cut a 10 foot pipe in half, that makes a feeder and waterer! So that’s our base.
I used a reciprocating saw to cut the top out of my trough. It’s a great tool to use here, the blade doesn’t cut so far down to hit the other side and makes quick work of it. Cut both lines and remove that piece. Read the end to see what I would do differently here.
I drilled a hole in the top part of the cap before I glued it. I used a paddle bit that is a little bigger than the end of the float valve. There is a plastic nut and rubber washer that comes with it. Carefully tighten down the nut just enough. Position it so the float part will turn the water off when it floats up. Honestly, I initially put it upside down and had to fix it after it was assembled. Lesson here: don’t glue anything you should adjust later!
So, now you have your trough with float valve. Time to glue on the ends. Use PVC primer and PVC glue to secure the caps on the ends. See the note below to read how I messed this up and how to not screw it up. Position it so the float valve is to the top.
Now you have a bucket with a spigot and a water trough! Yay! Let’s simply hook them together with the hose, right!!!
Wrong! The end of the float valve is 1/2 inch and the inside of the hose is 3/4 inch. No bueno!
So, unless you got all the things from the supply, you have to get out and go to your local hardware store for one little stupid adapter!
Pro(ish)-Tip. Use silicone tape. Wrap it the way the adapter will go on. Since you will twist it clockwise, wrap it that way. It keeps it from bunching up inside.
Add the adapter to the float valve then the hose onto the adapter. And don’t forget the hose washer!!
To hang this to the inside of the tractor, they make these handy dandy J hook pipe hangers!
I thought I was being all awesome, got 2 of them, made it level, feeling all proud of myself.
What’s the phrase, “no plan survives first contact”.
The first time I moved my tractor, all the water sloshed out the end because, guess what, my ground isn’t always level and it will make the waterer unlevel also! Who knew?!?
So, I had to devise a brilliant way to level this joker out. I had a bunch of ideas, most overly complicated. This was the simplest and so far easiest one!
I kept one of the J hooks on but snapped the other J hook off. I looped the rope around the end, tied a loop at the other end, added a d-ring and I’m able to hook it anywhere on the outside, leveling the water from the outside regardless of how the tractor is tilted!
You can see I screwed a 2×4 to the outside so I had a place to hang my bucket. A couple of screws, a small chunk of chain and 2 S-hooks, it’s very secure!
Time to try it out! Fill the bucket with water and turn it on. The run into the tractor and joyfully watch the water come in! Yay!
The float valve has a wing nut so the water level is adjustable. If it gets too high and spills over or it’s not high enough for your animals, loosen the wing nut, lilt it up or down, then tightened it back down. Easy Peasey!
It has worked great this past week! I had to put a piece of wood above it to keep them from climbing on it. The water gets dirty but easy to tilt out and clean. I thought of getting a NEW round toilet brush to scrub it out occasionally.
Turning off the water from the bucket, then moving the tractor has worked out great! Water sloshes during the move but not a lot is wasted.
Only $50! (Not including caulk and screws)
THING I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME!
So, I cut straight from one end to the other like I do with the feeders. It works great on the feeders because I wedge a piece of wood in the ends to widen it a bit to hang it. The mistake here is, when you cut out that piece, it shrinks in, making the end smaller. That’s fine with using the wood but if you are using a cap like we are, it shrinks in so much, there’s nothing for the inside of the cap to glue onto.
NEXT TIME, I figure out how far the cap goes on the pipe, drill a couple of holes and start the trough from where the cap goes to , basically cutting a square out instead of all the way to the ends. I’ll update this to show what I mean later.
I hope this helps! I’ll post the feeder soon also. If you can do this, the feeder is a cinch!