Best Water Container for Chickens - Flowmatic Feeder-DrinkerI am a HUGE fan of the Flowmatic Feeder-Drinker (pictured below) as our preferred water container for the chickens. The last few I have bought have been from ebay for $6.00 each (postage additional). They come in a variety of colours and I have bought new ones as we now use them for the dogs outside water containers and after 6 - 8 years the Flowmatic bowls can get a bit tired looking.
The reason I prefer them is that they are just the base, the vessel that holds the actual water is a plastic soft drink bottle - 1.25 litre size, 2 litre size (depends on how many hens you have), they all seem to fit. I have noticed that Coke have changed their bottles to a flimsy plastic with a tiny neck so I tend to use anything but their bottles now. When the soft drink bottle gets a bit old and dirty, I can opt to throw it out (if I choose not to clean it) and replace it with a brand new one - the old one getting recycled as part of our council's bin collection scheme. The label of the Flowmatic says that a glass, flagon bottle will also fit but I've never had one to try it out.
The other benefit is that I can keep the lid of the soft drink bottle and in the Summer time I fill up the bottle half way with water, put the lid on to avoid spills, freeze it overnight, the next day I remove the cap, top the bottle up with fresh tap water and insert it into the Flowmatic - thereby giving the girls really cold water for hours at a time.
I have also found mini plastic drink bottles which I fill completely with water, freeze and then put in the base (bowl) of the Flowmatic to keep the water chilled. This is a good system if I haven't already organised the main, large soft drink bottle into the freezer the night before - it's also a better option this way if you have a small freezer space.
I clean the Flowmatic bowl with the garden hose on a high and strong spray setting, with the bowl on the ground so I don't get a bath at the same time - it removes the majority of any built up slimy substances within a few seconds. An old toothbrush, brushed around the area where the bottle spout is inserted, finishes the job really nicely - no soap, just water and the brush. It only takes a few minutes to bring it up to near new again. I find I can spray it with the hose every 1 - 2 weeks (usually when I replace or refill the soft drink bottle) and get the brush onto it every 1 to 2 months. A clean handful of wet, grainy sand, rubbed all over the Flowmatic also does a great job at cleaning off the grime - well rinsed off afterwards of course.
In the Summer we keep 2 to 3 Flowmatics in the pen in different locations, so that at all times the hens have access to at least one source of water that is out of the direct sun light and therefore not boiling hot once the ice has melted.
I'm not saying other drinkers are poor but this is the best one I have found so far - cheap, easy to keep clean, large bowl for easy access for the hen (they don't bend their neck awkwardly to the side when taking a drink), stable (we keep ours on flat ground against the fence line and we have never had one tip over) and they last for years and years.
|Flowmatic Feeder-Drinker - available on ebay and many other sites.