A Drown-Proof Waterer
This idea for a waterer that both serves the needs of waterfowl and protects young chickens from drowning appeared as a sidebar in my article “The Homestead Waterfowl Flock” in the June/July 2006 issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine, a great resource for the homestead flock owner.
Waterfowl must have water deep enough to submerge their heads, in order to rinse eyes and nostrils. If waterfowl are kept on the same pasture with growing chickens, however, the chicks can fall into any sort of open waterer and drown. Here is a solution I came up with to drown-proof a waterer deep enough for ducks and geese to submerge their heads.
I cut off the bottom one-third or so of a 5-gallon food grade plastic bucket. (I drilled holes in the bottom so it wouldn’t float when placed in the tub.) I set it in a 6-gallon rubber watering tub, to which I attached a float valve on a supply hose. Watering is automated; the waterfowl are able to dunk their heads; and chicks who fall in are able to scramble up onto the rim or the upturned bucket bottom, rather than floundering around helplessly in an open waterer.