Automatic Chicken Waterers: What To Know Before Buying

Chickens have to have cool, fresh water so a reliable waterer is essential to have.

There are several types of automatic chicken waterers and it is easy to get confused by all the choices. You have chicken cups, fully automatic systems and hanging semi-automatic systems.

Understanding the difference between them will help you pick the best waterer for your flock.

In this article we will explain the difference between these chicken waterers and help you figure out which is the best one for your flock.

We have also picked our five favorite automatic chicken waterers and will discuss the pros and cons of each one…

Best Automatic Chicken Waterers

Editor’s Picks Brand Our Rating
Best Ready Made RentACoop 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer 4.2
Automatic Trough Waterer Premier Automatic Waterer for Chickens 3.8
Best Cups RentACoop Automatic Chicken Waterer 4.5
Best Hanging Water RentACoop Hanging Automatic Fill Waterer 4.0

Best Ready Made: RentACoop 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer

RentACoop 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer

RentACoop 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer

This waterer is perfect for anyone looking for a pre-built waterer that is simple to set up and use.

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The RentACoop 5 Gallon Automatic Chicken Waterer is perfect for people looking for a ready made system. This is a free standing unit that comes with 4 water cups already attached. The cups work like tippy cups and when they are empty they dip down and refill. This is a semi-automatic waterer with a 5 gallon reservoir.


  • Each of the cups and tank is made from BPA free plastic.
  • 5 gallon capacity so it is suitable for a flock of up to 12 chickens.
  • Comes with a no perch lid to keep waterer clean.
  • The cups are large cups so can be used by larger breeds.
  • Waterer holes are interchangeable with nipples if you desire.


  • Bucket cannot be placed directly on the ground.
  • You cannot use the handle to hang the waterer.
  • Thin plastic so not suitable for colder climates.

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Automatic Trough Waterer: Premier Automatic Waterer for Chickens

Premier Automatic Waterer for Chickens

Premier Automatic Waterer for Chickens

This automatic trough waterer is perfect for anyone looking for a simple and easy to use waterer.

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The Premier Automatic Waterer for Chickens is an automatic watering trough. The trough simply attaches to a hose, which in turn is attached to a regular hose pipe which gives a continuous water feed. If you are looking for a truly automatic trough waterer then this is the best option for you. This particular waterer has a clever plastic guard which helps to stop mud from getting into the water too.


  • A simple no mess automatic trough drinker.
  • Large access holes on each side of the waterer.
  • Provides a clean and continuous water feed.
  • Detailed and simple instructions come with the unit.
  • Easy to clean built-in drain.


  • Not suitable for really cold climates.
  • The float valve can sometimes fail and cause problems.

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Best Cups: RentACoop Automatic Chicken Waterer

RentACoop Automatic Chicken Waterer

RentACoop Automatic Chicken Waterer

This kit is perfect for those who want to make an automatic chicken waterer using cups.

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The RentACoop Automatic Chicken Waterer is a cup style waterer. Each cup will need to be screwed and fitted to a bucket. These cups are self-filling and your chickens do not have to peck anything to get water. Each kit contains six cups so they are suitable for around 18 chickens. Overall this is a great product that is very reasonably priced too.


  • Very simple and easy to install.
  • Will keep the water fresh and clean.
  • Good customer service.
  • Made in the USA.


  • Not very durable with larger hens.
  • They leak badly if they are knocked.
  • The cups are difficult to clean.

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Best Hanging Water: RentACoop Hanging Automatic Fill Waterer

RentACoop Hanging Automatic Fill Waterer

RentACoop Hanging Automatic Fill Waterer

This automatic waterer is best suited for those looking for an affordable hanging waterer.

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Finally we have the RentACoop Hanging Automatic Fill Waterer. This is a good pick for anyone looking for a waterer that you can hang up. It holds 32 oz of water which makes it suitable for a chick brooder. You can also use this waterer if you are travelling with your chickens.


  • Cups and bucket made from BPA free plastic.
  • Comes with easy clips to fit waterer to cage wire.
  • Very reasonable price.


  • Sometimes the bracket does not fit cage.
  • They will leak if the cups are knocked.
  • Waterer needs to be removed from the cage to clean it.

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What To Know Before Buying An Automatic Chicken Waterer

Automatic Poultry Water

The main things to consider before buying your automatic waterer are capacity of the reservoir and the number of chickens in your flock.

It would not make much sense to get a waterer that holds a gallon of water for a flock of twenty birds – unless you like filling it up several times per day! If you can afford it then you should try to buy a waterer that has a larger capacity than you need.

A flock of six chickens will drink around 1.5 gallons of water a day so a 5 gallon waterer would be ideal for them.

Also if you can then buy at least 2 waterers, this way if one breaks they will still have access to water.

Not drinking water is one of the quickest ways to make them stop laying egging eggs.

Another key thing to consider is your climate.

If you are buying plastic waterers then the severe cold will make some plastics very brittle. Extreme heat does the same thing and the sunshine will also cause the plastic to degrade over time.

Try to keep your plastic feeders and waterers away from extremes of temperature.

If you can get a waterer that has a substantial hanging strap then they are the best, in my opinion. You can hang them high enough to prevent most debris from being kicked into the water too.

Finally, your waterer will need cleaning regularly so buy something that is easy to clean. If it is difficult to clean or there are areas that you cannot clean then consider another product. Algae and bacteria will grow quickly in the warmer months and may cause your chickens to become sick.

Types Of Automatic Waterers

Automatic Waterer

Chicken Water Cups

The cups can be considered an accessory. They will attach to the overall system you make whether this is a bucket or a more advanced hose system.

There are two types of cup: the float valve type and the peck type.

The peck type requires the chicken to peck on a small lever to release water and fill the cup. This can work well if your chickens start out with this however it is hard to train older birds how to do this. The no peck or float valve relies on a lever that slowly lowers when the water is drunk. When the level is low enough, the water hole opens and water pours in filling the cup and raising the lever until it shuts off.

You can learn more about chicken water cups here.

Fully Automatic System

Automatic chicken waterers that can attach to a hosepipe are truly automatic.

These are generally watering troughs that are connected to a water supply. They have a float valve inside the reservoir that will fill automatically as the water level decreases.

This means there is not much need for human intervention on a daily basis.

These troughs are best used in situations where there is little dust or debris to kick up into the trough.

Hanging Semi-Automatic System

This style of waterer will have a reservoir that you will need to keep an eye on and top up when necessary.

How frequently you need to refill it will depend on how much water it holds and how many chickens you have. Old fashioned hanging waterers like this are hard to beat for simplicity and practicality. You can even buy this type with a heated base to use during the winter – in the midst of a snowy, cold winter they are a blessing.

Needless to say, all of these systems will need to be cleaned regularly to prevent biofilm and bacteria from accumulating.

If you are looking for other types of chicken waterers read our complete guide.

All About Chickens And Water

Automatic Chicken Waterer

Water is essential to all living things and without it we die.

If chickens are water deprived for even a few hours then they may stop laying eggs for a while.

How much water do they need each day?

The exact amount depends on a few things (breed, climate, temperature) however if you average a pint for each hen you should be safe. During the summertime this number may increase to 2 pints of water daily.

How many waterers you need will depend on the size of your waterer and number of hens that you have.

A flock of six hens will drink around 1½ gallons of water each day. So your waterers should hold at least a couple of gallons. A small flock of six hens should be just fine with one waterer, in fact you can probably allow eight hens to one waterer.

If you need a second waterer you should place it away from the primary one so that the shyer members of the flock can drink in peace.

You should also always place your waterers in the shade to try to keep the water cool. Birds do not like room temperature water any more than you do. Try to keep it away from areas where they may be scratching and digging too.

Once the waterer is in place and ready to use, introducing your flock to it should be a fairly smooth event.

Simply dip their beaks into the water.

The cup waterers are generally red in color too so they attract attention from the chickens. Just dip their beaks and leave them to it.

Unless you have the peck cups you should not have any problems. If you do have the peck waterers, you will need to leave a second waterer in the pen until they get the hang of the new one.

Just remember that all of your watering equipment should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week during the winter months and at least every other day in the summer months.

It really does not take long for biofilm and bacteria to build up into epic proportions making the cups and inside of the waterer slimy. All sorts of bacteria like to grow in this slime and if you leave it in place for a few days you will see green algae start to form.

If you are using cups then they should really be cleaning daily to remove any debris.

Should You Get An Automatic Chicken Waterer?

Chicken Culture Automatic Chicken Waterer Kit

Chicken Culture Automatic Chicken Waterer Kit

Overall this product is best suited for people looking for a ready to go kit.

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Hopefully after reading this article you should be able to find an automatic poultry waterer to suit your flock.

Always shop around to see if you can get a better price or a more suitable product. And make sure to read the reviews, they can be very helpful in making up your mind.

Take you time in finding the right product to suit you and the needs of your flock for several years to come.

Once you have your automatic waterer you could consider getting an automatic chicken feeder.

Do you have any questions about automatic chicken waterers? Let us know in the comments section below…

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Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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