I love chickens. Having raised chickens most of my life I find a natural affinity to them, but if there's one thing I desperately try to get out of, it's cleaning most everything in their coop. Especially the water dishes.
Most watering systems are the same. You fill it up at the top and it empties out into a tray, leaving plenty of places for dirt, scat, and everything else to deposit. The clean up process usually takes a thorough rinsing and some hand time on the less than desirable byproducts of chicken keeping.
Cheery Chicks sent me one of their waterers some months ago. I believe in thoroughly testing a product before doing a review, so I have actively tested this system for two months and I'm impressed. Hanging from a squared PVC tripod, the process of putting it together was as simple as it comes. A few elbow joints and a chain and you're ready for hassle free chicken watering.
I have the 3.5 gallon version and a coop with not a lot of overhead room, so hanging the water bucket at 28 lbs was not the simplest task. It eliminates little hands from helping, but it's a fair trade-off considering they no longer have to wade through scat. The lid comes with a garden hose attachment so if your coop is close to a hose it's a moot point. There is also an easy access port on the lid, meaning you can provide additives to the water easily if you need to without having to take down the system.
For the first week, I left the old tray watering system in place. With that present the chickens seemed to avoid the setup altogether. I wanted to see if it was natural to chicken behavior to drink from an overhead system, and in the case of my chickens it was not.
After the first week, I removed the tray and used the Cheery Chicks Chicken Kooler as my primary watering source. I have a lot of natural water sources so in order to get them to drink from it I confined them for a few hours. The promise of 30 seconds for the chickens to figure it out was not apt, but it may have been due to the constant water sources available on my property. In fact, it took them several weeks to make a discernible difference to the water level. After having figured it out they seem to prefer it. The rest is history.
I have a clean and easy watering system and the trays have been moved out. This model is a steal at just $42.88. If you're looking for a system to minimize the time spent cleaning the coop that also simplifies the watering process, check out Cheery Chicks Chicken Waterers.