Do you and your family drink soda or other bottled drinks? If so, what do you do with the empty two liter bottles? Recycling and repurposing bottles is a popular choice, but there are more ways to do so than taking them down to the nearest recycling center or out to the curb should curbside service be available in your area. Believe it or not, used plastic bottles can serve a purpose in your coop.
There are a lot of different chicken waterers on the market these days. A widely seen option is a waterer that rests on the ground. This is easily accessible for chickens but is also easily contaminated. Since it is at ground level, bedding, dirt, and many other unsavory things that can be harmful to your chickens are able to make their way into such watereres. In addition to making a big mess, they also amount to more work for you, and more time spent contending with dirty waterers means less time that can be spent on other projects you may wish to tackle.
To make watering your chickens easier and to keep their water source cleaner at the same time, start by cleaning out your used drink bottles. This needs to be thorough but you do not want to wind up with soapy residue, so a few good hard blasts with hot water and a small amount of mild soap should do the trick. Be sure to rinse until the water runs clear and there are no soap bubbles.
Once your bottle is clean, it will be necessary to poke a hole in the bottom. This hole does not need to be anything special in terms of a particular shape, so you can use just about anything to create it. You can puncture the bottle with a knife or some scissors, but whichever method you use, do so carefully to avoid injuring yourself. If you wish, you could also use a drill bit to create the hole for the bottom of the bottle. The reason for this hole is to allow free flow of water. If you do not have a hole in the bottom, a vacuum will be created and the water will not be accessible to your chickens or the bottle will collapse inward upon itself and need to be replaced. Although poking a hole in the bottom of a waterer might make you leary, just remember that when you hang the bottle in place, the bottom of it will become the top.
The next step is to drill a hole into the lid of your bottle. To do this, you will need an 11/32 drill bit because that is the size that corresponds with chicken nipples. Once the hole is drilled, dispose of any loose plastic pieces and screw a chicken nipple into the hole. The chicken nipple should fit snuggly as long as the right size drill bit was used and leakage should not be a problem.
Fill your bottle with water, being careful to plug the hole in the bottom with a finger while you fill. Once the bottle is full, screw the cap on and flip it upside down. Hang it at chicken level for an easy to access, clean source of water. Be sure to show your chickens how to work the nipples should they have never been exposed to them. Hang as many bottles as you wish in various areas around your property and in your coop to provide a constant source of clean, plentiful water for all.