Monday, May 27, 2013

I Now Have the Perfect Watering System, thanks to The Chicken Fountain! ~Product Review

I wanted our chicks to never have to drink old stale, hot, poopy water.  I also never wanted to worry that I (or a chicken sitter) might forget to check their water container and let them run out, especially in the hot summer months.  So before I even brought home my first chicken I did some research on the internet (what did we do before the internet?).  I talked to other chicken keepers about what watering system they used, I've read every blog post I could find about chicken waterers, and I've studied the products they suggested.  Somewhere during my search I read a review on The Chicken Fountain.  I wish I could remember which blog I first read this on to give them credit, but I read several and now can't remember which was that first to tell me about the Chicken Fountain.

When I first read about it I said to myself, "Now that would resolve all of my concerns right there!" So I googled "Chicken Fountain" and not only found the company but other reviews for this product.  After reading as much as I could about the Chicken Fountain I decided it was the product for me and my chickens.  I ordered one, even before I had the chicken run built or owned a single chicken. I ordered the Standard Size that is designed for use by 4-16 birds, but they also have a mini and a mega size as well.

It arrived a few days before we got our first chickens.  I read through the instructions and thought my husband would have no problem installing this for me.  But as it turned out, he was stuck on a job the first day the new chicks were home so he wasn't going to be able to install the Chicken Fountain for me.  So either they were going to have to wait or I was going to have to build and install this thing myself. Now keep in mind that my husband is a retired mechanic and a general contractor...and I am not!  But the instructions made it look so simple that I thought I had to at least give it a try.  The manufacturer had very detailed instructions and everything I would need was included with the fountain, including the PVC glue! All I needed was a hammer, tape measure, level, and maybe a screw driver.  What I lack in mechanical skills, I make up for in over-confidence with a new challenge...maybe not always a good thing.

I was able to assemble the (mostly pre-assembled) Chicken Fountain in a matter of minutes. The installation took a little longer because the hubby asked me to not mount anything on the cement siding board on the side of the house (which serves as one wall of the chicken run). But that was the only location that would have sun for about an hour in the morning then shade the entire rest of the day.  It was the perfect location for the Chicken Fountain!  'Creative" is practically my middle name, so I decided to mount the Chicken Fountain to a piece of plywood, then stand the plywood up against the side of the house. I found some old closet rod supports that made great "L" brackets for the bottom to hold the plywood upright so it could be freestanding and therefore portable if I ever wanted to move the fountain to a new location.

I had some trouble getting the nails provided with the fountain to penetrate the old, dried piece of plywood.  One wouldn't go in and the next one bent on me, Grr!  I do happen to own my own power drill so I grabbed it and a few screws the same size as the nails and screwed the "J" brackets (that hold the Chicken Fountain) to the plywood.  Then I attached the hose and turned on the water.  In my excitement to test the fountain I forgot the instruction that said to turn the water on 'Very Slowly" when first filling the fountain, so the cap went flying up in the air.  It was quite funny actually, even though me and the chicks were the only ones around to see it. I went and put it back in place and then turned the water back on -slowly this time.  I had to make a minor adjustment to the internal water level screw (instructions were included about how to make this easy adjustment) and moments later I had a fully functioning Chicken Fountain!  

My only problem now was that I mounted the fountain at a height to accommodate adult chickens.  Mine were only 3-1/2 weeks old so they were not even close to the nipples.  I needed to either lower the fountain temporarily or raise the ground.  So I placed some large rocks under the fountain ends, topped those with scraps of plywood, then piled on some gravel until the 'mountain' was just the right height for the baby chicks to walk up on and reach the nipples.  I figure that as they get a little older I will just gradually knock some of the gravel down then remove the plywood and big rocks underneath by the time they are adults.  In the future if I have babies I can make a new 'gravel mountain' at one end just for them.

My Gravel Mountain to get the chicks up to the fountain nipples.
Now it was time to get the baby chicks to use the fountain.  Since I did not have adult chickens to show them how to drink, I had to do it myself.  At first I used the supplied rubber-band to hold one nipple open to run a little stream of water to get their attention.  It seemed to only scare them.  I worried about them getting too thirsty so I placed a bowl under the stream to give them water to drink until they learned to use the nipples. Mistake!  They would look at the water dripping, but drink from the bowl instead.  So I took away the bowl and placed each chick at the water fountain one-by-one so they could see it and walk away if they chose to.  But at least now they would know where the water was if they got thirsty.

Very shortly one of the Barred Rocks (who I think might be a Roo by the way) walked to the fountain, pecked at the red nipple, got some water on her/his beak and began pecking and drinking more.  Within moments the others were so curious that they each came up my gravel mountains and pecked at the nipples as well.  That was all the training they needed.  They've been using the Chicken Fountain exclusively ever since.  I'm happy, and they seem to be happy as well.

Here are the baby chicks using the fountain.  This was taken on day one!  (In this video you will see my PVC feeder [see the DIY instructions here] mounted on the front of the Chicken Fountain...I thought it best to keep food and water close together.  That may change as they get older.)

If you don't like the idea of your chickens drinking poopy water, or you're tired of the chore of cleaning and refilling your water containers all too often, then you should seriously consider the Chicken Fountain.  It works exactly like it's suppose to and even has a special port at the top to add ACV (apple cider vinegar) or other medications.  The size that I got holds 1-1/2 gallons of water so you add the medication or ACV for that quantity of water, shut off the water so as they drink it, it will not be further diluted.  Then just monitor the water level until the medication has all been consumed.  Then turn the water back on (slowly) and they get fresh water again.

The company has Awesome customer support (replies to your emails really fast), and they include everything you need in the box.  I even sent them feedback about their product with some issues that I ran into (because of my own lack of mechanical skills) and they not only took the feedback in a positive way, they used it to improve their already great instructions for future customers, who like me, might need a little extra explanation.  I highly recommend the Chicken Fountain!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this product review.  I was not given a product to test and review.  I simply bought a great product that I wanted to share with other chicken keepers.

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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Did this post stir something inside of you? If so, Please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you're thinking!!!