A few posts ago I showed how we put in upgraded PVC feeders for the chickens. Since they've been in we've had a lot less waste: A whole lot less. It is difficult to find feed pellets down in the bedding where before there were lots of them. A week or so ago I added a bit more PVC piping to make mid-week watering easier.
I started with 3" PVC, like the feeders. The pics below show a 3" cleanout, a 3" to 1-1/2" reducer, and a 1-1/2" to 3/4" reducer assembled to make what amounts to a funnel. You can use any combination of reducers to get to whatever size pipe you want to use. Just make sure to test fit them all together in the store before you buy them. I'd recommend 3/4" or 1" rather than 1/2" so you have less worry about it freezing shut.
The next step was to run PVC pipe from the end of the funnel down to the heated dog bowl we use to keep water open and available all the time during the winter months. I used one 45 degree elbow in the middle because that made for an easy location to fasten down the pipe, but I probably could have done a straight shot and been OK. It is fastened to the coop wall midway down and at the funnel with plain 'ol plastic pipe strap and roofing nails.
|The bowls sits up to help keep manure, feathers, and bedding out of it.|
Here you can see what it looks like from the 'vestibule'. I also added a couple of tool holders to the set-up. The rubber hammer is to help get the feed settled down in the mouth of the pipe. It's never been completely stuck, but if it's a bit humid out sometimes it doesn't flow down all the way to the mouth of the pipe (as you see in the above pic) very well. A couple of light wacks with the rubber hammer bring it right down. The litter box scoop is for getting manure of the nesting boxes. A couple of the girls have taking to spending the night there rather than on the perch.
De really likes this arrangement, since she does the chicken chores on the way to work in the morning. She can bring an old gallon milk jug full of water down when she comes to open up the coop, unscrew the cap, pour in the water until the bowl is full, and not have worry getting 'dirty' by going into the coop with the birds. We'll keep everyone updated on any unforeseen problems we run into, but so far it's worked really well. I do still get into the coop on the weekends to clean out the bowl and start with fresh water.