Rabbit Watering System

So as I’m sure you’ve seen with my previous post, we got our rabbits moved to a shady spot under some trees where there is almost always a constant breeze going. Due to the move, we also built the second watering system for the buns. Building these systems helps prevent the need for constant re-filling of often leaky water bottles. Even if you only have one rabbit, or especially if you’ve got a whole colony, this watering system is fantastic! It keeps water cleaner than a crock and the rabbits can’t spill it and render themselves water-less. It also holds enough water that lasts our three main breeders over a week, even in the heat. I have not had the systems set up long enough to tell you how they do in the winter, however I plan on adding ACV to the buckets (slightly more than usual) to help prevent freezing, so hopefully that will work out well!

New bunny setup – notice the orange buckets; those are our waterers
The original post that I used with the instructions to create these systems is here!

I will summarize the process below and let you know how exactly I created my waterers.

It all began with an order of some rabbit watering nipples off of Amazon. They’re fairly cheap, so ordering more is a breeze and I’ve only had one go leaky and need replaced since I made my first waterer.

Once the nipples were ordered, I gathered the tools & supplies.

Tools:
– Drill
– 1/2 inch drill bit
– Plumber’s tape

Supplies:
– 5 gallon bucket with lid
– 3/8″ by 1/4″ clear tubing* (I bought vinyl) – measure the location where you plan to hang your waterer (or sit it) and the distance to each cage you’d like to have watered, this will give you a rough estimate of how much tubing you’ll need
*rabbit nipples say to use 5/16″ tubing, however this diameter tubing may leak, it is difficult to get the 1/4″ tubing onto the barb but this size tubing does not leak; you can use which ever tubing you see fit, but remember if you go with 5/16″ tubing, your brass barb should be 3/8″ by 5/16″
– 1/2″ water tight zinc conduit hub – found in electrical hardware, be sure to get the water tight kind with threading on the larger end! (looks like this)
– 1/2″ by 3/8″ brass hex bushing – attaches to the threaded end of the conduit hub
– 3/8″ by 1/4″ brass barb – attaches to the hex bushing and then the barb goes to the tubing

Process:
1. Drill a hole in the bucket with the 1/2″ drill bit.
2. Screw the un-threaded end of the conduit hub into the hole and tighten with a wrench so that there are no leaks and the threaded end is sticking out of the exterior of the bucket.
3. Wrap the threads of the brass bushing in the plumber’s tape and screw it into the threaded end of the conduit hub.
4. Wrap the threads of the brass barb in the plumber’s tape and screw it into the end of the brass bushing.
5. Boom, your waterer is basically done! Now all you’ve got to do is measure the tubing and attach it to the nipples.
6. So, go ahead, measure out your tubing (decide where you want the nipples on each cage and determine how long your tubing needs to be and how many connectors (red pieces) you’ll need).
7. To more easily connect the tubing to the nipples, run the tubing under very hot water to make it more pliable, then use pliers to help hold the tubing to prevent slipping and attach it to the end of the nipple.
8. Once your tubing is connected to the nipples, connect all of your tubing pieces using the red T-style connectors that came with your nipples – I use the same method of the hot water to connect the tubing to the T-connectors, however you’ve got to be more careful as the connectors are fairly flimsy plastic. I have also had success replacing the T-connectors with more rigid plastic Ts from the hardware store.
9. Once your tubing is all connected in one long piece, attach your nipples to the cages – use the springs provided.
10. After your nipples are hooked to the cages, attach your final piece of tubing to the brass barb that is coming off of your bucket and VOILA, your system is complete!

Fill your bucket and place the lid (loosely) on top. Then, using your finger, allow water to run through the tubing to each nipple by pushing down on the nipple like a rabbit would do if he is drinking. This gets air out of the line and allows water to run through the tubing and to each nipple. Be sure to do this step, as it will tell you if your waterer is hanging/sitting high enough to allow water to reach each cage.

The link above to the original post shows some GREAT photographs of the process, as you well know I’m terrible at taking pictures when I’m in a rush to get something done.

A similar waterer can be created for chickens as well, there are just a different style of chicken nipples that you’ll have to buy – these nipples are mounted via threads onto PVC, so the tubing size would be different, but it’s generally the same concept! 🙂

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