Sunday, March 13, 2016

How I made a glass chicken waterer

Plastic and water.  I do not like the two together. I don't drink commercially bottled water (I have delicious country spring water at my house, so I fill stainless steel bottles and take them with me.) I don't like plastic and water together for my pets (yes, I'm including my chickens in the grouping of pets.)   I was at the mercy of using plastic this winter, having to have a heated water source for the chickens. I made a heated waterer out of a 5 gallon food grade bucket, with a bucket deicer. That's another subject for a blog post.  OH RIGHT, back to not using plastic.  There are galvanized metal chicken waterers on the market.  But since I put apple cider vinegar, and sometimes oregano oil in the chickens' water, I didn't want the metal reacting with these two additions. Such a conundrum for something as simple as a drink of water for a chicken, isn't it! 
Last fall, I fooled around with trying to make a glass waterer, with vertical nipple waterers.  It would have had to involve some kind of elaborate holster, placed at the precise height for chicken comfort, and the nipples tend to drip and make a mess.

This was the one I started last fall. I took one of those large glass dispensers for ice tea, lemonade and such. It would have been flipped upside down, and placed in the holster. There was also the problem of getting a gasket for the lid, to prevent leakage.  I scrapped this idea.
I recently began using my large, commercial plastic chicken waterer again.  After seeing some vintage stoneware waterers, and some small glass waterers that used a quart mason jar, I started designing again.
I already own a Dremel rotary tool, and the diamond bit set.

I purchased the bit set on Amazon, and if you look at the photo, I used the 7th one from the right, the larger round ball. 
 I had this gallon glass jar (from Walmart) that I bought a year or so ago. And, I sacrificed one of my 8 inch glass pie plates. 

The next picture shows where on the jar I drilled the hole. 

The most important thing when drilling glass- don't let it get hot. Slow and steady makes the hole. If it gets hot, it will crack. Drill a bit, stop, and wipe it with a cool wet rag, making sure it's not warm to the touch.  It might have taken me about 10 minutes to get the hole drilled. Glass drilling bits are available on the market, as another option, but I had the Dremel, and the diamond bits, so they are what I used.
 And here I have the final product.


 It is just a bit tricky holding the pie plate on the jar as I turn it over.  Again, slow and steady gets the waterer in place.
I now have a chicken waterer that is completely made of glass. No plastics to leach into the water, no metal to corrode, no epoxy that might also leach into the water. Is it the most convenient way to water chickens? Probably not. Am I recommending that you make one? Only if you feel comfortable drilling glass, and flipping the jar and plate over together. In the end, I'm happy with it, and that is what is important; just sharing my creativity and thought. Cheers, my peeps!

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