Automatic Watering – Gonzalo Banuelos

Jun 16, 2011 by Gonzalo

Do your heart belongs to gaming? Remove any doubt and play in beste online casino. You are worth winning! One of the most time consuming chores in the day to day routine of maintaining a loft of pigeons is cleaning out and refilling the water containers. Pigeons are particularly careless of where they decide they want to evacuate their bowels, and more often than not will find the easiest target to be the same fountain or drinker that they just drank from. It’s typical to see that a large concentration of the droppings in a loft are near the water drinkers. Why that is, I can’t even begin to speculate. Regardless, providing your pigeons with clean water is very important. All kinds of bacteria and pathogens are passed through droppings that are then consumed again by other birds when they drink the soiled water. To reduce or eliminate this risk, always have a ready supply of clean water for your birds.

I previously used bullet style drinkers for my birds. As good as they are in preventing it, I would still find droppings in the water. Every morning I would pull out all of the drinkers and line them up then hose them down clean. I’d fill them all up again and place them back in their locations, only to repeat the process the following day. With five kit boxes and three separate cages, this process would take up to twenty minutes a day. Go to our website and get online roulette uk. Hurry up to go and start winning.

So, to speed up my morning chores and spend more time handling and flying my birds, I started to look around for a solution that would be almost, if not completely hands free and automatic. I found the right tool for the job in the form of an automatic drinker produced by Kuhl Corporation and available through Jedds Online.

I’ll explain the set-up with some diagrams. There are two ways you can set up an automatic water system; you can either use a reservoir which you have to refill, or you can use a reservoir that is hooked in directly to your main water supply. The first requires regular refilling and maintenance while the second requires practically none.

The physics behind this solution is simply to use gravity to feed all of your birds a constant supply of water, at low pressure. Street pressure in most Unites States cities is about 70PSI (pounds per square inch). We want to get this pressure down to at most 6PSI. There are valves that accomplish this, but they are only available through specialty plumbing suppliers, are expensive and sometimes do not lower the pressure as advertised. With the following system, you’ll be out $20 as opposed to the $80 or so for a valve. As an added benefit, you can mix in medications in the reservoir, then flush them out when you are done administering them, something you cannot do when you use a valve to reduce the pressure.

Reservoir Only System

A reservoir system is essentially a tank of water that you fill up from time to time, depending on the number of birds you have and the size of the tank. When looking for a suitable tank go to the local hardware store and go into their storage systems area. There you will find plastic bins which hold roughly five gallons. Depending on where you will place the bin (reservoir), be careful when choosing clear versus opaque plastic. Clear is great when the reservoir will be kept out of the sunlight as it allows you to quickly see how the water is holding up inside. That is the type I currently use. It is important to make sure that the bin has straight sides, not rounded. Also, make sure the lid can be locked down, or snapped on. You don’t want the lid to pop open on a hot day and expose the reservoir of water to the elements or to dust.

The reservoir needs an outlet from which the piping to your loft begins. To make this outlet, get a 5/8″ spade drill bit and slowly make the hole on the side, as close to the base of the bin as possible. Do not try to make the hole too fast or you will crack the plastic around the hole and you’ll lose any chance of making a water tight seal.

With the hole made, take a piece of 1/2″ pvc pipe that is about 1″ inch long. Using pvc glue and primer, attach a standard 1/2″ pvc coupling (which is just meant to attach two lengths of pvc, end to end) to the 1″ pipe. Now that you have the coupling with the 1″ pvc pipe glued in, add some waterproof caulking to both sides of the hole, near the rim. This caulking is usually silicon based and will cure to create a watertight seal. Pass the pipe through the hole you’ve made while the caulking is still fresh. From the other side of the hole, glue another coupling to the other end of the 1″ pipe, which at this point should only be protruding about 1/2″. Tighten them into each other as tight as possible. The idea is to make a hole in the bin that is water tight all around, except for the whole itself. Let this cure for a few hours. The caulking should be hard and dry before you try to add water.

With the outlet made, you can start piping the supply of gravity pressured water to whatever compartment you want. There are many different types of potable-water piping systems available. You can use rigid pipes, steel pipes, or even tubing. I use pvc pipe throughout my loft since it is easy to install and it won’t bind or pinch like tubing will. Be careful to consider how cold the climate might get in your area and insulate the pipes appropriately. In Austin, we see a few freezing days per year. Luckily, all of my pipes are well inside my loft so they are unaffected. If you have to expose your pipes to the elements, remember to sheath them in foam pipe insulation to prevent them from cracking during a freeze.

To let gravity do the job, you necessarily must have all piping that comes from the reservoir to the drinkers below the level of the base of the reservoir. I recommend at minimum a 6″ drop. In my main cage in Austin, the drinkers sit at least three feet below the reservoir.

Add cut off valves where ever you anticipate you may need them. I have several. I have a cut off valve from the main to an in-line water purifier. One sits between the purifier and the entrance to the reservoir. Another sits just outside the output of the reservoir. And, I have several sprinkled between the segments of pipes leading to all of the drinkers. I do this for several reasons. First, you want to be able to debug the system when things don’t seem to be working right. Also, you can quickly eliminate air from the system with valves by the suction created when the water is cut off then restarted from those points. Lastly, in case a pipe breaks, you can shut off the system in parts and replace the broken parts.

Reservoir With Water Main Connection

A reservoir with a water main connection is almost identical to the reservoir system alone. The one notable exception is the addition of a “in” line. This line is a direct connection to your main water supply. You will need to drill an additional hole close to the top of the tank using the same method for creating a tap near the bottom.
The hole near the top will be where water will come in from your water main, regulated by a float valve. The float valve is also available from Jedds Online.

The float valve works exactly like your toilet tank’s valve. It stops the water from filling the tank once the air-filled floater is raised enough. This prevents the tanks from over-filling and spilling out. This is the work you would have manually done had you gone the simple route and just filled the reservoir when needed. For some applications this is fine since it may be unreasonable or unfeasible to take the water main out to your cages. In my old loft in Seattle, I would fill the reservoir about once every two weeks. Five gallons goes a long way when the most they pull out through the drinker is just enough for a quick drink. Nothing is wasted.

Hints And Recommendations

The drinkers are a great convenience for me and there are some things you will want to keep in mind when placing them in the cages.

First, keep the drinkers high off the ground from which the birds will stand to drink. The reason for this is that you don’t want your birds to take a drink, then turn around and soil the cup. Keeping the cup high, at least higher than a typical pigeon’s rear end, will help ensure that you don’t have to clean the cup of droppings. It may still happen, but not with the frequency that not having placed them up high would incur.

Second, keep a cover on the cup. I achieve this by putting a perch right above the cup, about two inches above the rim of the cup. I do this to keep birds from soiling the cup from above.

Lastly, install an in-line water filter/purifier. Do this to prevent hard water from clogging up the cups. It is rare, but it does happen.

Once your system is up and running, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Eliminating the chore of cleaning and filling up water containers will free up time that is best used to manage the birds. Don’t be intimidated by the proces. It is definitely not rocket science but it does take some perserverance to make it work. Good luck and if you have any questions, you may email me anytime.

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5 Comments

  1. avatar

    Ever since I wrote this article, I have made some modifications on this system. The biggest one is to use a standard toilet float valve that mounts from the floor of the reservoir. This type of valve is intended to be used this way. It has seals to prevent leakage.

    Also, very important, use a filter if you can. There are some very cheap models out there, as low as $30. This will prevent a whole lot of dirt from reaching your birds. Hope that helps!

  2. avatar

    The cups that I used for this system are from Kuhl Corporation. Jedds sells them. Here is a link to the item from the company:

    http://www.kuhlcorp.com/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=51J9903963&rnd=826630&rrc=N&affl=&cip=&act=&aff=&pg=prod&ref=300&cat=&catstr=

  3. avatar
    bobscott

    GONZALO
    I HAD THOUGHT ABOUT PUTTING IN AN AUTOMATIC WATERING SYSTEM FOR SOME TIME BUT WAS UNSURE HOW TO DO IT.YOUR ARTICLE SIMPLIFIED IT FOR ME AND I NOW HAVE A GRAVITY FEED TYPE SYSTEM.IT SAVES A LOT OF TIME AND WATER.I HAVE 16 INDIVIDUAL BREEDING CAGES IN MY LOFT AND ONCE A WEEK I ADD ABOUT 5 GALLONS. I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY GALLONS OF WATER I WASTED EACH DAY CHANGING THE WATER BUT EVENTUALLY I’LL RECOUP MY $125.00 SPENT ON THE CUPS ETC.THE TIME SAVING ASPECT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS BUT ANOTHER BENEFIT FOR ME IS I CLEAN EACH CUP DAILY WITH A Q TIP DIPPED IN CIDER VINEGAR
    TO HELP REDUCE POTENTIAL INFECTIONS.
    THANK YOU

    • avatar

      I’m glad I was able to inspire you! I always thought the time saving was the best aspect of this system. If nothing else, it lets you spend more time with the birds.

  4. avatar
    dwhite3605

    Gonzalo, Happy Holidays to you and your family. Can this watering system be used for multiple levels and are the cups used auto-fill and shut off?

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