After running broilers in our Salatin-style chicken tractors for one season, we decided to upgrade watering systems. Last year (our first year raising broiler chickens), we used Salatin’s book, Pastured Poultry Profits, as our guide. Our watering system last year was awful. We used the 5 gallon galvanized waterers suspended on a chain. This was heavy and awkward. It was time consuming. We will never do this again!

We run Salatin-style chicken tractors.

We run Salatin-style chicken tractors.

After doing a bit more research we learned that Salatin uses the Plasson Bell Waterer. This may have been in the book, but I don’t think it was. Either way, the Plasson Bell Waterer is a massive step forward for us. This gravity-fed system can be attached to a 5-gallon bucket as a reservoir. It doesn’t need to be removed each watering. We can just tip it to clean it out. To replenish the water, we only have to refill the 5-gallon bucket, which sits on the top of the chicken tractor. The entire process is so much easier. If you are running the Salatin-style chicken tractors, I highly recommend this product.

There is not a great “how to” with this waterer, so I thought I would provide a step-by-step for anyone who may need one.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_01

All the parts from the box.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_02

The hanger rod screws onto the ballast bottle. This photo shows the parts from two waterers just to show the parts assembled and unassembled. The ballast bottle is filled with water to keep the waterer properly positioned.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_03

The waterer mechanism attaches to the bell; just insert and spin to click/lock in place on the bell.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_04

The ballast bottle (with attached hanger rod) and the red bell (with attached waterer mechanism).

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_05

Just put the bell over the ballast. The hanger rod top extends up past the bell.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_06

Attach the handle hook to the hanger rod.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_07

To attach a 5-gallon bucket to the waterer system, we need to perform some DIY work. Drill a hole in the 5-gallon bucket just a bit smaller than the diameter of the hose.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_08

Use a pair of needle-nosed pliers as needed to pull the hose through the hole about 2 inches.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_09

On the waterer side of the hose, attach the union unit; just push it into the hose.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_10

Here is the union attached to the hose.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_11

Attach the union to the watering mechanism by screwing it on.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_12

Then attach the hose to the hose lock (the center clip on the handle hook.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_13

Tie the string to the cord adjuster.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_18

Wrap the string TWICE around the hook end of the cord adjustor. This lets you adjust the waterer down and up (right and left photo).

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_19

I tied a loop into the string. Then the cord adjustor lets me raise or lower the height of the waterer.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_20

The whole unit assembled and attached to the 5-gallon bucket.

BK_plasson_bell_waterer_21b

We have water! As the water fills the bell, the bell drops (due to gravity and the weight of the water), and the water flow is shut off. This is a simple and effective design!

 

Subscribe to TCPermaculture.com and receive updates whenever a new article is posted!