Building a Rain Barrel Water Tower for the Chicken Coup

I was given this old barrel that originally stored non-toxic antifreeze. My plan was to build a Whizbang chicken plucker, but buying a small backyard chicken plucker turned out to be nearly the same price as buying all the hardware needed to build my own. (It might be worth it if you already have all the parts on hand)

So what to do with the barrel?

I have automatic feeders and I have automatic waterers for my chickens, but the current waterers leak everywhere and I have a garden hose running across my backyard to the coup. Its time to reengineer the poultry watering system. It would be a good start to have a water source at the coup. A rain barrel is just what I need.

No plans needed!

Just need it up high enough to let gravity do the work.

That should be about right. Now we need to add the spigot

I had to cut off the cover in order to access the inside and install the spigot and give the inside a good washing. Now how to reattach the cover?

Mistakes were made, but its finally back on securely.

Now to place it behind the chicken coup. Its in just the right spot to catch the rain once I install the gutter.

Hmm, that looks a little dangerous. Better add a safety rope to keep it from tipping over and crushing someone.

Lets’ secure the bottom as well…

Ok now let’s do some plumbing.
I have a few scraps of piping left over from a different project, but it will do fine. Maybe I should buy the correct kind of elbow? Nah.

Looking good!

Water was flowing out both sides, so I had to plug up this hole until I get to the hardware store for the correct elbow.

That’s a good start!
Ok, let’s lets connect up the new chicken waterers.

Two buckets hooked up. Each bucket has a float valve and watering cups. The rain barrel is high enough for the water to flow downstream and refill the buckets when the float valves open.

I put a rock inside the bucket as a counter weight to the float.

My goal is to be able to go away for a few days without worrying about the chicken’s water. I’m using Grandfather’s Feeders for automatic feeding which hold 40lbs of food and work great. But water had always been an issue.

Previously I was using the 6 gallon buckets shown in the photo below. There is a float on the bottom that is supposed to slowly let out the water, but they only worked correctly if the buckets were perfectly level and often the water would slowly drip out the side after only a day or two. I tried hanging the buckets, but then the chickens knocked them around and splashed the water out. I also tried modifying the buckets to use a float valve on top connected to the hose, but that just lead to them continually refilling and causing an even bigger mess. The chickens would also poop in the trough causing the water to get completely dirty.

I’m really happy with how this came out. Now I have non-spilling waterers and 50 gallons of reserve water that will automatically refill itself when it rains (or I could fill up from the garden hose if there’s no rain). My next step will be to make covers for the water buckets to keep the leaves and mosquitos out.

Success! The poults like it!

Hatching Aquasaurs

Triops aka “Aquasaurs” are small prehistoric creatures that can remain in suspended animation for a long time. They hatch out once they get wet and grow quickly. In that way they are like sea monkeys, but they grow much much bigger.

Here is a video taken on 2020-03-24. The Triops have hatched out and they were finally big enough to see:

Here they are four days later:

And finally here they are today, just eight days from the first video. They are getting huge!

New Garden

The coronavirus quarantine has given us lot more time in the backyard this week. The weather is beautiful, so we’ve begun working on a new garden.

Last year we built our first tiered garden and it worked out great. So this year we’ve decided build a second tiered garden to mirror the first.

We are hoping to grow a lot more of our own food this year. We especially love making pickles so we need twice as much space for cucumbers!

After measuring out the space for the new garden, we began to cut sod. We put the sod squares into the Turkey run as last year’s turkeys turned the run into a mud pit.

I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft and all I can think about is how quick cutting this sod would go in the game. LOL!

Once the garden area is cleared we hope to have the wood needed to edge the garden delivered as we continue to reduce our exposure to coronavirus.

Jar Aquarium – Mystery Of The Rising Water Solved

Since setting up the jar aquarium two weeks ago the water level in the jar has been rising. I removed water multiple times to lower it back but it kept overflowing which had me very befuddled last week. I even marked the neck of the bottle with the height of the water at different times of the day. The water does go up when the sun warms the bottle, but it does not return to the starting point the next morning. It slowly continues to rise.

But I think I finally figured out the cause. Can you see it in the image below?

Bubbles. There is a large amount of gas trapped beneath the mud. These bubbles are created during the process that is breaking down the decaying plant life within the muck. The process probably goes faster when the sun hits warms the muck.

In the image above you can also see the tunnels that the worms have been making in the mud. I haven’t been able to capture a good photo of them.

I gave the bottle a good jolt and tons of bubbles streamed to the surface. Releasing the built up gas lowered the water level nearly back to its starting point.

Jar Aquarium – One Week Update

After one week the water in the jar aquarium has cleared up and now you can see everything that happens with the jar. Which isn’t much. The tiny insects that were swimming around the top of the jar seemed to have died off. There is still one worm that I suspect is really a leech.

It remains to be seen if the plants will continue to grow. Some of them are starting to look a little brown.

But despite lack of life, the jar aquarium does still have something I’ve been watching daily. There’s a mystery to the jar that I’m trying to solve. The water level keeps rising.

At first I thought it was just heat expansion. The jar does get some direct sun. But the water doesn’t seem to move much during the day. After reducing the water back down to its original levels three times and then finding that the water had again risen to the top of the jar I’m not sure what is going on.

We all know about the Conservation of Mass right? Matter cannot be created or destroyed it just changes form. I expected some movement due to heat expansion, but I thought it would go up and down with the temperature. I also expected all the plants and dead stuff in the mud to create methane and other gases that would bubble up. So far, no gas bubbles, but the water keeps rising. Something within the jar is increasing in volume. Could it really be just the water heating up?

What do you think? Put your ideas in the comments!

Update: Mystery Of The Rising Water Solved?