The Best Duck Waterers for your Flock

The best duck waterers for your flock depend on where they are at in their growth cycle.  A waterer that is perfect for ducklings in a brooder is different than the waterer you want to be set up for mature adult birds.  Match the waterer to their age for the best success.

Duck Waterer Recommendations

Build a water system that maximizes clean-up when baby ducks are in a brooder.  Then set up a waterer that allows juvenile and mature birds to completely dunk their heads when drinking.  That is the best duck water advice I can give.  There is a lot of latitudes you can take from there, but here are some suggestions and examples of adequate watering systems for ducks.

Raising ducks is relatively simple.  They need water, food, and a little space that is protected from predators.  Here’s what you need to know about their watering needs as ducklings and adult mature birds.


The most important aspect of a waterer for a duckling is that they can get their mouth in the water, but not soak their body.  Baby ducklings without a mother can get wet and die of hypothermia.

Secondly, baby ducks and ducks in general are very messy eaters and get water all over the place. Duckling feed is crumbly and when they mix with water they make a big mess every day.

Every duck from the day they are born will get food in their mouth, go to its water source, mix water and food, and repeat over and over.  This process causes a lot of water to be spilled.

If you do not have a trap bucket to collect the spilled water your brooder will get very soaked, messy, and smelly.  A 1/4″ hardwire screen secured over a bucket or paint rolling tray is sufficient to catch the water spillage for the day.

best duckling waterer system

Alternative Duckling Waterer

This is the method that we chose to make our own waterer for the ducklings when they are in the brooder.  Same setup with a screen over  Take a plastic food container and cut holes.  Then place a piece of PVC pipe on the top to prevent the ducks from standing on top of the waterer easily.

Make sure the holes are big enough for the duck to get water but not get too far in and get stuck.

duckling waterer for brooder

Adult Ducks

The best duck waterers keep it simple.  There is nothing easier than a classic 3-gallon feed bucket filled with fresh water once or twice per day.

Dump it out.  Rinse it to keep it sanitary.  Fill with fresh water.  Move on with your day.

Our duck run area is large and we can move the water station around so we do not mind letting them jump in the water and play and it gets changed out twice a day.

1. Chicken Water Dispenser

The classic chicken waterer has a container that feeds a small trough via gravity.  However, due to the way, ducks like to eat duck food with water. As well as generally enjoy playing in water.  I have found these containers less than ideal if you have more than a couple of birds.  They will splash out the water quickly and these end up needing to be refilled faster than a regular bucket.

2. Bucket

Cut a couple of holes in a 5-gallon bucket that is large enough for the ducks to fit their heads in and out.  This offers the ducks the water access they need, yet keeps them out of the water from playing in it.  If you use the open bucket feeders the ducks will hop in the water and play with it.   Therefore, if you want to avoid that, the 5-gallon bucket with holes in it method will solve it.

best adult duck waterer

3. Continuous Flow

Continuous flow duck waterers are a great solution if you have access to lots of free running water or are handy with creating your own system with water shut-off floats.

There are many different examples of automatic water systems for ducks on the web. Here is one of the systems, I think would be fun to create for our ducks one day.

FAQ about Waterers for Ducks

Can ducks drink from chicken waterer?

Yes, the same waterer for chickens can be used for ducks.  Is it the perfect system no.  If you have chickens already and you are adding some ducks you don’t need to invest in new waterers.  However, I still highly suggest a duckling water system for the brooder.

Can ducks use nipple waterers?

Yes, ducks can use the nipple waterers but do not put them in a brooder.  Ducks love to play with water and they will quickly drain all the water playing with it.  These are my least favorite watering solution for ducks.

Do ducks need a pond or pool?

No.  Ducks do not need a pond or pool to live.  However, if you want to have happy ducks I recommend offering them a pool party from time to time.  Ducks are made for living in the water and the only requirement for life is that they can submerge their entire head under water.  They love their swim time.  Let them enjoy a kiddie pool if you are raising backyard ducks occasionally to play in the water.

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