Everybody knows that having over 10 rabbits on water bottles is a royal pain in the patootie… And for somebody that’s trying to raise animals as efficiently as possible, water bottles just ain’t going to cut it… the answer? Rabbit Nipples! That being said, not everybody has the facility with indoor plumbing necessary for automatic water. So, here’s a cheap solution that will increase your productivity without requiring the modern advancements of indoor plumbing…
The Bucket And Hose
First you want to get yourself a five gallon bucket, a drill bit slightly smaller than your water supply hose, and a drill. In this example we’re using 5/16 OD hose, so I’m using a quarter inch drill bit. The idea is that the rubber / neoprene hose will be forced into the hole and will seat against the edges of the hole creating a watertight seal. You need to drill the hole as far down on the bucket as you possibly can without hitting the bottom of the bucket, mind you that there is a lip about a quarter of an inch below the bottom of the bucket, so you need to be slightly above that. Cut the hose at an angle so that you have an narrow tip that can slide into the hole easily. Then with a pair of pliers or you’re insanely strong manly grip, pull the hose into the bucket through the hole about 2in, or until you have a good space between the wall of the bucket and the angle that you cut into the hose. This should be a bit difficult as the hole is too small for the hose. If it’s easy, it might leak.
Installing The Water System In The Rabbitry
Now we’ll need to find a place to hang or secure the bucket. You can set it on a shelf that will keep the bottom of the bucket raised above the intended level of the rabbit water nipples. In my example we will be securing it to a rafter in the rabbit shed. I’m using two number 10 screws that are over 2 inches long to support the bucket, and one screw of the same dimensions to secure the handle of the bucket from sliding. You’ll notice that one is set in at an angle. You can test your support by filling the bucket up and trying to hang it before you depend on it, or you can throw caution into the wind and assume that your screws will hold! From there you want to make sure that you have a nice loose loop coming off the bucket, too much strain will allow water to fit past the hose. Your first stretch of hose should go to the upper cages, and string along the top layer of cages then down to the next layer then down to the bottom. You want to make sure that the rabbits have NO access to the hose, they will chew it and cause leaks… So make sure the hose is a few inches away from the cage and all they can touch is the brass nipple.
Training Your Rabbit
If your rabbit has never drank out of a rabbit water nipple you’ll need to train him where the water is. This is easy enough to do, just turn water bottle around and hang it right over where the nipple goes through the cage. That should be enough. If you fear that the rabbit has not found his new source of water, you can unscrew the nipple slightly and it will drip a little bit and the rabbit will be able to smell the water.
If you happen to be blessed with indoor plumbing in your rabbitry, you can do the same method but in the bucket put in a float valve so the bucket automatically fills, this will negate the need for pressure regulator. Remember that most rabbit waterer nipples operate at 3 to 10 psi, your house hose pressure is 60 +… You don’t want Thumper to bite down on the nipple and get blasted in the throat!
Feel free to share this article with your friends that it might benefit, and be sure to send pictures of your set up when you’re done! I love seeing good progress!