After owning rabbits for about a week there was one thing that I knew… Rabbits drink a lot of water. I had started out with 2-liter bottles with the standard rabbit water nipples. Seemed practical enough. At the time I was a heavy Diet Coke drinker, so when a bottle got dirty; I tossed it and got a new one, but I only had four rabbits.
A little side note – Did you know you can store Coke bottles forever and nothing ever grows in them… It made me think, what was I putting in my body that mold and such things couldn’t even survive in; eventually leading me to quit the Diet Coke habit. Yes, I have my rabbits to thank for that.
Back on subject, filling the bottles wasn’t that time-consuming when I had four rabbits, now I [currently] have about 26 rabbits ( 9 seniors and their kits) and watering them had become quite a chore. It took me about 2 hours a day to feed and water the animals.
An automatic water was like my #1 desire, especially with summer approaching, when the rabbits drink twice the amount of water…
A gravity fed system was our only option, as there is no water source where the rabbits are. There were many examples on the web of different system and how they made them, however, they were pieced together with pieces we couldn’t find or we could find some but the matching pieces in the same size couldn’t be found. So here is our version.
It’s a fairly simple project once you find all the parts you need. Basically, you will need something to hold the water and you will need to have it elevated higher than the rabbits. Here is our water tank. We got this at a yard sale for $5, it’s about 20 gallons give or take.
It is suspended in a tree and is fairly high and I am fairly short so I wanted a way to fill it without a ladder. So we ran a PVC pipe in the top with a shut-off valve and a hose connector. You’ll notice that the PVC we used is gray. We had it on hand, from a greenhouse experiment gone wrong. It is made for electrical line.
It is my understanding that the difference in the “White” PVC and the “Grey” PVC is that white pipe is tested for use under internal pressure while the gray pipe is tested for external contact strength. Our system isn’t under any pressure. Also, the grey electrical pipe has UV inhibitors to provide sunlight resistance. Since we live under the intense southern sun, it works for us.
Between the tank and the rabbits, we put another shut-off valve just for good measure. If we have to do repairs on the rabbit side we will be able to do it without draining the tank.
From here the PVC goes into the hutch, in the front for easy maintenance and repair.
Above each cage, there is a drop line. A simple push-in fitting and a flexible line. Mine are clear, only because I couldn’t find the black line in time and I wanted it done. I imagine I will have to replace it soon.
The water nipple is the only part that had to be ordered. They are inexpensive, 20 for about $8.
They connect easily to the cage. One tip I have here is to connect the spring first then hook the other side. My husband was doing it the other way around and had quite a time of it.
Finally – end with an end cap…
This system has been in service for about a month now. And it is great. The rabbits took to it almost immediately and no leaks. Occasionally a rabbit will lay up against it and water will pour out, but I am not sure that can be helped. If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them in the comment feed.