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How to Make a No Mess Duck Waterer

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DIY Duck Waterer: No Mess

How to make a simple no mess DIY duck waterer.

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If you have ducks, you might know that they love water. They love to splash in it and get it dirty. They love to tip it over.

They also NEED to get their bills in the water to eat. It’s part of their deal. So you can’t just use a nipple waterer like you would with chickens.

Most duck owners fight the constant battle to keep their water clean- and fail. They’re out changing water twice a day which is a large time commitment for animals that are otherwise fairly easy to care for.

I decided to make our own DIY waterer, based on what I’ve seen other duck owners doing. It works well and keeps the muck in the water down to a minimum. I can change it once a day (3 ducks) without an issue.

Note that they also have access to other sources of water during the day to swim in and in the winter we use a heated water bucket so the water won’t freeze.

Supplies for a Duck Waterer

DIY Duck Water Bucket Tutorial

For this project, you’ll want a clean 5 gallon bucket with lid. I use a top on the finished product to keep debris from getting into the bucket (our bucket is under a tree so I didn’t want leaves in it).

We cut three holes around the top portion of the bucket. You want them to be high enough that you have room at the bottom for water, but low enough that the ducks can reach inside to get the water.

If you have a smaller breed of duck, you may want the holes to be lower than I put mine.

Cutting was dangerous. The bucket is awkward to hold and you’ll want a good tool for the job. We tried a spade bit, but didn’t have a large enough one to do the job.

We finished up with a Dremel… I edited the part of the video where the blade fell off because we put it on wrong. Nobody got hurt, but I will re-emphasize to be careful when cutting. BE CAREFUL. Wear protective gear- including steel toed boots, safety glasses, and gloves. You may also want a respirator if you are sanding.

I think a hole saw or jig saw might be better options.

Spade bit to make a hole in bucket.
Dremel to make the hole bigger.

We added three holes. I accidentally put one where the handle falls. I’d recommend avoiding the spots where the handle falls (both sides), otherwise the handle will end up blocking the holes.

Afterwards, I sanded down the edges so they weren’t sharp. So far it’s worked well. We haven’t had poop in their water. They get some food debris in there, but it’s not nearly as bad as before.

Sanding edges of the holes so the ducks wouldn't get cut by edges.

The water DOES get dirty on its own if left- it’s still standing water. But it’s far cleaner than it is otherwise and I change the water out once a day.

If you’re a bit scared to try this, you can try this other option for a Duck Waterer Solution with purchased items that don’t require a lot of changes.

Interested in other duck tutorials? We used this easy fencing for an open run around the secure run. Our smaller DIY run is secure against predators and this is our duck house. This is how we setup our duckling brooder.

Need an easy shelter and don’t want to DIY? Here’s what you can buy.

Omlet makes a ton of chicken shelters and runs that are movable and have lots of accessories available. You can add wheels and handles to move the run as needed which is nice. The cages look like they’re well predator-proofed, and you can get an attached run up to 13′. They even sell an automatic coop door that opens and closes when the sun rises and sets. The Eglu Go is their easily movable shelter and run. They have perches to add on, swings, treat holders, and even chicken clothing. Totally worth checking out if you like to geek out over your poultry.

Here are some products in my store that you might be interested in!

Video Instructions for a Duck Waterer

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How to make a no mess duck waterer. White 5 gallon bucket with holes in the side in the duck pen.

duck waterer diy
Yield: 1 Duck Waterer

How To Make A No Mess Duck Waterer

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $10

Make your own DIY duck waterer. It's easy and inexpensive to make and also saves time on keeping up with refilling the ducks water.


    1. Cut three holes around the top portion of the bucket.
    2. We used a dremel, but a hole saw or jig saw might be better. Be sure to wear safety equipment.
    3. Sand down the edges so they aren't sharp.
    4. Place a top on the finished bucket.

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Did you make this project?

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Friday 4th of August 2023

I cut a hole in an empty and washed gallon milk jug. I use a pair of good scissors to get the job done at the ‘corner’ opposite the handle. This allows me to put 1/2 gallon of water in the jug daily and carry it by its own handle. When it gets too yucky with mold that’s impossible to clean inside the handle, I just make a new one. Our kids go thru 2 gallons of milk a week.


Friday 11th of August 2023

@Emily, Good idea. I threaded my hose at bottom of bucket to the outside so I can easily flush.


Tuesday 26th of April 2022

Hate to be Capitan Obvious, but hopefully you've learned the way you did it was not the greatest. As someone else used, a hole saw would have been a much better and safer(if properly assembled) tool for cutting the holes. The Dremel could've been used, but not with a cutoff wheel. Hopefully your experience motivated you to learn more about the tools you use, and didn't scare you away from them.


Thursday 12th of October 2023

@Joe, You sound like a jerk! Not every one has a drill and if they do, I don't know many people who have hole saws, let alone one big enough to do this project. They can be pretty expensive and to buy one just to use it once is stupid. I just made a bucket feeder with the pvc 45s and I used a box cutter, even though I have access to a giant work shop with tons of tools in it. I was comfortable with making my template, tracing it on to the bucket, scoring it and then carefully using a box cutter to cut it. Much easier than trying to hold a vibrating bucket as I attempted to drill holes into it. Sometimes patience is safer than speed.


Monday 2nd of July 2018

Just added a small float valve and quick release connector. Hooked it up to a hose, so now its self filling. Still need to rinse it out every couple days though. Never knew ducks were so messy!


Friday 11th of August 2023

@Danielle, I put an outlet at bottom of bucket attached to fish tank hose with clamp. I can empty the bottom out and flush without taking bucket out.


Wednesday 4th of July 2018

Brilliant! And yes, they're ridiculously messy lol. We kicked them out of the real pond and gave them their own after a while because the pond was out of control dirty.


Thursday 21st of June 2018

Thanks for putting this online! Just made mine using a five gallon bucket with lid from Tractor Supply. Cost $5. Used a drill bit that came in a kit we had never even used before that makes holes in doors for door knobs. Worked great... Then sanded it down and just put it out for the ducks. Great, easy project and just what we needed for our very messy ducks.


Thursday 21st of June 2018

Isn't it great! It's not perfect but it's a huge improvement!

Sean Hale

Monday 7th of May 2018

Great idea. I’m going to make this today with an old plastic bucket. My ducks are almost ready to go outside. Thank goodness as the mess indoors is getting pretty intense!


Monday 7th of May 2018

Haha. Yes they're not that much fun to keep indoors after a week or two!

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