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A chicken fount is the most common type of chicken waterer. They use a gravity fed design, with a watering container on top which fills a fountain / trough at the bottom.

They are made with either plastic or metal and come in a range of sizes. They can be used free standing and some can be used as a hanging chicken waterer. 

In this post I review the different types of chicken fount and their features.

Note: Waterer Review Series

This is part of a series on Chicken Waterers. Here's a list of the other types of waterer I have reviewed: 

After publishing these, I also created a roundup review, where I compare the three main types of waterer: Check it out here.

Before I get into the detail on each type of chicken fount, here are the general pros and cons compared to other types of waterers.

Pros and Cons of a Chicken Fount

A chicken fount is cheap and easy to setup. They are also easy for chickens to use, providing a pool of water which is a more natural way for chickens to drink (compared to water nipples for example). The downside of this is that they get dirty and the water can get contaminated. Chickens flick dirt, feed and even poop in them. They can also be knocked by chickens, spilling water out or tipping them over. In freezing conditions they need to be used with a water heater.

Pros
  • Cheap: A fount is a cost effective waterer, which allows multiple chickens to drink at the same time. This makes them an affordable option for larger flocks.
  • Easy to setup and use: Chicken founts have a simple design that works, making them easy to setup and use. Hanging a chicken fount requires a bit more work to setup than a free standing fount. 
  • Easy for chickens to use: A Chicken fount allows chickens to drink from a pool of water, which is a natural way for chickens to drink. Chickens take to these waterers instantly and seem to drink more water compared to an enclosed waterer (like a nipple or cup waterer), where chickens need to learn how to use them.
Cons
  • Freezing:  In cold temperatures, a chicken fount freezes up. However there are solutions to this. Some waterers are designed with a built in water heater, or can easily be used with one. 
  • Dirt and contamination: As an open water source, chicken founts get dirty. Chickens flick dirt and feed into them. And if chickens can perch on them, they will poop into the water trough. This means they need regular cleaning. Raising the waterer on a block or hanging them up at head height reduces the amount of dirt that gets into the waterer, but doesn't eliminate it. Some chicken founts are also designed to prevent perching.
  • Spilt water: A chicken fount is more prone to being spilt or knocked over completely, leaving your chickens without water. A large chicken fount helps prevent this because they are heavier and harder to knock over when full. But as they get empty, they become easier for chickens to knock over. A hanging chicken fount can still be spilt, but can't be knocked over. Bottom filled founts are also prone to coming apart and spilling everywhere while being refilled.

Standing Chicken Fount

Some chicken founts are designed to be free standing. They can be placed directly on the ground or raised up on a block.

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Pros and Cons of a Standing Chicken Fount

Overview

A free standing water fount is easy to setup and can be designed with a large capacity (without having to worry about hanging it up). The downsides are they get dirty and can more easily be knocked over by your chickens.

Pros

  • Easy to setup: With a standing fount, You simply need to fill them up, put them in your coop and they are ready to go. 
  • Larger capacity: There is no limit to the capacity of a standing fount (unlike a hanging fount)

Cons

  • Dirty: When a chicken fount is placed on the floor, chickens flick dirt in the trough and can sometimes perch on top of the waterer and poop in them. To reduce water contamination and cleaning, they can be raised up on a block or brick to your chickens head height. Some founts are also designed with a cone shaped top to prevent perching.
  • Can be spilt or knocked over: A standing fount can be knocked over if a chicken perches on it or knock into it. Lighter waterers with a small capacity or which are partly empty, are easier for chickens to knock over. 

Hanging Chicken Fount

Some chicken founts are designed so they can be hung up in the coop or in the chicken run.

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Pros and Cons of a Hanging Chicken Fount

Overview

A hanging fount reduces dirty water, can't be knocked over and saves a bit of floor space. The downsides are, they are harder to setup, can still be spilt and their size is limited because the weight of a waterer makes it more difficult to hang up.

Pros

  • Reduces dirty water: Hanging a fount above the ground reduces the amount of dirt that gets flicked into the waterer.
  • Adjustable: The height of the fount can be easily adjusted as chickens grow or for different size breeds. 
  • Can't be knocked over: A hanging fount can't be knocked over. 
  • Saves floor space: Hanging a fount can save a bit of floor space in your coop.

Cons

  • Harder to set up: Hanging up a fount means more work to setup, especially if they are large and heavy.
  • Can be spilt: When a hanging fount is knocked or perched on by chickens, it will start swinging, which can cause it to spill water or leak.
  • Size is limited: A hanging fount will have a weight limit, because it can become too heavy to hang up.

Metal Chicken Fount

Some chicken founts are made with galvanised metal.

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Pros and Cons of a Metal Chicken Fount

Overview

A metal chicken fount is stronger and tends to be longer lasting. The downside is that they tend to weigh more than a plastic fount, are more expensive and will eventually rust. It's also harder to monitor water levels because metal is not transparent.

Pros

  • Stronger and longer lasting: Metal founts are generally more durable and will last you longer than plastic.

Cons

  • Weight: A galvanised metal fount can weigh more than a plastic fount, making it a bit harder to handle.
  • Price: A metal chicken fount is generally more expensive than plastic, because of the higher material costs.
  • Rust: Eventually a metal chicken fount will rust. Rust will contaminate the water and will eventually cause holes.
  • Water level not visible: The water level is not visible, which makes it harder to monitor.

Plastic Chicken Fount

Most chicken founts are made with plastic

Pros and Cons of a Plastic Chicken Fount

Overview

A plastic chicken fount tends to be cheaper than metal, is light and the water level is visible, making it easy to monitor. However if the fount is made with poor quality plastic, it's prone to deteriorate, especially in the sun. Plastic can also contaminate the water, which can affect the health of your chickens.

Pros

  • Cheaper Price: A plastic chicken fount is generally cheaper than metal fount
  • Light: A plastic fount is lighter than a metal fount
  • Visible water level: The water level on a plastic chicken fount is visible, which makes them easy to check. 

Cons

  • Durability: A chicken fount made with poor quality plastic is prone to deteriorate, especially in the sun. 
  • Plastic Contamination: There is likely to be some plastic contamination (even with founts that are BPA free). Plastic kept in the sun increases this problem.

Bottom Filled Chicken Fount

A bottom filled fount is probably the cheapest and most common type of chicken fount. The watering container screws off the trough part and must be flipped upside down to be filled.

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Pros and Cons of a Bottom Filled Chicken Fount

Overview

The main benefit of bottom filled fount is the price. But the downside is they are harder to use. They are prone to coming apart while being carried, dumping water everywhere.

Pros

  • Price: With a simple design, a bottom filled fount is generally cheaper than top filled founts.

Cons

  • Harder to use: If the fount watering container is not connected properly or if the thread design is not strong, the fount can come apart while it's being carried, dumping water everywhere. This makes a bottom filled fount harder to setup and refill.

Top Filled Chicken Fount

A top filled chicken fount is filled from a lid in the top of the waterer. 

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Pros and Cons of a Top Filled Chicken Fount

Overview

A top filled water fount is easier to fill, however generally costs more than bottom filled founts.

Pros

  • Easier to fill: A top filled chicken fount is easier to fill, because there is no chance of water being dumped everywhere.

Cons

  • Price: Are generally a bit more expensive than the bottom filled type.

Large Chicken Fount

Founts with a larger watering container have a larger water capacity.

Pros and Cons of a Large Chicken Fount

Overview

Larger watering containers need less refilling and are harder for chickens to knock over when full. But they are harder to carry around, take up more space and tend to cost more.

Pros

  • Less refilling: Large founts don't need to be filled as often.
  • Harder to knock over: A large fount is heavier, which makes them harder for chickens to knock over. 

Cons

  • Harder to setup: Founts with a larger capacity are heavier to carry around. They are also harder to hang up. 
  • Price: Larger founts are more expensive than smaller ones.
  • Take up more space: A large chicken fount takes up more space in your coop or chicken run.

Small Chicken Fount

A chicken fount with a smaller watering container have a smaller water capacity.

Pros and Cons of a Small Chicken Fount

Overview

A small chicken fount is lighter and easier to carry around. But they need more regular filling and are easier for chickens to knock over and spill.

Pros

  • Easier to setup: A small to medium chicken fount is easier to carry around and hang up.
  • Take up less space: Smaller founts take up less space in your coop or chicken run.

Cons

  • More regular filling: With a smaller water capacity, they need to be filled up more regularly.
  • Easier to get knocked over and spilt: A small fount is lighter when full, which means they are easier for chickens to knock over or spill.

Recommendation: What to Look for in a Chicken Fount

Here is what I recommend you look for when buying a chicken fount:

  • Hanging or raised on a block: Either raise your waterer on a block or get a hanging waterer. This is essential to reduce the amount of dirt flicked into the fount.
  • Go large: If in doubt, go for a larger size fount. A larger fount needs less filling and prevents it from being knocked over. Just keep in mind how heavy they will be for carrying and hanging up.
  • Heater compatible: If you live in freezing temperatures, get a fount that comes with a heater or is heater compatible.
  • Top filled: Get a top filled fount because they are way easier to use.
  • Metal: Get a metal fount if possible. They are longer lasting and prevent plastic contamination. Just be sure not to use vinegar in the water because this will make them rust. Also look at the thickness and quality of the metal used, because they will eventually rust.
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