DIY Gravity Fed Rabbit Waterer

This past weekend I was out of town for a wedding so before I could leave the homestead for a few days I had to make sure all the critters had adequate food and water sources. The bunny moms and their litters were easily going through two regular small critter water bottles a day and that just would not do for a three-day trip. I did a little google surfing the last few weeks and decided to make six 5-gallon gravity fed waterers to place on top the rabbit hutches. It was fairly easy once I had all the parts (which I ordered on Amazon, links to the items are below in the supply list).

DIY Gravity waterer Supplies: 

5 Gallon Buckets (Free from a local bakery!)

1/2 inch watertight conduit Hub

Hex Bushing 1/2″ NPT male pipe x 3/8″ NPT Female Pipe

1/4 ” barb to 3/8″ male NPT Adaptor 

1/4 -inch Clear Vinyl Tubing (25 feet) 

Automatic water nipple drinker 

Now that you have your supplies you will be able to assemble these quickly! I used square buckets as they are easier to drill a hole into. Slowly drill a hole about half an inch above the bottom of the bucket to allow for sediment to not clog the water hose. Go slow when drilling your hole or the plastic will rip and you will not be able to have a watertight seal. Once the hole is drilled screw together the conduit hub, hex bushing and barb adaptor using plumbers tape on all the threads to decrease any chance of leaking.


Once your components are put together go ahead and install it in the hole you drilled in the bucket. Prior to adding any of your hose, go ahead and start to fill the bucket with water in a sink to make sure there are no leaks. Next, you will want to go to the location you plan to install the waterer so that you can measure your hose accurately.

Water tap

Cut the hose to the correct length and then use a small torch to gently heat the hose prior to putting it onto the barb. The heat will save your fingers from becoming sore as you try to wiggle it on. Once your hose is on add your T adaptors and water nipples (use the propane torch here as well as the hose can be extremely tough to apply).

All that is left is to fill your buckets and rid the lines of any air pockets. Place your finger over each waterer nipple until all air bubbles are gone. I left the rabbits with their original small animal waters for a couple of days just to make sure they did not get dehydrated while learning to use the new device. Once the buckets are filled I gently place a lid on top (do not seal completely!) to prevent any debris from getting into the bucket. So far this system is working great! Just make sure the hose line is out of reach of any of your rabbits as they might try to chew their way through it. (Ask me how I know! -HA! I had to replace the line three times before my trip because Apollo kept reaching out and chewing his line in half, He was left with several bottles instead of the new fancy waterer, jerk.)

Let me know if you have a similar device or if this is something you will make in the future! I would love to see images of your watering system.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve heard of people doing similar things for chickens too!


    1. Yep! My chickens already have one installed 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Christina S. Presbrey says:

    I have read that if you use clear or semi clear tubing algae and mold can form. However if you use black hose you can’t see if there’s any! My rabbits are under a carport 95% in the shade, do you think clear or white tubing will mold or algae? Thank you


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