Keep Your Chicken Water Clean with a DIY Pallet Feeding Station

Chickens, like all animals, need constant access to fresh water. But as all you chicken keepers know, keeping their water clean can be a bit of a challenge between the dirt, straw and shavings they kick into it. And if you raise ducks also, then the challenge is a thousandfold more difficult. I tried all the various waterers on the market and wasn't completely happy with any of them. But finally I have solved the problem and my chicken and duck water now stays crystal clear. Amazing, I know!

Ducks really are the problem when it comes to trying to keep water clean for the chickens. Not only will ducks get straw and dirt into the water, they naturally try to swim in anything they can fit into, and also get tons of feed into the water. (I wasn't really concerned about feed in the water because it didn't seem to dissuade the chickens from drinking it and I figured all it did was add some nutrients to the water! But the mud and occasional poop and all the straw in the water was really starting to get to me.)
Hanging gravity waterers don't work when you have ducks, and so I started using rubber tubs. The larger tubs ended up doubling as swimming pools. The smaller tubs just got filled with mud and feed too quickly. And then I built my girls Feeding Station from a pallet. And voila! Problem solved.
Setting the tubs of feed and water up on a pallet not only keeps the water clean because the ducks can't get any mud in it and the chickens can't kick any straw into it, it also means a cleaner feeding area. Any water that gets spilled just drips through the slats and any feed that gets spilled that doesn't fall through the slats is easy to just scrape into a pail and toss it back into the tub or throw it out, instead of it ending up molding in the mud and dirt. The ducks do still get a bit of feed into the water, but it generally just sinks to the bottom - and it's far less mess than I was getting by setting the water tubs right on the ground.
My chickens are no longer standing in the mud, snow, ice or puddles of water to eat, and I think the water even stays unfrozen a bit longer than it used to because it's up off the cold ground. The pallet is easy to move periodically to clean out underneath if necessary, and would also work inside your coop if it's large enough and you feed in the coop (which I personally don't recommend because it just attracts flies in the summer and rodents year round).
Note: I didn't necessarily have to put slats of wood in between the slats on the pallet, but since we have ducks (who can be very clumsy) and I didn't want any leg or foot injuries, I added the extra slats. I also added a ramp for the ducks because they seem to like walking up ramps better than hopping up on things. The whole project took me maybe half an hour and I used scraps of wood and screws I found in the garage.

What you Need:

A pallet (you will want to use one made from non-treated wood to be on the safe side)
A short length of board for a ramp
A few thin slats of wood to fit in between the slats on the pallet and to make 'steps' on the ramp
Wood screws

What I Did:

Measure the width of the pallet and cut enough thin slats out of scrap bords to fit in between each existing pallet slat. Using wood screws, attach the slats at either end. 
Cut your wider board to make a short ramp and then cut thin slats to act as spacers or steps and screw them to the top of the ramp. Using longer screws, attach the ramp to one side of the pallet. And that's it.  
Set your feed and water on the pallet. You can set your gravity feeders and waterers on this feeding station as well to get them up off the ground, or even hang them above the pallet to keep the area under them cleaner and dry.
-Measure and cut your boards to fit -

-Position a slat in between each existing pallet slat-


-Screw the slats to the pallet frame-

-Screw slats to your ramp and then attach the ramp to your pallet using long wood screws-
After pulling my hair out for years trying to figure out how to keep my chickens' water clean, it turned out that the answer lay in a simple wooden pallet. I just wish I had figured this out sooner... but no harm done, the chickens honestly didn't seem to mind drinking dirty duck water! I think it was me who had more of a problem with it! 

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