Last Updated on May 19, 2021

Don’t buy an expensive pig waterer. Here’s how to make an automatic pig drinker using a 55-gallon barrel and some cheap parts.

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So, you raise pigs and need a pig waterer but don’t want to spend a lot of money. No problem! I’ve taken the time to show you exactly how to build your own very easily and without spending a lot of money. And, you’re hogs will love it.



Parts You Need

55-Gallon Food Grade Plastic Barrel

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker

The first thing you’ll need is a 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrel. I bought mine off of Craigslist for about 20 bucks. Be sure that it’s food grade because you’re going to be putting your pigs drinking water in it.


1/2 Inch Threaded Automatic Pig Nipple Drinker

You’re going to need a half inch nipple drinker like this one.


1/2 Inch Threaded Bulkhead

You’re going to need a half inch bulkhead like this one. This is going to be put into the bottom of the barrel and your drinker nipple is gonna screw into it.


Hole Saw Drill Bit

You’re going to need hole saw drill bit like this one that is large enough to drill a hole so the bulkhead will fit through your barrel.



You’re also going to need a wrench or some vise-grips to tighten the nipple drinker and the bulkhead once they are installed.

But the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to saw the top of the barrel off. This will allow us to access the inside of it so we can install the bulkhead.



Removing the Barrel Top

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Barrel Top Removal

To remove the top, simply take a circular saw and cut it off. They way I did it was I laid the barrel on the ground and, as I started to make my cut, I just rolled it until I cut the top completely off.

Next, we need to drill a hole in the bottom and attach the bulkhead.



Installing the Bulkhead

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Barrel Hole Drilled

Using your hole saw, drill a hole in the bottom of the barrel. Now we can take the front part of the bulkhead that has a washer on it and put it in the hole.

Then, take the back part that also has a washer and screw on the back of the bulkhead from the inside of the barrel. Make sure it’s real tight so no water leaks around it.


How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Bulkhead Installed

Here’s what it looks like after it’s installed.



Adjusting the Flow

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Nipple Flow Adjustment

Now that we’ve got the bulkhead installed, we can install the nipple drinker in our pig waterer. But before we do, I want to show you something.

On the back of these, there’s a screen that’s used to keep sediment or any other material from making its way through the nipple and possibly clogging it up. You can actually remove the screen which reveals a way to adjust a flow setting.

Once the screen is off, you can stick a flat-head screwdriver in there and turn it to three different settings, increasing or decreasing the flow. I have mine set on the largest hole which gives me the most flow.

It is also possible to take a drill with a slightly larger drill bit than this hole and drill it out a little bit more which will give you even more flow if you want to.



Installing the Nipple Drinker

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Nipple Installed

Now, simply screw the nipple drinker into the bulkhead and use your wrench to tighten it. Once it is installed, you can add some water to it to test it out for leaks and see if your flow is good.

If everything works good you’re ready to set it up for your pigs.



Setting It All Up

How to Make an Automatic Pig Waterer Drinker Set Up

Here is the pig waterer all set up for my pigs. I put it up on two cinder blocks to get it up to their level and then I put four T-posts around it to keep them from knocking it over or moving it around.



Video Instructions


If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below. I’m always happy to help.



My name is Casey and I'm the creator of I created this site so I could share with you everything I know about farming and hopefully help you become a better farmer in the process.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Greg

    Thanks, looks like a good idea. I am going to have pigs in the spring and I am checking out your site.

  2. Tim

    We are researching about raising pigs and I really like your automatic waterer. Also very good instructions for putting it together.
    My question is, what do you do about algae building up in the barrel?

    1. Casey

      That’s a great question. I spray mine out with water every so often to keep the algae in check. Also, algae needs light to grow so keep as much light out of it as possible. You can do this by using a dark colored barrel (or painting it) along with a dark top.

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