We built our watering system using heavy duty PVC pipe and brass water valves and a Freeze-X circulating system from Bass Rabbit Supplies. PVC, connectors, drain valves, heat tape and other supplies were purchased at our local home improvement store and TSC.
Digging the ditch to put the water pipe below the freeze line
Connecting the water line to the existing line and replacing the hydrant
Water line with shut-off under shelf for reservoir
Measuring PVC and marking nipple placement
Practicing tapping in the brass drinking nipples, using Teflon tape to seal them.
PVC attached to backs of cages with wire
PVC crosses from one run of cages to the other. There is a drain valve here at the lowest spot
At the end of the second run of cages the PVC returns to the reservoir across the backs of the second row in each run.
The Freeze-X reservoir ready to connect to PVC lines
Jay wrapping the incoming water hose with heat tape and covering with electrical tape. We later wrapped this with foam insulation tubes.
Water lines connected and pump and heater plugged in. Heater has built in thermostat, pump is plugged into Thermocube to control power by temperature.
Brass drinking valve/nipple
Kits find the water nipples quickly!
Nursery cages have baby saver wire on the fronts, solid sides and urine guards across backs. We cut out a circle around the nipple in the urine guards to keep the nipples at the right height.
The water line runs from the reservoir in an elongated "U" shape and then double back on itself to recirculate the water throught the reservoir. The reservoir fills by means of a float valve. The incoming water line can be shut off and the reservoir can be filled manually when medicating the rabbits. We medicate for coccidia twice each year. The water system is easy to drain and flush by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the "U".
Once the system was assembled, it took no training for our rabbits, who had only used crocks, to adapt. We have had no problems using this system in our unheated, uninsulated barn down to zero degrees this past winter. We have not had any problems with the watering nipples clogging or freezing but we constantly monitor the rabbits' feed consumption since going off feed would be the first indication that a rabbit is not drinking.