Here's how I did it:
First, I bought a cake pan from a dollar store.
Next, I asked a restaurant to save me a # 10 can (the big gallon sized cans used for massive cooking).
Next, I hammered two holes through the can about an inch up from the open end. I did this on opposite sides of the can. (Make sure this hole is LOWER than the lip of the cake pan you're placing it in.)
There you have it. $1 and 5 minutes and you've got a homemade chicken waterer.
Here's How it works:
Fill the can up with water and place the cake pan over the top, like a lid. Holding the cake pan in place, turn the whole thing upside down so that the can rests on the pan (like the picture above). The water will flow out of the two holes you placed in the can and stop once it reaches the holes. (If you look closely, you can see the water inside the pan.) As the chickens drink the water, it refills the pan with the stored water inside the can.
I used this automatic water container for a few months before I could afford to buy a more elaborate set up for my hens. It worked wonderfully. My only problem was a rust ring on the cake pan where the can and pan met. I ended up spraying the pan with a rust proof paint which helped.
I don't think this kind of waterer is a long term solution, but it is a very quick and easy solution for a temporary waterer when you're short on cash.
Would you like to learn more about chicken supplies?