SM Cup Bucket

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly questions we are asked by customers. The answers to many potential concerns can be found here. If you don't see your question below, please visit our Product Information Page, where you will find downloadable documents for each of our product types. These documents are full of helpful tips for installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your watering solution.

Q: How do these cups work? Is there a float?

While some sellers describe our cups as having a float which allows the cup to automatically fill, they actually do not. The yellow tab inside the cup is a trigger. Every time a bird drinks, the spring loaded tab is bumped, releasing more water.

Q: How big are the cups?

Our cups are about 1.75 inches in diameter, and about 1.5 inches deep.

Q: My birds can't seem to get the hang of this. I am worried about them. What do I do?

If you are concerned for your flock's health, we encourage you to give them water by in whatever manner necessary to get them to drink. That said, we find that nearly all birds will get the hang of our watering cups if given time. While your flock is getting their "water wings", you may also want to consider moving the yellow tab yourself to fill the cup with water. Once your birds associate the cups with their water source, the rest should take care of itself.

Q: I press down on the tab and no water comes out. Is something wrong with them?

Lack of water flow is usually caused by one of two issues.

1. Water pressure is too high, and the gasket is failing to dislodge when the yellow tab is moved. You'll need to lower you your water pressure. For more on how this can be accomplished, read the next few questions and answers.

2. Sediment or debris is blocking the flow of water. You'll need to examine and clean your cups.

Q: Can I just hook these up to my garden hose?

Not without a pressure regulator. ***Note*** Partially opening a valve or spigot will NOT regulate pressure. It will only reduce flow. Eventually, pressure will equalize on either side of the valve, and your cups will be receiving full household water pressure.

Q: Where can I find a pressure regulator?

We offer an affordable adjustable pressure regulator for use with your watering system. Our regulator can be installed "in-line" with 1/2 inch PVC, or can be attached to your hose or spigot using our optional garden hose adapter. Our complete watering systems include a pressure regulator, and offer additional savings when designing your system.

Q: What is meant by a "gravity fed" system?

A gravity fed system is one that is attached to a container such as a bucket or barrel, rather than a water line. Generally speaking, most gravity fed systems do not require a pressure regulator, but usually must be filled manually.

Q: Are cups and nipples prone to freezing? At what temperature?

If you live in a cold climate and install your watering system where it is exposed to the elements, freezing is a potential problem.

Resources such as online forums and internet searches can provide options and ideas for insulating your watering system. However, we cannot provide specific advice or support, as conditions vary greatly from system to system.

Q: Can I mount nipples sideways?

No. Our heavy duty nipple drinkers are designed to be mounted vertically, so that they point downward, directly toward the ground. Mounting them horizontally or at an angle will likely cause them to leak.

Q: Can I attach my cups or nipples to a 5 gallon bucket?

Absolutely. Cups can be mounted to either the bottom or side of a bucket. Horizontal Nipples mist be mounted to the side of the container. Vertical Nipples should only be mounted to the bottom, as they must point downward in order to properly function.

Q: What size and type of PVC do I need to buy to complete my system?

All of our fittings, as well as adapters for our filters and regulators, are designed to be used with 1/2 inch schedule 40 PVC. This size and type of PVC pipe is readily available at hardware stores and home improvement centers.

Q: My cups / nipple drinkers are leaking? Why?

There are several common reasons a cup or nipple drinker may leak.

1. Nipple Drinkers must be mounted vertically. If mounted horizontally or at an angle, they may leak.

2. Debris or sediment in a cup or nipple drinker may cause leaking by interfering with the seal. In this case, the cup or nipple drinker will need to be disassembled and cleaned to remove the foreign material. We offer an in-line filter that can reduce leaks caused by sediment or debris.

Q: Do I need a filter?

Possibly. Sediment can cause cups and nipple drinkers to leak by clogging the small internal components. A filter can greatly reduce leaks caused by foreign material in your water line. This can be especially true if you are using a gravity-fed water supply, or you have well water.

Q: The cup doesn't automatically fill. Why?

Our cups will not fill without the yellow tab being moved. Every time a bird drinks, the spring loaded tab is bumped, releasing more water. If your cups fail to fill even when the yellow tab is moved, it is likely due to water pressure that is too high.

Q: How can I disassemble my cups for cleaning?

Our cups can be disassembled for cleaning by holding the black mounting section of the cup steady with 5/8 or 16mm open end wrench, and twisting the orange portion of the cup to dislodge it from the tabs holding the two sections together.

The internal spring mechanism is disassembled by gently grasping the thin black nut at the base of the yellow tab with pliers, and removing it from the black mounting section using a back and forth twisting and pulling motion. Note that the nut is not threaded, but is held in place with a gasket.

Once you have successfully removed the yellow tab assembly from the mounting section, you can clean any debris from the components using plain water. There is no need to disassemble the unit any further.

For reassembly, perform these steps in reverse order.

Q: How do I disassemble nipple drinkers for cleaning?

Our nipple drinkers twist at the middle. Inside, there are two small stainless steel rods, and a stainless ball bearing. remove these components and clean them with plain water. Pay close attention to their orientation when removed, as they will need to be reinstalled in the same manner.

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