Arboreal Drinker Design Mark II

We have received some interest in the new design that we’ve come up with for an arboreal water station for wildlife. We started out by putting poultry drinkers up trees, but they have proved difficult to position correctly and we have found some have been tipped empty by wildlife.

After a bit of MacGyvering we’ve come up with Arboreal Drinker Number 2! It is based on one of the most popular ground drinker models that was designed by Arid Recovery, and involves PVC pipe and a very simple construction. The original with instructions on how to build it can be viewed HERE.  We then modified this design for an arboreal drinker.

First up, to avoid the PVC pipe drinker leaking we have a few extra tips:

Use Protek PVC priming fluid and Protek PVC cement, available at Bunnings or local hardware stores.

To glue PVC pipes together, follow these steps (and follow the instructions on the tin for the primer and cement):
- cuts should be straight and clean, sand them smooth
- clean off with rag
- apply primer to both sides (with brush or rag)
- apply cement to both sides
- join together, put pressure on it and hold for a few seconds
- wipe off excess glue with a rag
- leave standing on end to dry for 24 hrs

The main components

We made our arboreal drinkers half size, so about 750mm tall. The PCV drinker was generously supplied by DOSomething and Animals Australia who ran a weekend workshop at Mens Sheds across the Blue Mountains and made 1000 of them to send out across Australia. We asked for some half-size ones to turn into arboreal versions and they kindly made us 50.
Although they are smaller, the amount of water used by arboreal species is less than for larger animals like roos and wallabies so these smaller drinkers should still last a while before needing to be refilled. To make the drinker tree-friendly, we added some metal brackets (stand off clips for PVC pipe) for each end, and added rope for hanging, a piece of scrap timber for small critters to sit on or bigger ones to grab, plus some hessian strips to give it some grip. The idea is that gliders might use the hessian to climb the drinker, while for larger animals like koalas and possums it gives them something to grab/hold.

Here are some photos of how to pull them together:

drinker hanging from tree
Here is the finished product, with timber platform near the drinker, hessian down the sides and rope to hang it.
We put a 50mm stand off clip around the base, and wound the rope around it. The idea is that the base of the drinker takes the weight of hanging it, we didn’t want the rope pulling on the top clip and forcing off the seal at the top.
Here is the view from the top, the rope runs up from the bottom and passes through the holes in the top stand off clip (bracket). The hessian is looped over the top and secured under the clips at top and bottom. Add a bit of glue to the top if you like but we want to minimise the use of glue as it smells and might put wildlife off.
Here is the underneath. We used screws through the holes in the bottom stand off clip to secure a piece of scrap timber. We had these leftover metal screws handy but use wood screws. The timber jutting out the sides also helps to wedge the drinker underneath a branch or in a fork, we’ll post photos of that soon.
how to fill
To fill them, we used an extra bit of PVC pipe that temporarily sits on the end. Fill it up flat, then remove this bit if pipe once you’re ready to hoist it up the tree. You could also use a bit of plastic hose and a jerry can.
filling piece removed
Here is the extra bit of pipe removed. We also sawed the rim on the drinking section down about half way; the level the water sits will differ a bit depending on your altitude, but we wanted the water sitting at the top so it’s easily accessible.
A huge thanks to all our volunteers who helped put these together, and tweaked the design as they went. Also for signing up to help keep them clean and regularly refilled – that’s important if you’re looking to put these out.
vols building drinkers
We’re putting out a different model of ground drinking stations, as well as huge combination ones for remote areas with a 250L capacity; for more on our Project goto this page. These smaller arboreal water stations are great for private properties and areas where people can check them at least once a week, maybe more depending on how much they are being used. We will post photos of the drinker in the tree soon.