By DAVID BORAKS
Frank Cardaropoli thinks he’s come up with an idea that will revolutionize the world … of back yard chicken raising. It’s called The Chicken Fountain, a no-fuss device that hooks up to a garden hose and automatically delivers water to your birds, even if you’re not there.
That may not seem such a big deal. But with the growing popularity of urban and suburban chicken-raising, a new generation of amateur farmers is discovering that chickens need attention. You can’t just leave your poultry for the weekend unless you solve the watering problem, Mr. Cardaropoli said in an interview.
“Once they get it, people go, ‘Oh my god, you can go away on a weekend and don’t need a chicken-sitter,’” he said.
Mr. Cardaropoli lives on six acres on Grey Road in northeast Davidson, where he keeps goats and chickens, which roam the whole property. (He once had 60 chickens, but coyotes thinned his flock. Actually, they decimated his flock – he’s got four left: Lucy, Ethel, Glenda and Michelle.)
A year ago, he built a Chicken Fountain for himself, assembling it from store-bought PVC plastic piping, a control valve, and off-the-shelf nipples that drip water only when the chickens drink. Unlike other watering devices, which include a tank or well, this one doesn’t have to be refilled. And with chickens drinking anywhere from 2.5 to 5 liters of water a day, that’s important.
Other prototypes are now being used by the Cardaropolis’ neighbors – one who has 50 birds and another who has a flock of peacocks, he said.
FROM CORPORATE WORLD TO INVENTOR
Mr. Cardaropoli is a Springfield, Mass., native, who has lived in Davidson since 2000. He moved here from Richmond, Va., to take a job at the Lowe’s Corp. headquarters in Mount Mourne. A couple of years ago, he left to start his own logistics consulting firm. He says if the Chicken Fountain takes off, he could put that work on hold.
Mr. Cardaropoli received provisional approval for a U.S. patent on The Chicken Fountain in June, and he’s now shopping it around to magazines and via the internet. So far, he has made 50 or 60 of the devices for friends and as prototypes to help with marketing. He sent a couple to the magazines Mother Earth News and Grit, and they’ve already published a note about the invention.
He has three sizes – small, medium and large – depending on how many chickens you have. They run $60, $70 and $80 each. He’ll also sell you a special heater sleeve that keeps the device warm in colder weather. And he notes that chicken owners can add vitamins, worming additives and medicines to their chicken’s water using the semi-sealed device.
Mr. Cardaropoli hopes his new company, Chicken Fountain LLC, can ride a wave of interest in backyard farming. (Davidson passed an ordinance in 2010 allowing people to keep hens.) “People are more and more concerned where their food is coming from, and people are getting back to growing their own food,” he said.
We tried to interview the birds, but they had no comment. They were seen drinking at the Chicken Fountain, though. Guess that’s comment enough, isn’t it?
July 2, 2012, Mother Earth News reprints The Chicken Fountain’s press release (see text below)
TheChickenFountain.com, official website. The business also has its own Facebook page.
Dec. 15, 2012, “Board gives thumbs up to backyard chickens.”
The Chicken Fountain, LLC announces the release of The Chicken Fountain Poultry Watering System
Davidson, NC June 23, 2012 – The Chicken Fountain, LLC, a provider of poultry watering systems and products, announced the release of their new product line of passive flow semi-sealed poultry watering devices. The Chicken Fountain is a fully automatic low maintenance watering system designed to meet the need of the individual who chooses to keep a backyard flock.
“The Chicken Fountain takes the mess out of providing your flock with clean and fresh water”, says Frank Cardaropoli, Owner of The Chicken Fountain, LLC. “Backyard flock owners can now enjoy a truly maintenance free system that cannot be fouled by their flock. The Chicken Fountain is easy to operate, and its design prevents rodents and wild birds from transmitting disease through contaminating water supplies. Supplements and wormers, if used, can be added directly to the system to keep your flock it top shape,” Cardaropoli says.
The Chicken Fountain is shipped partially assembled to save transportation cost and only requires a few minutes of assembly time. (For an additional shipping charge the unit can be shipped fully assembled.) Each unit is constructed from heavy duty PVC material approved for safe water distribution. There are three standard sizes of The Chicken Fountain, but it can also be custom designed to meet the diverse needs of the ever growing population of those maintaining backyard flocks. “The system’s design makes it a perfect solution for not only chickens but all types of fowl,” said Cardaropoli, Owner of the Chicken Fountain. “Besides the maintenance and health value flock owners will experience, there is also peace of mind knowing your flock will always have a fresh supply of clean water.”
The Chicken Fountain, LLC, founded in 2011 and headquartered in Davidson, NC, provides products to the backyard poultry keeping sector. In addition to The Chicken Fountain, the company provides accessories to support the sales of The Chicken Fountain.