Providing your chickens with easy access to water one of the most important (and obvious) things you can do when raising a flock. Having plenty of water is crucial for their quality of life, egg production and overall health. Keeping their water clean is also very important. It helps to ensure your chickens stay healthy by drinking the water you provide and avoiding disease caused by bad water.
Here are some best practices to keep your chickens’ water clean and safe.
Develop a Cleaning Routine
Watering systems and containers don’t have to be cleaned every day, but developing a consistent cleaning routine, such as once or twice a month, goes a long way. When you routinely rinse and disinfect your waterers, you’re stopping the buildup or inhabitation of mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, parasites and anything else that may contaminate the water and be harmful to your chickens.
Keeping a clean coop and run by disposing of waste and disinfecting the structure also helps keep the water clean. Chickens scratch the soil looking for bugs and anything else to feed on. In this process, they often kick up dirt, waste and debris into their water source. Cleaning your coop and run regularly will get ahead of the problem and alleviate any issues caused by impurities entering your chickens’ water source.
Elevate the Water
Elevating your flock’s water source is an easy way to keep out waste and debris. Consider hanging your water source from the top of your coop or building a platform to keep it off the ground. Moving the water even a few inches off of the ground will drastically increase the quality of your chickens’ water.
Whether it’s elevated or not, you should always avoid placing water near areas where your chickens roost or nest, such as under the coop or near the nesting box. These areas become dirty quickly, and by avoiding them, you will decrease the chances of contaminants affecting the water. Covering your water with mesh or wiring can also help to keep it clean.
Consider Using a Closed Watering System
Closed watering systems provide several advantages over traditional watering methods, such as pans, buckets or bowls, and help to keep the water free of contaminants. A closed watering system is essentially sealed and prevents outside contaminants, many microscopic, from entering the water source.
Watering nipples are one tool to create a closed watering system. These small, inexpensive devices can be integrated into buckets, jugs, pipes and almost anything else that holds water for your chickens. Watering nipples let out only a small amount of water when your chickens peck at them.
“Everflow” watering systems keep your chickens’ water constantly flowing, helping to ensure that their water is clean and never freezes during the winter (which is another crucial aspect to watering your chickens). Like watering nipples, an “everflow” system allows you to keep your watering system closed, limiting contaminants and promoting fresh, healthy water for your flock.
Whether it’s learning about clean water or keeping your flock safe from predators, there is a lot to learn about keeping a healthy and safe living space for your chickens. Check the Coop Controls blog (link) for more great ideas.