Discover my top tips for keeping chicken water fresh and clean. In this blog I'm sharing how I keep our chickens waterer clean with clever design and as little as 30 minutes of hands-on time a week.
Keeping backyard chickens happy and health is pretty easy, as long as you provide a safe, predator-free environment, fresh water and nutritious food.
I think chickens are the best pets to keep because, well, EGGS!
But chooks are great mess makers and will quickly scratch dirt, poop and bacteria into their waterer creating a slimy mess. Gross!
Along with removing droppings and collecting the eggs, cleaning your chickens water source should be part of your regular chicken keeping routine.
In this blog I am sharing my top tips for keeping the chicken water fresh and clean.
My top tips for keeping chicken water clean
My top tips for keeping your chicken water clean are:
- invest in a purpose-designed poultry waterer
- hang or elevate the waterer
- clean and refresh the water regularly
- consider adding apple cider vinegar.
Now let's look at each of these steps in more detail.
Invest in a purpose-designed poultry waterer
Unlike a trough or dish, a purpose-designed poultry waterer holds fresh water inside a closed compartment away from potential contaminants like poop, dust, and debris. You can choose from a range of designs and materials such as plastic and stainless steel, bell shaped or drip feeder.
For our humble flock of two chickens we opted for a 2 litre bell-shaped Bainbridge Stainless Steel Poultry Drinker which we picked up from our local stockfeed store. Stainless steel is a little more expensive than plastic but is designed to be tough enough to withstand the elements, so it's a worthwhile investment.
I have used plastic waterers in the past and I have found stainless steel much easier to scrub clean.
The 2 litre capacity lasts 2-3 days before needing to be refreshed.
Hang or elevate the chicken waterer
By hanging or otherwise elevating your waterer to chicken head hight, you will avoid unwanted nasties being accidentally scratched into the water while your chicks are parading around the coop.
We've hung our waterer on a chain away from the chooks favourite dust bathing area, over the top straw. This helps keep the water fresh and clean, for a couple of days at least.
You could also place the waterer on top of a couple of sturdy bricks to raise the height. Just make sure the chickens can still reach the water!
It's also a good idea to keep the waterer out of direct sunlight, to keep the water cool and avoid the growth of algae.
Clean and refresh chicken water regularly
Once or twice a week, depending on the conditions (warmer weather will result in water becoming green more quickly) thoroughly scrub out the waterer and refresh the water. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes.
If the waterer is particularly dirty, you can use vinegar to help disinfect it.
I like to use a coconut fibre scrubber to clean my waterer, which I leave hanging on on my tap near the chicken coop for convenience.
After thoroughly cleaning, refill the drinker with fresh water.
Consider adding apple cider vinegar
By adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar (ACV), you can reduce the amount of bacteria and algae that grows in your chicken's water. It must be natural ACV 'with the mother'.
It also has the added benefit of being a natural health tonic for chooks. The optimal ratio is 2%, so that's 20 millilitres of ACV per litre of water (4 US teaspoons to 1 US quart).
Note: Only use diluted ACV in a plastic or ceramic waterer to avoid corrosion. It is not clear if stainless steel is affected by the mild acidity of diluted ACV, so this is not something we do with our waterer set up.
Keep a back up dish of water in another location incase something happens to the main water source while you're out.
Want to know more about keeping backyard chickens? Check out my blog Tips for keeping chickens out of the garden.
Thanks for following along!
I recommend investing in a purpose-designed poultry waterer, hanging or otherwise elevating the waterer, cleaning and refreshing the water regularly and consider adding small amount of diluted apple cider vinegar to the water.
By elevating the waterer, you can help minimise the amount of dirt that makes its way into the chicken water.
The best way to keep chicken water clean is to elevate the waterer away from dirt and debris, and refresh the water regularly.
It can be difficult to keep chicken water clean in a brooder environment. Young chicks are super messy and will scratch bedding and poop all over the water bowl if you let them. I recommend using a a purpose designed bell-shaped poultry drinker in a smaller size, and elevating this on a small block of wood or similar. Ensure the chicks can reach by gently dipping their beaks in the water.