I have four forms of water:
1. Well water with iron, sulfur and calcium.
2. Softened water that runs through the house.
3. Rain water which I collect in barrels and use on my vegetable garden.
4. Spring water with I get at a spring four miles from my home. (a lot of shlepping)
I have been giving the hens the well water because the softened water from the house stills contains sodium from the conversion. I don't drink the softened water and I don't think so much sodium would be healthy for the hens either (?). I don't use the rain water because when it sits in the barrels for a few days I'm sure it collects bugs and other debris which may cause health problems for the hens. (Although, considering what they drink when free ranging this seems overprotective.
What worries me is that when I fill their clear plastic bottles fitted with nipples, I can see that the water turns a slightly rusty color by the end of the day. I change the water everyday (lots and lots of bottle washing). I am working by my butt off trying to care for them and still wonder if the well water is doing some harm to them over time.
I would appreciate practical advise and not conjecture.