Coop+Rain Barrel?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DetroitReds, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. DetroitReds

    DetroitReds Hatching

    Oct 6, 2008
    I'm sure a lot of y'all are doing this, but I'm looking for some specific advice. I'd like to capture the runoff from my present coop in the barrel to use for my flock's drinking water, but I'm not sure if that's healthy. The coop has asphalt shingles as the roofing materials. Does this sound like a bad idea, or am I paranoid? It's conceivable I could re-do the roof (after the winter) with another materials. Any insights?
  2. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
  3. BluegrassSeramas

    BluegrassSeramas Serama Savvy

    Aug 25, 2008
    Central Kentucky
    I do it, but my shed AND my 150 year old house has metal roofing.
    So Im no help.. [​IMG]
  4. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    My coop has a tin roof and I was planning to collect water from it, but now I think we're gonna have to tar the roof because of leaks so.....there goes the rain idea I guess.
  5. we're doing rainwater collection, but we have a tin roof. if you have asphalt shingles, i would wait till you can redo it. asphalt leaches chemicals into the water.
  6. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Chickens eat styrafoam. I don't think drinking runoff water will hurt them. Hasn't killed mine yet.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The first issue is chemical contamination of roof water. Asphalt shingles leach a bunch of interesting chemicals that are known to be bad for vertebrates, and thus water off asphalt roofs is generally not recommended for human consumption (except in an emergency). I would not personally give it to my chickens either, unless it was just impossible to get them something else. It is unlikely to kill them dead on the spot or anything but there is a large area between "dead on the spot" and "perfectly harmless", much of which I would not personally want to go into, especially if I am eating the eggs.

    The second issue is biological contamination of roof water. If by some chance you are trying to have stringent biosecurity, with a roofed run and no contact with wild birds, be aware that using roof water will *give* them contact with wild birds, in the form of the poo rinsing into their drinking water. For most flocks this is not a concern.

    However, storing roof water for any length of time *can* be a concern, especially if there is no mechanism for discarding the first bit of water off a roof in a rain (which is the most bacterially contaminated)... non cleaned non filtered non bleached roof water stored in a container for a fair while will tend to culture bacteria, some of which cause problems (e coli, salmonella, etc). If your rains are pretty infrequent, or you'd be storing the water for a fair while in containers, then this would be worth thinking about. If OTOH you live in the PNW or somewhere like that, where your roof will get washed daily and no water will stand in a container for long before being used or dumped, it is not so much of an issue.

    I am not arguing against the use of roof water (well actually I *am* arguing mildlly against the use of water off asphalt roofs, if there is any alternative); just pointing out some of the considerations.

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. Chickn chick 46

    Chickn chick 46 Songster

    May 22, 2009
    I'd be hesitant to use rain water also. First off is acid rain, then onto asphalt roof into the rain barrel. I've seen the inside of my gutters and it has bits of roofing, the small particles that are on the roof inside them.

    I have a rain barrel that was under my gutter that has a small leak, we've kept a goldfish in the barrel for about a year now. I use the water only for flowers not vegetables. He's fine but frankly I wouldn't drink water from a rain barrel unless I absolutly had to and only if I could boil it.
  9. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    I'm with patandchickens. steer the rainwater into a flower garden. [​IMG]
  10. DetroitReds

    DetroitReds Hatching

    Oct 6, 2008
    Excellent. Thank you for the thorough answers. Consider me dissuaded from using the coop roof for collecting drinking water for the chickens.

    I am still investigating the potential harm of collecting for use in my vegetable garden. I'm thinking about building a 'foul flush' system and only watering the fruiting crops, with the view that they don't take up contaminants the way root or leaf vegetables might. Of course, I could be persuaded either way.....

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