How close to a well can the coop safely be?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by susannemw, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. susannemw

    susannemw Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    1
    101
    Feb 3, 2011
    Maine
    We are new to this chicken keeping obsession, and want to do it right. We have a 10x12 garden shed we were hoping to re-use as a coop with some modifications, but it sits approximately 20 feet from the well head. Is this too close to our water if we put the run on the opposite side away from the well? We will have 12-15 chickens at the most, and the shed has a floor, so there would be minimal waste seeping into the ground that way. The chickens will be free to roam during the day, both in and out of the run.

    Any help, advice or links to share?
     
  2. wsdareme

    wsdareme Chillin' With My Peeps

    701
    13
    141
    Mar 9, 2010
    Yelm, WA
    I don't think it's a problem at all. Our county is very conservative and won't even allow us to graze our animals within 150' of the well, but, you know, at our old house the barn was within 30' of the well and one of my horses liked to poop in one spot that was about 10' from the well, and we NEVER had water quality issues. I think there is an unnecessary paranoia about animal waste. Farmers have been farming for hundreds of years, and our water sources near them are just fine. And remember, just because your well head is near where you want to have your coop, it's the water source far underground that would need to be contaminated and I just don't see that happening under normal "farming" situations. The big elk herd that comes through here several times a week poops far more than my horses do!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    93
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    On the one hand, it is impossible to answer without information on what your well is LIKE. Is it dug or drilled, is it lined or not, if lined is the liner fully-intact versus damaged, that kind of thing.

    That said, if your chickens will free range then they will go where they want to anyhow and unless you are really mismanaging the coop it will not be a very large source of nutrient input into the ground or runoff. And 12-15 chickens is not a huge number.

    If it were me, I would have a floor inside the coop (as you're going to do), make sure to have my chicken-poo compost pile as FAR away as possible, preferably at least 100' and further would be a lot better especially if there are some question-marks about the well or the drainage patterns. I would make real sure that the run was graded in a way such that runoff goes pretty far in the opposite direction from the well. And maybe truck in some roadbase or coarse sand or whatever to raise the run surface a bit so that it never becomes a "bathtub" with the poo marinating in puddles.

    So, if you approach it in a cautious kind of way (and keep testing your water periodically for coliform bacteria, as you should *anyhow* when you're on a well) I think it is pretty unlikely you'd have a problem. And frankly, if you DID have a problem in the absence of any really nasty management lapses, then it'd probably be telling you something important about the *general* safety of your wellwater *anyhow*.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. susannemw

    susannemw Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    1
    101
    Feb 3, 2011
    Maine
    [​IMG] What I know about the well is that it is deep and sweet, no issues with water quality or contaminants so far. I definitely would compost far away from the well - we have a lot of room, so I hope this is a temporary (year or two) housing solution until we can clear some more room on the other side for something bigger.
     
  5. susannemw

    susannemw Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    1
    101
    Feb 3, 2011
    Maine
    thank you for the link! [​IMG]
     
  6. Peck Johnson

    Peck Johnson Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    1
    91
    Feb 26, 2011
    Greene County NY
    If your well is more than 75 feet deep you have no worries. In our area, codes require a minimum 100 feet between human waste and a well but in reality it all depends on the water source and well depth. If you have a drilled well then your water supply probably doesn't accumulate much ground water. And with so few chickens it wouldn't matter at all. I am not an expert but I would not worry in the least. But I would at least check to see if your town will enforce a particular code against it. Where I live they could not care less.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    93
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Only if the well has an intact (non cracked non damaged) casing.

    This is by NO means true of everyone's well.

    Thus unless you have recently had a well inspection and really *know*, I would suggest erring on the side of caution.


    Pat
     
  8. RJEllsbury

    RJEllsbury New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Nov 12, 2015
    Hi folks, I'm pretty certain I know the answer to this question based on reading the threads. However I just want to throw out the scenario to doublecheck since I'm new to chicken owning.

    I recently moved my coupe from the field to behind my home. This way I can run a light to the coop. It's probably about 10 feet away from my well. It is a drilled well about 220 feet down. I have 8 chicken and only plan on keeping them there from now (November) until (March). At which time I will move them back to the field. In about a month and a half the ground will be nearly frozen and most likely it will have snow on it so I don't anticipate much seepage.

    So given the description above would any of your chicken owners be concerned with water issues.
     
  9. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,360
    679
    306
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by