Obsessing over clean water/feeder containers?

Sweet Violet

10 Years
Jan 9, 2010
Vista CA
Hi Everyone,
Need some advice on feed & water containers. I only have 4 hens so it's not like I'm feeding a few hundred birds but I seem to be obsessing over how clean is clean. If I cleaned the water bowl out everytime I see pine sheddings in it it would be every 15 minutes or so.
They've tipped over every type of metal feeder I've tried from my local feed store. Is the hanging feeder a good one to keep pine chips and flecks of this and that out?
I really wouldn't worry to deeply about this. Keep in mind that your chickens or chickens in general will naturally eat dirt, worms, ect. If there is some stuff floating around in the water but they still have access to the water (meaning it is not entirely covered or filled with shavings) it is no big deal. I would change the water every couple days to make sure nothing grimey starts to grow inside though. I found that putting my chickens waterer on top of a raised flat surface kept them from kicking junk into it. A hanging waterer would work too but if you already have several I would save the money and set one on top of a block of wood or anything else that raised it up several inches.
Oh thank you for the encouragement. I was afraid I'd have to quit my job and sit next to the coop to keep the feed and water cleaned out! Really, I was so uptight about it. Maybe I can go inside and use the bathroom now.
An ideal height for waters is even with their backs. At this height they can reach it easily yet it is high enough to elimate droppings falling into it.
We put our waterers in the non freezing temps up on a metal milk crate. It keeps it a lot cleaner than when it's down on the heater in the freezing months. The day you see them drinking out of a mud puddle maybe you'll feel better about it.
Since I only have 2, I use a bowl for their water and end up changing it at least twice daily because hen Ellie enjoys filling the bowl with anything she can find (she especially enjoys making pine shavings soup). Fresh water likely spares them illness though, so I would change the water once a day even if she weren't making a mess. In the colder weather that may be more than necessary. In the summer in humid climates, you can never be too fastidious about it.
Our chickens have the run of the field, they love drinking from puddles and other sources of water that were not sanctioned by us. We just try to keep the poop out. We usually put clean water in their waterers on a daily basis and we have them raised up to help prevent stuff getting kicked into them.
In the summer we keep lots of shallow containers filled with water all over our yard. We just fill them with the garden house as we pass by them. This helps our chickens have plenty of access to water as well as any other critters that come our way, including our own dog and cats. By no means do these containers stay clean. We do wash them out, when they look nasty though. But we don't worry about little bits of grass and leaves getting into them.
great answers everyone!
I just put the feed and water containers up on 1/2 size concrete blocks. Got to learn something new everyday, right?
Thanks All
What a great tip!! My waterer is raised on bricks and it still gets poop in it, I was concerned in raising it more thinking they wouldn't be able to get enough if it was to high, but your idea makes total sense. DUH to me!!!!

Thanks for sharing!
My inside waterer is up on concrete blocks. Like Opa said, about level with their backs. A chicken can't hold water in their mouths the way a human can, so they need the waterer to be level with their bodies to make it easier for them to swallow. Unless someones been especially rambunctious in the coop, the water stays clean.
I have had great success with my hanging feeder, again it's hung level with their backs. They can't get their feet in it to scatter the feed around and waste it.
Chickens eat off the ground all the time. They aren't going to be bothered by a bit of dirty water.

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