rainbarrel water getting stale!


'Birds Momma
10 Years
May 25, 2010
'Bird 'n the Fluffy Butts coop in Ohio
I have a really cute rainbarrel that I use for watering my flock inside and outside. It's your typical 55 gallon drum, painted up really cute. last year I had an issue with the water being in the drum to long and the girls would not drink it. It was not sludgy, or alge like. Just old and stale I guess. Is there anything I can add to the water to keep it good? I have been told to add a few teaspoons of bleach into it, but I am afraid to do so.

I have read that water can get "stale" by sitting for a while. Aeration (through agitation, or some other method to add air bubbles) may help. Plain bleach or some other solution used to purify water to make it potable may help. You might also want to let the rainbarrel drain totally periodically (use them on your flowers) to make sure that you get all fresh water once in a while.

I haven't done my rainbarrels yet, so I'm not sure what the possible problem could be to make the hens dislike the water. Here's a paragraph I found on aerating water:


No matter which method is used for storing water in plastic bottles, the water will taste flat after prolonged storage. To enliven the quality, oxygen must be restored to the water. This is easily accomplished by pouring the water from one sanitary container into another, back and forth several times. As the water passes through the air and splashes into the other pot, air is absorbed by the water and it again tastes fresh. At the same time, any lingering chlorine aroma is dissipated by aeration.​
I love your idea! I've been too scared to try this myself for fear what pollutants might accumulate on the roof between rainfalls... maybe I'm just a bit ::too:: picky...???
Food grade 35% H2O2. Will kill all bad germs, viruses, and bacteria, oxygenate not only the water, but your chicks blood. Great for health. Good for pets and for people. Has to be food grade. I use 1 tsp for 11 gallons.
My rainbarrel is a stocktank, I keep goldfish in it to prevent mosquitoes. See my BYC page for pics. I haven't had a stale water problem, perhaps due to the surface area exposed vs. a smaller barrel.
I initially had my rain barrel set up to accept rain water from my plastic corrugated coop roof and I found that the water quickly spoiled. Rain water has lots of acid in it and coupled with the debris from the roof it mixes with (leaves, twigs, etc), it just spoils. You appear to have an asphalt shingle roof--that is NOT good for potable water, as roof shingles are made up of various chemicals that do not make safe drinking water.

Anyway, now I simply fill my barrel with hose water (had to buy several cheap hoses attached together to reach the coop), and I put in a bit of bleach in the water. I've not had a problem with stale water since.
Don't do bleach, do hydrogen peroxide instead. Cheaper, less risk and just as effective.

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