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Rusty waterer okay?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by DeeTee, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. DeeTee

    DeeTee In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    Desbarats, Ontario
    I have been using a small plastic waterer but the weather is getting colder fast. I would like to use a galvanized waterer on a heated base instead for the winter. Plus the galvanized waterer is much bigger.
    The galvanized one I have is older and is rusted around inside of the part where the chickens drink. I scrubbed it out and tested the it, and the rubbe seal is fine and the waterer is functional.

    Do you think the rust is harmful to the chickens though? It is not loose, but there is quite a bit of it. I am trying to save money by using what I have, but naturaly I don't want to harm the chooks.
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I don't have any scientific information on this, but I would err on the side of caution and not risk using rusty waterers. Hopefully, somebody knows more than me and can chime in on this.
  3. Sorry-very UNSAFE. The zinc from the finish is now leaching, toxic...not the rust causing probs...
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  4. I chucked my chicken waterer when it got rusty.

    That said, it was probably a stupid thing to do. We used galvanized waterline installed in the 50's for our domestic water for umpteen years, and it was quite rusted out when it was finally replaced. So I'm sure there was PLENTY of rust in the water.

    [​IMG] And just look how I turned out. Yeah, chuck the waterer. [​IMG]
    smcneil and avanthomme like this.
  5. DeeTee

    DeeTee In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2008
    Desbarats, Ontario
    I suspected as much. Thanks all for your feedback. The waterer is history.

    The TSC store will be happy to see me again this weekend!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  6. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    A galvanized waterer is not supposed to rust. I would take it back to where you bought it and request a new one. I did, and they gave me a new one, no questions.[​IMG]

    The whole point of buying galvanized is they aren't supposed to rust, otherwise they may as well make them out of regular steel. I have galvanized buckets that are 20 years old, and there is no sign of rust on them. I think these newer products are some cheap knock-offs from China. More overseas junk. [​IMG]

    Love your signature line by the way! [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  7. Yes, they do rust. I used to soak my chick waterers overnight with vinegar to disinfect. I Unfortunately, the acid removes the coating, and allows it to rust.

    I looked it all up last year because I also didn't believe that galvanized could rust.
  8. erinm

    erinm Posting For A change

    Feb 24, 2007
    Central Massachusetts
    get a heater for plastic waterers. it is an all in one unit I just use the base and place my other wterers on that base because the top piece of the heated unit is just too heavy when filled. ErinM
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Galvanized steel certainly does rust, this is NORMAL, it's what happens when the galvanized coating is breached. Can happen from scratches, dents, or overuse of acids. (Acids, such as vinegar, are not really a good idea to use in galvanized waterers btw because they can liberate a potentially-toxic dose of zinc from the galvanized coating. Not as bad to use it as a periodic wash than to chronically give them acidified water, but still not a good idea)

    Why do some galvanized <whatevers> rust while other ones, purchased elsewhere or at a different time, stay rust-free (so far) under the same treatment? It is because there is galvanization and then there is galvanization. There are different methods of doing it, and differnt thicknesses of galvanized coating. Also if items are thinly galvanized and then treated roughly in shipping etc they can get dings that will let them start rusting almost immediately.

    I would not use a galvanized waterer with any appreciable amount of rust in it. You could drill some holes and convert it to a galvanized feeder if you are really demonically intent on getting the last possible use out of it -- that's less of a health risk, as long as there are no sharp rusted-out areas.

    Good luck,

    1 person likes this.
  10. Village Farm

    Village Farm In the Brooder

    Since when are either zinc or rust in water harmful?! All metals are toxic at some dose, but most of the ones you can build stuff out of are not especially soluble in water. (Metals such as sodium, calcium, and potassium are actually pretty dangerous in their metallic form due to their propensity to burn or explode.) Galvanized iron has been used for generations for human water supplies. The biggest problem when it corrodes or rusts is that it creates ugly deposits in the bottom of a pot or on clothing, not because of toxicity.

    Zinc metal ingested in chunks can be toxic - a couple of grams can be toxic in humans. However, stomach acid greatly increases dissolution and absorption of the metal. Even somewhat acidic drinking water doesn't carry much zinc in solution in a galvanized container.

    LynneP, the zinc from the galvanization is leaching at just about the same rate whether the underlying steel is rusting or not.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008

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