Salt in water?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MrsHarrison73, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. MrsHarrison73

    MrsHarrison73 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2016
    Sorry, new chicken owner! My dad mentioned that my chicks can't have water that's gone through my water softener but I haven't read that (I read the whole book "raising chickens for dummies" lol) and don't have water that doesn't go through it. We get water from a well and even the outside water goes through it. How bad is it for them or is he losing his mind? [​IMG]
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] glad you have joined us. You should post an intro under New Members to get a proper welcoming.

    Your dad is correct - in my experience, most well softeners/filters are salt. And chickens cannot tolerate salts.

    I would suggest talking with your well water servicer and find out exactly what they are using - then research the specifics.

    Hopefully, others who are on wells will show up here with opinions to help with the issue.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC -glad that you have joined us.

    Not sure where you are based, but rainwater harvesting will not be a total solution, but could go part way to providing water for your flock.

    Depending on the levels of calcium and magnesium in the raw water, the methods and concentration of chemicals required to soften the water will vary, so as Sunflour suggests, you may wish to find out what removal methods are used and if this is done chemically, what concentrations are used.

    All the best
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    If your water softener uses salt your going to have to get a good revers osmoses filter.
    It should filter out most if not all the salt.

    If the water softener is in your house (not a community softener) you could just have a plumber run a water line from just before the softener to outside. That was the outside water never gets "softened".
  5. MrsHarrison73

    MrsHarrison73 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2016
    Thanks guys! We had talked about a rain barrel or two for the ladies but I'll need to think of a solution quickly for the chicks now.
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    I would by water for the chicks while you work this out.
  7. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have well water and a softener.

    So do millions of others.

    For most healthy people, the amount of added sodium in the softened water poses no health problems.

    However, for people who are hypertensive (have high blood pressure) and must live on a low-sodium diet or a sodium-restricted diet, the sodium in the softened water can be hazardous to people's health.

    I have never had a chicken or chick suffer from the low levels of added sodium.

    Also, if you are still concerned, if you have a well, you probably have a pressurized storage tank.

    Most are plumbed with a spigot near the bottom for flushing any accumulated contaminates.

    Put a hose on it... [​IMG]

    I did some more research and found this opinion/fact:

    2. Well Water

    About 15 percent of the U.S. relies on private wells, which aren’t regulated like municipal water sources. Wells can be polluted by natural and man-made contaminants, including microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, heavy metals, and unsafe levels of naturally occurring fluoride. Chemicals or animal-waste runoff from farms can also contaminate wells, especially if they’re shallow.
    If you have well water, test it for safety. If you drink it yourself, consider it safe for your livestock, too. But, if you don’t drink your well water for reasons like heavy metal contamination, chemical pollutants or microorganisms, remember you are what you eat—and you are what your food eats, too. If you eat the eggs or meat of your chickens, don’t give them water you wouldn’t drink yourself.
    3. Softened Water

    Water softeners commonly use salt (sodium chloride)—the same stuff in your kitchen saltshaker—to replace the calcium and magnesium ions that make water hard. Hard water’s biggest caveat is scale buildup. It’s not unsafe to drink, but it can clog pipes, build up around faucets, and keep your soap from lathering in the shower. Water softeners installed where water enters the home can protect pipes, making the naturally hard water unavailable.
    While water softeners use common table salt, the process of softening is only replacing calcium and magnesium ions with higher-charged sodium ones. Very little sodium ends up in the drinking water. Even for people on a sodium-restricted diet, the FDA says that the amount of sodium in an 8-ounce glass of water is so low that it still falls under its own definition of a very low-sodium food.

    Consider that if you’re giving your chickens any kind of electrolyte products, that it contains more sodium than they will consume from softened water. Sodium is an essential electrolyte. If you’re sodium sensitive and use a water purification system that uses potassium chloride in lieu of sodium chloride, this is also safe for you and for your flock.
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    If I might throw my 2 cents worth in to what @RonP outlined so well...4 years ago my sister had a ruptured aortic aneurysm and we came very close to losing her. They were able to repair it, but in the process she threw blood clots into her kidneys and totally killed them. Then 2 years ago she had to have a double bypass - risky for anyone but especially for her since she has to have dialysis 3 times a week. She has high blood pressure and blood chemistry issues, as you can well imagine.

    I'd read somewhere that the water from her water softener could be very hazardous to her because of the sodium used. She has high blood pressure, heart issues, and dialysis, which not only removes the bad stuff from the blood but a lot of the good minerals and trace elements as well. So I called her and suggested she ask her cardiologist and her nephrologist about it. They said they'd never heard of that, but they'd sure research it and in the meantime suggested that she drink bottled water and use that in her cooking and such until they had an answer. Then they and the rest of her team researched it. They came back telling her essentially what RonP said....that she is at no greater risk having her water come from the salt pellet water softener she has in her home. So if it's safe for you and your family, it should be safe for your chickens.

    However, if you aren't comfortable with that, then your only option would be to find another source for them. I wish you the best of luck with your chicks and welcome to BYC!
  9. MrsHarrison73

    MrsHarrison73 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2016
    We actually found a small spot to bypass the softener, so just in case it is a risk to's no longer a risk! Thanks for all the advice!
  10. chella

    chella Out Of The Brooder

    re: water softeners health concerns and toxicity pertaining to HUMANS

    I have to disagree ... for health people it may not be a concern at all. For someone who is ill ... High BP, other related ailments every little bit can count and cumulative contributing factors.. As a kidney transplant patient with hypertension, on three BP medications & told to strive for a low sodium diet ... water is not where I would want added salt in addition the softening with salt process pulls out the good for you minerals which are essential for balancing electrolytes etc. If you are going to go through the process of living a low sodium --- table salt, processed foods then eliminated consuming water softened water. In today's day and age it's not that challenging to get water either commercial spring water or free from local artesian wells (depending on where you live) --- another alternative suggested in one of the below links is to put the softener only on the hot water so that drinking and cooking isn't softened.

    Evidence that salt toxicity from water softener can & does happen:

    For our beloved pets/animals:

    Personal experience water softened water KILLS Fish (period). Animals with health issues and/or high thirst drives should not be drinking softened/treated water.

    Chickens and GEESE

    I've had chickens for 6 years and geese for 4 - I'm far from considering myself an expert but I am an avid researcher and have had to handle (and help others with) a variety of incidences, injuries, illnesses. I do not have a water softener so I have never given it much thought. I recently sold someone two 8 week old gosling ... these goslings went from two healthy gosling to 1 dead - 1 showing symptoms of lethargy, drunk walking, diarrhea .... in 8 days. All other hatch mates are well. These new owners have as well have chickens but for maybe 2 months. Waterfowl drink enormous amounts of water ... compared to chickens so it would be common sense that it would have faster impact. As soon as they reached out to me ... I immediate responded to help the remaining gosling survive as well as investigate what could be the cause. I arrived heat sources, with a variety of supplements I use regularly, original feed, my own water. At the time I really wasn't thinking of anything specific just grabbing some of everything. Upon arrival I I replaced there water with mine as well as offered free supplements (brewer's yeast, ACV in water). He perked up in stages. The first with in 20 minutes. Upon further inspection of poop, housing, etc and reviewing all other potential possible causes were ... more or less ... all were either low risk or ruled out. (other feed, chemicals from pool or lawn seed) Then I thought of the water source. And they in fact do have water softener ... and were getting there water from that source. Luckily they had access to their water before treatment and will exclusively give that water from now on. Hoping for a full recovery is reached in coming days.

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