Should chicken water ever smell like sewage

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,724
111,025
1,722
Northern Colorado
I was looking for validation as to whether water should smell "funky" or as I said, "sewagy". I myself would not drink that crap. I'm not around on a daily basis so I don't clean them out daily. But every time that I do clean them out they smell! They are the "tray" kind, you know the outer ring with a center reservoir per se. I do not use any bleach or soap or such b/c I'm sure that would freak out their owner. I just scrub them down really really good with a rag. It takes some time but I don't mind.

When I asked her how often she's cleaning them she said "almost daily". Hmn...argument brewing. Her logic is that they smell bad because that's what chickens do! I can't win against that. I don't even wanna counter it anymore. Whatever.

But I thought I'd ask some more objective unbiased and unemotionally involved parties. Thanks all!

I was interested in those nipple waterers but she was not. They are not "natural" for a how chickens drink out in the wild. Well, okay.

I confess to not reading every post yet.

Are the water dishes at ground level or up on blocks?

When I had ducks they made a nasty mess out of their water in minutes. Their water had a bit of an odor if I let it go 48 hours. I had to clean theirs twice a day.

I do not have that issue with the chickens water dishes at all. So I would say no it should not smell like sewage at all.

It sounds like she is not actually cleaning them but may be topping them up instead.
 

catballou

Songster
Feb 12, 2021
169
167
126
Michigan
I confess to not reading every post yet.

Are the water dishes at ground level or up on blocks?

When I had ducks they made a nasty mess out of their water in minutes. Their water had a bit of an odor if I let it go 48 hours. I had to clean theirs twice a day.

I do not have that issue with the chickens water dishes at all. So I would say no it should not smell like sewage at all.

It sounds like she is not actually cleaning them but may be topping them up instead.
I agree with raising them up higher so they can't poop in it, but they need lots of clean water daily. Dirty smelly water is a recipe for disease.
They will get sick from drinking it. I'm surprised that they aren't already..
 

Sushihig72

Chirping
Nov 26, 2020
13
84
59
It's not a very strong smell. As I walk by the waterer I do no smell it. But once I clean it and dump out the old water I get the distinct smell of, well, sort of like sewage. The water is definitely dirty. You know how chickens love to scratch up and kick up dirt and leaves so that ends up falling into the waterer. But to the extent of sewagy smell?
It's not a very strong smell. As I walk by the waterer I do no smell it. But once I clean it and dump out the old water I get the distinct smell of, well, sort of like sewage. The water is definitely dirty. You know how chickens love to scratch up and kick up dirt and leaves so that ends up falling into the waterer. But to the extent of sewagy smell?
I put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in the water-er. I have the same issue but the ACV allows it to stay cleaner longer. And it’s beneficial to the birds in other ways.
 

416bigbore

I am A Big Boy Now!
Premium Feather Member
Jun 11, 2020
7,696
65,541
1,086
NC
Interesting thread topic, we also are on well water and have a small mixed flock with ducks, so fresh water twice a day is a must with them.

I had an issue with that same type of nasty sewage smell and it turned out to be coming from a new 100 foot piece of cheap garden hose I purchased. I was tired of dragging the garden hose around the yard twice a day so I bought a brass two way and spliced into the original hose and thought I had my problem solved.

Each morning when rinsing out the pools and water containers, I would notice that faint nasty smell coming from that new piece of garden hose and not from the old hose on the other end of the property.

So I purchased a quality garden hose and that solved that nasty smell issue. I am guessing the smell was from whatever that cheap rubber vinyl hose was made out of? The smell would go away after a few minutes of running water, but thought it best to be safe and replace it anyway.
 

Chickenclaude

Chirping
Dec 16, 2019
123
225
88
Do you have well water? I change out my heated watered every 3 days ( it’s off now). My well water gets a smell if it sits for several days (like with cut flowers) Just change it more often and put a TBL of apple cider vinegar in it. IT will get stinky but it’s clear.
 

NorthwoodsChick

Songster
May 16, 2021
193
575
146
UP Michigan
I was interested in those nipple waterers but she was not. They are not "natural" for a how chickens drink out in the wild. Well, okay.
Ok, I literally rolled my eye at that Sometimes my inner voice compells me to state the obvious and I blurt it out, so here it goes. This is for the owner, aka Karen. :rolleyes:
Wild chickens, huh? Unless the flock is strictly free range foraging jungle fowl living in a 100+ac forrest range, drinking from flowing brooks and roosting in trees you have domesticated chickens who are confined to their 'space', and therefore are dependent on you to provide for their safety and basic needs (this includes clean water free from stank). A 'wild' chicken would not chose to drink foul smelling water, nor would a domesticated one when an alternative exists. Your current method stinks, Karen.

Whew! That inner voice of mine can be a down right, well, you know. 😏
 

catballou

Songster
Feb 12, 2021
169
167
126
Michigan
I chicken sat for someone like this and did exactly what you're doing and sometimes even washed it out with soap. She said the algae growing in the waterers wouldn't hurt them but I never let mine get green and I clean them with soap regularly. Some people are just like that I guess.
Hexactl
Ok, I literally rolled my eye at that Sometimes my inner voice compells me to state the obvious and I blurt it out, so here it goes. This is for the owner, aka Karen. :rolleyes:
Wild chickens, huh? Unless the flock is strictly free range foraging jungle fowl living in a 100+ac forrest range, drinking from flowing brooks and roosting in trees you have domesticated chickens who are confined to their 'space', and therefore are dependent on you to provide for their safety and basic needs (this includes clean water free from stank). A 'wild' chicken would not chose to drink foul smelling water, nor would a domesticated one when an alternative exists. Your current method stinks, Karen.

Whew! That inner voice of mine can be a down right, well, you know. 😏
So true. If you can't take the proper care of any animal, don't have i
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom