What does salt do to a chicken?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_a_dee, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    If your chickens were fed from a well where the water went through a water softener (with salt), what would the salt do to them? I've heard no salt, but never had an explanation. I'm thinking it could be the cause of my chicken problems? If a chicken is on salty water for a prolonged period of time, say a year, what would happen to feather quality, general health, etc.
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I'm no expert but, I am guessing the salty water (from the water softener) could be the reason for your problems.Maybe some breeds are more sensitive to salt. I would imagine a salt overload would ruin their kidneys.
  3. Galaxiedriver

    Galaxiedriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Mid Missouri
    All the salt is used for is regeneration of the softening chemical bed. It is rinsed out after the regeneration process so there should be no salt in the water from the softener. BUT, softening removes the calcium and magnesuim from the water and replaces it with sodium. I don't know what impact that would have on your flock.
  4. Galaxiedriver

    Galaxiedriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Mid Missouri
    Before I opened this post I thought the question was about salting fried chicken or something to which I thought the answer was obvious. [​IMG]
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If a chicken (or anything else) takes in more salt than the kidneys can excrete, it builds up in the bloodstream to harmful levels; also trying to excrete all that salt can lead to kidney problems -> illness -> death.

    Why are chickens somewhat more vulnerable to salt than, say, people are? Primarily because chickens (especially laying hens) go through a LOT of water; their per-lb water consumption rate is substantially higher than peoples'. Thus they take in more mg salt per lb of body weight than would happen for a person relying on the same water supply.

    Frankly, softened water (i.e. run thru a water softener; as opposed to *naturally* soft water e.g. in some parts of the country) is not particularly healthy for PEOPLE either; if laundry and shampoo are important enough that you want to keep the water softener, it is at least worth having a side branch run off the plumbing from *before* the softener to a drinking-water tap at the kitchen sink and perhaps the bathroom sink too, and ideally you'd replumb the coop water to run off this supply too.


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