Will dirty water hurt my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cindy57, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. cindy57

    cindy57 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2011
    I have 4 ducks that I keep with my chickens. They have a plastic swimming pool for a pond and it gets dirty fast! Even tho I put fresh water in the waterers my chickens will still go to the "pond" perch on the edge and drink out of it. Is this going to hurt them and why do they prefer the yucky water to the fresh water I just put out?
  2. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2009

    I have no idea, but this is what they do. It is a bit of an insult when they go for filth over the clean water that you provide.

    I have yet to have a chicken become ill from drinking duck pool water.
  3. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Ducks crap-up everything.

    I'd suggest you at least change the water every day: at least once.

    I've never had a duck make a chicken sick, but regardless of what the chicken chooses I'm going to make sure their water is clean at least once a day!
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My chickens have been thriving drinking dirty duck water--their choice, fresh is avail--for four years. They also drank from puddles in the horse corral and other places when they were free ranged. I think they like the flavor lol! Remember, their systems are different than ours, they can tolerate the nasty things like that.
  5. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2011
    No it wont hurt them. They like it better because it has the smell and taste of nature, what some call filth and disgust.

    There are bacteria, algae, and a host of other things in the water that the birds need for their digestive tract, overall health, and nutrition in that water that takes time, sunlight, fresh air and a little poo to grow.

    There is a reason for all that bacteria out there, rather than battle constantly agains it, we choose to embrace it.

    Just my opinion though.
    1 person likes this.
  6. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
  7. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Tulsa, Ok
  8. BCchick

    BCchick Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2011
    My chickens drink from the duck pool as well, even though fresh water is available to them in two different waterers. It hasn't harmed them any.
  9. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Previously Barred Babies Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Pride, La.
    Quote:X2 I've had mine bypass the nice clean water for a nasty puddle!! That's why it's a hoot to listen to people brag about how much their birds "appreciate" nice clean freah water!!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  10. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    From someone who has had over 100 ducks and 13 geese a time and who uses kiddie pools, I know that there is not just dirt in the water in those pools. It's a compilation of POOP AND dirt. When I clean the pools and the dishpans that I use for drinking water, I see poop from all of these animals. Even ducks can get Botulism, which is a deadly disease from drinking dirty water that is contaminated with bacteria. My animals get fresh water 2 times a day - the AM when I get up before I go to work and in the PM when I'm back from work.

    So not only should you be worried about your chickens, you should be worried about your ducks as well.

    I prefer my animals to have fresh water so that there are no future problems. Just my 2 cents.

    Although the info below relates to ducks and the OP asked about chickens, it goes to show that muddy/dirty water CAN be deadly. I have had first hand experience with botulism - caused by my ducks drinking dirty water alongside the road (stagnant water hole), so I know the harm that it can do to my animals. This is why I offer fresh water 2 times a day for my animals.

    Symptoms: loss of muscular control of legs, wings and neck - hence the term limber-neck. Birds are unable to swallow.
    Cause: toxins produced by bacteria (Clostridia) in decaying animal and vegetable waste. The toxins cause the problem.
    Treatment: avoid problems by keeping ducks out of muddy/dirty areas and stagnant pools, especially in hot weather. The bacteria multiply rapidly in warmer temperatures in anaerobic conditions (where oxygen is excluded). Give affected birds fresh drinking water. If necessary, introduce water into the mouth and throat with a syringe (no needle). A crop tube could be used with the advice of a vet. Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate, available from the high street chemist) to the water. This is an old remedy which is still used. Recommended amounts vary from 1 tablespoon in one cup of water to 1 ounce per 50 fluid oz ( two and a half pints) of water.​
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

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