How to keep clean water in the coop September 8, 2013
How do you keep clean water in the coop? Having clean water in the coop at all times is important for keeping healthy chickens, but achieving this can be a challenge. I don’t know about you, but for me, litter and poop in the water is the main problem I encounter. It seems that no matter where I put their waterer, they find a way to scratch poop in it!
With my first coop, I used a homemade waterer constructed from a large vinegar bottle and a cut bucket. As soon as I placed it in the coop, I quickly realized that it was too close to the roost, making it a poop target! Next, I placed it in the run so they wouldn’t roost over it. But they did try to roost ON it, often tipping the bottle over and leaving them waterless. Also, somehow just in walking around it they managed to get poop in it!
I tried a few other designs making the saucer smaller so they had less area to soil, but most of my DIY waterer designs still needed to be cleaned out daily, negating the low maintenance benefits of a self-filling waterer. Eventually, we bought some commercial waterers including a traditional galvanized waterer. The larger volume made it nice because I had to fill it less… but I still needed to clean out the saucer daily as they would stand around close to it and poop. The design of the commerical waterer is made to prevent roosting on top, but they still occasionally managed to stay on top long enough to poop in the water. Elevating it with metal base helped some, but it was still an issue.
The solution I finally came up with to keep clean water in the coop was to cage in the water! It was such a simple solution. The chickens can put their heads through the 2″x4″ opening, but can’t fit their back ends through to poop in the water! Using just a scrap of welded wire, I made a semicircle to the side of the cage that the waterer would fit in.
This has been a great solution for us. It works with all our different waterers (commercial and homemade), and the wire can easily be bent for a custom fit. It keeps the chickens from roosting on top of the waterer. In addtion to keeping their butt away from the water it also limits how much they can scratch dirt and food into the water, keeping clean water in the coop longer!
Although this has worked great I am always looking to improve. Future blog post spoiler alert: I am currently working on modifying my current coop so it will become coop 2.1! These modifications may require the waterer placement be changed. Since I have to change it anyway, I have been looking into trying chicken nipple waterers, which I was investigating before I came up with this wire fence solution. We will see—maybe I will just stick with what works.
What solutions have you came up with to keep clean water in the coop?