Algae is a chlorophyll-containing, mainly aquatic eukaryotic organism, or more commonly referred to as the green stuff one finds in stagnant water. You can grow this stuff if you let water sit for awhile, but neither humans or chickens like it. And removing the algae can be a time consuming and tiring process. So this begs the question, is there a way to stop it from growing in the chicken’s water? Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this problem, one of them being quite easy and natural.
The manual labor method is the least easy way to remove the algae. One usually has to remove the water bucket, empty it, scrub the algae out from the bottom, then refill it. The problem is, if you don’t get all the algae out, it grows back even quicker. Highly recommend you not use bleach or other solvents because they are 1) bad for your chickens, 2) bad for you, and 3) they can break down the plastic water bucket releasing chemicals into the water.
The second thing you can do is position the bucket in the shade or wrap wrap it in an opaque material. The goal here it to remove all sunlight from hitting the water. Although this won’t stop the algae from growing, it will slow the process down. If you do relocate the bucket into the shade, don’t put in inside the chicken coop. Chickens are slobs and it’ll create a mess. The increased humidity is bad for the chickens.
Some people add chemicals to the water, but I highly recommend not doing this. I read an online forum in astonishment when a few people recommended adding a tiny bit of chlorine to the water, but that’s a really bad idea. Pool water is not good for you, or your chickens. It’s why you puke if you inadvertently drink too much and your eyes turn bloodshot red. Furthermore, the chlorine will be ingested by the chicken and passed to the egg. Then you too will be eating chlorine.
By far, the best organic solution is to add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to a 5 gallon container of water, like the Chicken Hydrator. This will increase the acidity level organically in the water making it darn near impossible for algae to grow. The only drawback is, it costs money.
Our chicken water bucket is still in the sun, but I have not seen any algae growing at the bottom since I started adding the apple cider vinegar. You can buy a 16oz bottle for about $5.00 on the web, but I’m sure you can find it in your local grocery store as well. A little goes a long way and a 16oz bottle should last about a year, but I guess that depends on how many chickens you have. The cool thing is, the chickens don’t mind the change in taste and the vinegar helps keep their vent clean. Give it a shot! It’s a great all organic solution.