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chickens - water vs mud

 
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any one else have this problem?

 
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I'm not sure they're after the mud, itself, but maybe whatever is in the mud? Mine do it, too, but when I look close, there's usually something else in their mouths, like a roly-poly, a little worm, a piece of grass, or something else. 🤔
 
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Perhaps they are more physically comfortable leaning down to get the water in the mud rather than going over the top of the water bucket?
 
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They have other water systems lower down.  They almost never drink it because the water stays too clean.   The Big one is low because i just cleaned and am refilling it.  They drink this the most,  but only after the ducks get it mucky.  They have no problem drinking from it when low.

They will give up treats to chase ground water.   It's their most favourite thing.
 
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Yes my chickens are the same.  I make sure they have fresh clean water every day, but they run to drink any water I dump on the ground.  I used to think they didn't like the water I gave them, thinking it wasn't a good container, or it was dirty, but now I think they just like dirty water. Yum
 
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The chicken may be looking to get some minerals from the mud.

Our deer much prefer a muddy patch of water to the water tank we furnish.  

Someone on the forum told me it was the mineral in the mud.
 
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My chickens do this as well. I seem to recall reading somewhere that they are just really into "novel" water. Anything outside their usual watering set up. I know mine love drinking off of anything that drips rainwater or a puddle of muddy rainwater, even if they have to get soaked to do it. They also love eating snow, practically attacking my boots to eat it if I track some into their covered run. Mine also prefer herbal tea to plain water. So it's either fancy tea or mud, I guess.

I suspect Anne may be onto something with the mineral thing. I've heard similar things about if you're trying to provide water for bees or butterflies, that they prefer water that has some dirt or funk to crystal clean water. Maybe it's probiotic from the soil bacteria?
 
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Keeping chickens out of our greywater ditch is my current least favorite hobby.
 
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It's a good thing that chickens love to drink dirty duck water, because as soon as while I am dumping  and refilling the water bins, the ducks charge in to be the first to get the clean water.
 
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My chickens and my dog, bother prefer funky water.
I think it might be the chemicals in the tap water that evaporate after sitting out.

 
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William Bronson wrote:My chickens and my dog, bother prefer funky water.
I think it might be the chemicals in the tap water that evaporate after sitting out.



I thought something similar was going on with mine so I've been filling up with water from our irrigation canal (diverted, untreated river water). Every time I dump it out, they're still interested in the dirty puddle.
The chickens are all on deep bedding though, so I think we fall more in the category of them finding interesting food bits in the puddle.
 
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When I cleaned out the chicken's water trough for a BB, they did not touch it until the algae had grown back.  It is rain water so no chemicals.  The cats and the chooks all prefer to drink from mud puddles or even the dam water rather than the fresh rain water we used to put in their dishes.  We now use the water from the dam for their drinking bowls which we fill in summer only.  The rest of the time they walk to the dams.  Chooks are happy to play in the mud when dust is not available from what I see with ours.
 
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My hens absolutely adore the place our basement sump pump empties out into the yard (we have a high groundwater table.)  they drink it, play in it, even walk around in it when weather is super cold.  And one or two will sometimes nestle down into the muddy ground as if laying an egg (no eggs there tho.)

I second the replies mentioning minerals, also the fact that it is easier to bend down rather than reach over the lip of a container.  And the one mentioning bugs being found in the muddy water.  All excellent points.  It is really just a more natural way for them to drink.  Our cat loves puddles too, more than his daily-refreshed reverse osmosis filtered bowl of water in the house.

Light bulb moment:  It could also have to do with "grounding."  My partner started putting one of the dogs' big metal water bowls in the chicken run because it was easier for him to refill than the plastic chicken waterers.  Once the girls figured it out, they now will drink from the metal bowl as well as the sump pump drain.  Maybe the minute difference in electrical activity/charge caused by connection to the ground rather than insulation from it is noticable by the chickens??

Now that I think about it, the dogs don't really like drinking out of plastic buckets either, although they will if that's all they can access.  They prefer drinking the same water out of metal and will ask for it (looking pointedly back and forth between me and their empty metal bowl) even when their plastic bucket is freshly filled.  Curiouser and curiouser.

 
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It's just bird brain instinct, ground puddles are for drinking. Just like a hen that's never seen dirt in her life, will still try to dust bathe in her cage.

When I was in the industry most of the systems were water nipples, but honestly birds do prefer an open water source and will drink more.

It's not about minerals. Bees also will go after dirty puddles instead of the cleaner water source. Our cats get super fascinated when I'm watering houseplants or watering in the greenhouse.
 
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I payed extra attention this week during water refill (thanks to this post!) and noticed a few things:
  • moving water (coming from the hose) was more interesting than the standing water near it, both puddle and vac waterer
  • Puddle water was about equally as interesting as water in a medium bowl when in close proximity to each other
  • This seems bird-dependent, some of my hens like being near TreatMan and others seem to think I'm an ogre.. Some like moving water and some are afraid they might get splashed. "That puddle has good things but so does this hole I'm digging"...


  • I have a gal in quarantine (yikes, sorry for bringing that up!) who showed no interest in drinking or leaving, until I made the mistake of dumping her dirty water outside, only THEN did I have to corral her back in.

    Instinct? Ignorance? Intelligence? IDK? It's fun to watch though!
     
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    Light bulb moment:  It could also have to do with "grounding."  My partner started putting one of the dogs' big metal water bowls in the chicken run because it was easier for him to refill than the plastic chicken waterers.  Once the girls figured it out, they now will drink from the metal bowl as well as the sump pump drain.  Maybe the minute difference in electrical activity/charge caused by connection to the ground rather than insulation from it is noticable by the chickens??


    Quite plausible, Water does change character with grounding and magnetic influence.  It changes from long chain high surface tension to different configurations that are more biologically compatible.  It is one of the things I learned in magnet therapy
     
    Beau Davidson
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    Light bulb moment:  It could also have to do with "grounding."  My partner started putting one of the dogs' big metal water bowls in the chicken run because it was easier for him to refill than the plastic chicken waterers.  Once the girls figured it out, they now will drink from the metal bowl as well as the sump pump drain.  Maybe the minute difference in electrical activity/charge caused by connection to the ground rather than insulation from it is noticable by the chickens??


    The grounded water hypothesis is fascinating and compelling, and as a staunch structured-water believer, I can't believe it's never occured to me before.  Light-bulb moment, indeed.
     
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    That's hilarious, and yes, mine do exactly the same thing. They like to drink stale or muddy water, and they like to fish in it too. They're just weird.
     
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    Muddy water has flavor, doncha know...

    Dog got water bucket full of gross. So I dump and replace it with fresh water, and was given this horrified look: "What did you do that for? I'd just got it to where it tastes good!" Dog then proceeded to very deliberately flop feet in water until it was gross again, then drank from it.

    Chickens are probably wired to seek sources of dissolved minerals (eggshells needing that) and naturally muddy water has a lot more dissolved goodies than does clean water.
     
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