Heritage Breed Conservancy

Poultry Ponderings

Keeping Algae Out

Green, green, and more green! April 1, 2022

Now that hatching season is starting here, and our breeding groups are moving to their summer areas, we are all working hard to keep our waterers free of dirt and especially, the all encompassing algae growth. Here is a tip to keep your waterers clear. You may have wondered why our automatic waterer pails are green. There is a scientific reason for this. Plants, and algae are plants, have chlorophyll, which allows them to use sunlight to grow and spread. An interesting thing about chlorophyll, it processes different wave lengths of light, using the energy to produce food for the plants. The best wave lengths of light to promote plant growth are red and blue. But, plants can not utilize green light. That means that if you use green waterers, algae cannot use this light, and do not grow. Voila! Clean waterers! Unfortunately, poultry suppliers make most waterers in either white plastic, or blue (and I have had numerous conversations with the manufacturers about this!). Terrible for promoting algae growth and making it very difficult for us to keep clean. To mitigate this, if you have bought these white or blue waterers, you can actually paint the outside green. You need to roughen up the plastic a bit, and you can do that with a fine grade of sandpaper. This helps the paint to stick. We found that simple acrylic paint will work fine. The paint, however, only lasts for a season, before needing to be reapplied. You can also use silver flexible insulation to wrap around pails that you have little giant automatic waterers attached to, to keep light out, and this works as well, also helping to keep the water cool. But, the insulation breaks down after a season, especially when the hens pick at it! However, the easiest way is to actually buy dark green pails from suppliers such as Uline, and make your own automatic waterers. Just remember that the pails or waterers have to be entirely green and entirely covered. Any amount of unfiltered light getting through anywhere will promote algae growth. Happy spring!

About Us

Hi! I'm Laura. My husband and I run Sunexotics. I have always had a passion for preserving and protecting all animals. My latest journey is in preserving the heritage breeds of poultry, many of which are seriously in danger of disappearing forever.

Follow Me

New ponderings posted once a month.