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Janet Macunovich

Additives in water okay for birds, wild things?

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We just received an emailed question:

Is there a chemical I can add to the birdbath water that is safe for birds to keep the water from turning slimy and black? Thanks for all you do, - D.S. -

 

First instinct, to answer "no." But then we recalled all the photos we have in file of frogs in ponds, looking like Easter Eggs in dye water -- one color above the water, one below -- because the pond had been dyed to cut light transmission/control weeds.

So, we ask you who try things: Do you know of anything that would help D.S.?

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You can get barley-based preparations, as I recall, that might help, but barley balls never stopped the algae in my pond. Scott at Grass Roots Nursery should have something. For small bird-bathing containers, all I do is wash them out frequently with the hose and use a rough sponge to scrape off any crud that's forming. In fact, I should go do that now... But I'm reluctant to put anything in water for birds that I wouldn't want in my own water.

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I don't have a bird bath, but here is an idea:

 

People have suggested pennies to keep down algae. Might work. Should be safe seeing as how our drinking water sees a lot of copper anyhow. Maybe that's why people threw pennies into fountains - not just for luck.

 

You might want to Google for toxicity of copper for birds.

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