Adding apple cider vinegar to your chickens' water a few times a week not only makes the water more palatable to them, it keeps your waterers cleaner and controls the bacteria both in the water and in the hens' digestive systems. It increases calcium (as well as other mineral) absorption, so your chickens will get more 'bang for the buck' from the layer feed and eggshells or oyster shell you provide them. ACV also acts as an antiseptic by killing the germs that cause respiratory problems - which chickens are extremely susceptible to - in the throat and promotes healthy mucous flow. ACV is even thought to combat coccidia. [Read more HERE about the benefits.] But will adding some ACV to the water keep it from freezing in the winter as some claim?
On the surface, it seems that adding apple cider vinegar to water will lower the freezing point a bit since vinegar freezes at 28 degrees, four degrees lower than water which freezes at 32 degrees. But I wanted to try my own experiment, so I filled three identical ramekins with water. One I left as is. To one I added a Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and I floated a pingpong ball in the third. I set the three ramekins in the shade on our back steps.
After about an hour, I went out to check their progress. I was very surprised to see that the ping pong ball had frozen into the surface of the water! I have long used a few ping pong balls in our water tubs in the winter because the slightest breeze will set them bobbing and keep the water molecules from staying still long enough to freeze up. But apparently if there's no wind at all, the ball actually causes the water to freeze FASTER. Interesting.
Then I turned my attention to the other two ramekins. The plain water was frozen solid, but the water with the ACV in it was still slushy and I could easily poke my finger into it. So, clearly I had caught it somewhere between 28-32 degrees.
In another hour, all three water dishes were frozen solid. So the unofficial results of my experiment lead me to believe that adding apple cider vinegar to water hardly makes any difference in its freezing point, keeping in mind that the Tablespoon I added to the one cup of water was a far greater concentration than the Tablespoon I would normally add to an entire GALLON of water for the chickens to drink.
Bottom line, while apple cider vinegar isn't going to keep your water from freezing much longer than plain water, except possibly when the temperature is above 28 and below 32, it will still provide numerous benefits and keep your chickens healthy through the winter, so keep adding it to your water a few times a week. And as long as there's a bit of a breeze, your best bet is to use large black water tubs set in the sun and float a few ping pong balls in the water and hope for a bit of a breeze.
For more tips on keeping water from freezing this winter, click HERE.
Making your own Apple Cider Vinegar is very easy, just takes a bit of time, learn how HERE.