The Importance of Water

It is important for your chickens and other poultry to always have access to an adequate supply of clean, fresh drinking water.  This is even more important during hot weather, when a chicken’s water requirements increase significantly.

When chickens don’t have enough water, they can quickly become dehydrated.  Hens that lack sufficient water will produce fewer eggs.  Going without water too long can force a hen into a molt, which may stop her egg production entirely. Young chickens that are still growing will grow more slowly if they don’t have sufficient water.

Several factors can cause chickens to fail to get enough water even when water is available.  One factor is water temperature.  Chickens prefer a water temperature of 55° F.  If water is hotter or colder than the ideal temperature, they will drink less of it.  Keep waterers in the shade during the summer months so that the water will stay cooler.  Palatability is another factor.  If water does not taste good to the chickens, they will drink less. Dissolved minerals and medications can cause water to be less palatable. Avoid adding medications to chicken waterers during hot weather.

For more information on water, dehydration, and heat stress, see The Chicken Health Handbook, by Gail Damerow.

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4 Responses to The Importance of Water

  1. Christy Kosta says:

    Diddyville, TN had record heat all summer! We put out 4 shallow pools for the chic-chicks to play in. We (my girls & I) also played with the hose very often.

  2. Hap Smith says:

    Here in south east Missouri, we had a really hot summer, hotter than normal. What we did to make sure our chickens always had clean cool water, plus a place to wet their feet, helping to keep them cool. We had our water hose hanging over a corner on the fence, with the nozzle slightly opened, allowing a cool mist. The dripping was falling into a water bowl, which they loved. We also make sure they can get to plenty of shade during the day.

  3. Angel Mountin says:

    I house my birds inside, due to coyote. In the summer, I mist them with the garden hose and a spray mister. They love it, and it gives them a 10° temperature drop.

  4. Jennifer Fisk says:

    During the really hot, 75+, we had this summer I sprayed the weeds from the garden that I was giving my birds so they would get a little extra moisture.

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