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How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water (How Much Do They Need?)

chickens drinking water

Owning chickens is a big job, and requires a lot of time and attention. If you are planning or have just started with your own coop, you might be concerned about what happens if you need to leave home for a day or two. Leaving enough feed out to last overnight is easy, but you might wonder what to do about water while you’re away or if you can’t water throughout the day.

How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water?

During their waking hours, chickens will constantly peck at food and take sips of water. Rather than going for a lot of water at once, they drink small amounts often throughout the day to stay hydrated.

According to The Happy Chicken Coop, it’s best to keep a constant supply of fresh water out during the day. Chickens that go 24 hours or more start to lose their ability to lay eggs, digest food, and do other chicken things. If they become very dehydrated, they might also start to molt, which is bad news. Chickens that begin to molt will need extra time to recuperate before producing eggs again.

chicken standing on waterer

How Much Water Do Chickens Need Each Day?

Just like knowing how much feed to use, calculating your flock’s daily water needs is not an exact science. Generally speaking, you can count on your chickens needing half a liter of water each per day. This amount might be higher if the weather is warmer or especially dry. Kassandra Smith at Backyard Chicken Coops also advises to plan on providing more water for meat chickens, which need more water to support their rapid growth rate.

How Do I Keep My Chickens Watered?

If you have a busy schedule and want to make sure that your chickens stay well hydrated, nailing down the right system to water them can be tricky. If you decide to stick with filling buckets you will want to provide a 5 gallon bucket for every 6 hens, according to The Happy Chicken Coop.

Providing more than one location for water keeps dominant chickens from becoming territorial and denying others resources. (They do this with food too, which is why it’s typically a good idea to have a couple of sources for both food and water.)

Automatic Chicken Waterers

If you aren’t able to wake up early each morning to water you chickens (or if you’re just not a morning person) an automatic waterer might be a great choice.These handy pieces of chicken tending technology typically attached to a water source (like a garden hose or tank) and slowly dispense water throughout the day.

automatic chicken watering bucket
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Automatic waterers come in a variety of styles to suit your needs. When purchasing, take a moment to think about the space you’ll install it in, how far it will be from the water source, and how many chickens will need to access it.

Folks living in cold areas will also want to make sure that they can properly insulate the water hoses or pipes during the winter to keep them from freezing.

More From The Hen’s Loft…

  1. How Much Should You Feed Your Chickens Every Day?
  2. Are Pickles Ok For Chickens To Eat?
  3. Are Strawberries Safe For Chickens To Eat?
  4. Do Skunks Eat Chicken Eggs?
  5. When Can Your Baby Chicks Live Outside Full Time?

(VIDEO) How To Make A DIY Chicken Waterer

how much water do chickens need every day

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