Many people don’t include information about water in their information about keeping chickens – because it is, well, just water isn’t it? Well, in fact there is much to be said about drinking water for chickens and it is absolutely essential for their well being.
Here are the main things you need to know about water:
Water needs to be fresh: if you leave it in the container for a few days at a time, it will start to go stagnant and turn green. Now chickens can drink out of a muddy puddle but that water is usually fresh rain water and the mud will do them no harm – but water kept in plastic containers that has turned green should be though of as “bacteria soup” and is the sure way to be asking for trouble with diseases.
A chicken’s body is constantly challenged by bacteria that cause diseases in their environment. Their body will build up an immunity (known as acquired immunity), however giving them large doses of “bacteria soup” will risk them becoming ill so change water daily or at least every other day.
When you change their water, watch them rush over and take a drink – they do appreciate clean drinking water!
Water needs to be kept in the shade during very hot weather: Chickens can handle the cold very well, they fluff up their feathers to trap air which insulates their body, however they can’t handle the heat very well. They can’t sweat, they can only pant to lose heat through the air they breathe out and drink water to cool themselves down. During very hot weather, it is best to place their (fresh!) water in a shaded position (and after reading about shelter for chickens under the ‘Getting Started’ menu, you will of course be providing them with adequate shade.
Water containers left in the sunlight can soon heat up the water inside to a high temperature which means chickens can’t lose as much heat by drinking.
Water containers for chickens come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your needs. Some are galvanised and will last a very long time but the majority are plastic.
- Last a life time, withstands Knocks
- Withstands frost
- Cannot be used to give Apple Cider Vinegar since the acid corrodes the galvanising
- Doesn’t show you how much is left in the container.
- Can be used to give Apple Cider Vinegar in the water
- Shows you how much water is left
- Will only last a couple of years – bases crack, locking bits snap off or handles break, colours fade in the sun.
- Will crack if you drop or knock it when full.
There is a full range of water containers for sale on this page at Wells Poultry who I have used for years.