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Hens use watering nipples but chug water when let out of the run!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Our hens are 6 months old and have been using vertical watering nipples since the brooder. I have seen every hen use the nipples in the run and all seem healthy and are providing eggs. However, when we let the hens out of the run to free range, they immediately find a puddle and drink for 10 minutes straight. All circled around it chugging water. The other day we put out a gallon bucket of water and they drank almost half of it in the morning. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Our routine is usually that we open the run at 8 am and close it after they go in for the night, about 7 pm. Their free range area is 50 x 50. Here is a couple pics of the waterer in the run and the free range.

 

 


Edited by gen2racer - 3/31/16 at 6:31am
post #2 of 5

Are your nipples fixed into a container that you can use to measure/monitor the water intake on a given day?  If so, I would suggest you determine how much is taken in from the nipple system in a 24 hour period -- knowing just how much is going out through the nipples and how many birds are in the flock would be helpful in determining if they are getting "enough" or not. 
That being said, puddles are naturally attractive to them no matter how much water is available in a water station.

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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I do not currently have any way to measure the amount drank per day but I could easily modify it to find out. The water comes from a 55 gallon barrel. I suppose I would need to lock them in for the day to really see. They are only locked in the run for a short time in the morning, then only return a few times a day to lay and eat pellets and maybe drink some water.

 

post #4 of 5

I don't worry about it anymore.  Seems no matter what kind of waterer they have access to, as soon as they get out and find a mud puddle, dab of melting snow, or dog dish, they drink like they'd been deprived for weeks in a desert. I watched one eye a drop of water on the tip of a leaf for a bit before hitting it like it was manna from Heaven!   I know they are hydrating well using the nipples. Eggs are fine, health is great, and that never waivers whether they have access to water from another source or have been confined for extended times due to weather or us being out of town.  If they weren't getting enough, we'd know it.  So I crossed that off my list of things to fret about.  Goodness knows they give me enough other junk to sweat so one less thing is always good.  As long as I keep their water bucket cleaned out once in a while and always topped off with fresh water, it's all good.  

 

We also put a hole in the top of their water bucket and put a piece of a bamboo skewer on a bobber.  We put lines on the skewer.  As the level in the bucket goes down, the skewer goes down with the level and I can see from outside at a glance if I need to add more water.  We rigged a PVC pipe from outside going directly into their bucket. If I see they need water, I take the cap off the PVC, stick the hose in, and start filling, watching the skewer come up.  Of course, that only works in the summer, but that's when we're gone the most and it makes checking water much easier for our little chicken sitter, Katie.  She turned 10 in December but has been caring for the chickens for us when we're gone since she was 8 - and doing a bang up job, too!

post #5 of 5

I notice the same thing. My 9 pullets have a 5 gallon water jug with 2 horizontal cup waterers.  If I stand there and hit the float and fill the cups all the way up they will stand there and drink all day long.  I know they are getting water normally as I am getting eggs and the haven't free ranged very much so they would have dehydrated by now.

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