Additional water source for free-range chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dragonfly08, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. dragonfly08

    dragonfly08 New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2014
    Central NY
    Hi all! I'm a BYC newbie and also a newbie to raising chickens. This site has helped us tremendously before we took the chicken plunge and in those initial few weeks, not to mention helping us build a coop, etc.
    We have 6 pullets of various breeds that free-range during the day. We let them out of their coop/run (pop door still not made/installed yet, which so far is working out due to summer temps) in the morning and they roam around our property on their own all day, returning back to the coop by 7:30pm in their own. We lock the coop/run door at the end of the day. My girls are ~18 wks old (4 of them) and -12 wks old (other 2). We keep a waterer inside run that uses nipple system as well as a trigger feeder, also in the run. The girls use both, more frequently in early mornings or evenings... Occasionally, we see them returning to the run during the daytime to drink/feed. But they are usually outside, foraging and exploring. Lately, I've been noticing that as soon as they are let out in the morning, they will run out and start drinking from any water source they may find, whether it's a rain puddle on the driveway or standing water in an empty flower pot. Is this a sign that I should be providing additional water for them outside of the coop?

    For those who let their birds free-range, do you provide additional waterers elsewhere on your property?
     
  2. Stiggy

    Stiggy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2014
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    Sounds like they are thirsty birds, the heat does that. I have multiple water containers which I fill up daily so that they never run short. Personally I find it helps because they aren't drinking 'foul' water that's been lying around, going green full of mosquitoes etc its also a peace of mind for me that they have fresh clean water
     
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]

    I'm not understanding your set up.....are the birds confined only to the coop overnight, or access to the run, also? If only the coop, and it's around 12ish hours, then yes, they need water in there. That or get an auto pop door installed.
     
  4. dragonfly08

    dragonfly08 New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2014
    Central NY
    Thanks, Stiggy... I will be putting out some additional waterers today. I guess part of it must be the summer heat.

    Donrae... thanks for the welcome! For clarity, my birds have had access to the run ever since we moved them into the coop since we haven't not installed the pop door yet. So they do have access to water whenever they want.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Okay, I was confused when you talked about not having a pop door, if that meant you were confining them to the coop only or they had the run of both. I don't have a door, myself, just an opening in the wall of the coop and they come and go as they please, like yours. Much easier for me that way [​IMG]

    If they have 24 hour access to fresh water, they may be getting some trace minerals from the alternate drinking sources. My birds have fresh water available, but when I fill the kiddie pool for the ducks and let it overflow, I have a line of birds drinking from the puddle it makes. When they free ranged, they'd choose to drink from puddles in the horse paddocks much of the time. They get a good balanced feed, and lots of scraps, so [​IMG].
     

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