chickens dying of thirst?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rugerham, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. rugerham

    rugerham Out Of The Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    I'm a newbie and this is my first time raising chickens. I have two hens which were very young when I got them. That was about 10 months ago and they have FINALLY started laying eggs!! [​IMG]

    They have had the same 2 gallon plastic waterer since the day I brought them home. It is a standard type waterer that is shaped like a bell with a red tray at the bottom where the water collects and a plastic dome were the water is stored. It hangs by a chain which leaves the red water dish suspended about 2 inches off of the ground.

    Every day or so I go out and dump the dirty water and allow the bottom to refill with clean water. The 2 gallon reservoir lasts them about 5 days and then I have to take it out to refill it.

    They are in an enclosed area with no other water source and though I have never seen them drink from the waterer, I know they must be or they would have been dead long ago.

    What has started happening within the last two weeks is that every time I dump out the dirty water, the hens will run over and drink as much water as possible from the dirt and mud before it sinks in to the ground. It is as if they were dying of thirst or something. The waterer will be right there in their faces and they don't seem to notice it, but if I pour some out, they will immediately start to drink it up from the ground.

    Does anyone have any ideas why they are doing this?

  2. Sleepy71

    Sleepy71 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    Maybe they just prefer fresh water.
  3. rugerham

    rugerham Out Of The Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    Quote:I probably didn't make myself clear. They are drinking the dirty water that I just dumped out of the tray.
  4. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Give them a big bowl of water -- like crockery -- mine like to dunk practically their whole head in the water, something they are unable to do in those plastic water reservoirs. It won't hurt to give it a try. (Chickens have been known to die of thirst because they either don't get or won't use the water nipple system, so it is possible for them to die of thirst even with water right there.)

  5. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    I put a tablespoon of Braggs in every gallon of the water my chickens get and they empty that themselves from the waterer. Don't know about your problem.
  6. rugerham

    rugerham Out Of The Brooder

    May 17, 2011
    Quote:Thank you. I will do that and I bet they will love it, though I don't relish the idea of another thing to take care of in their coop.

    I just wonder why they all of the sudden started doing this when they've had this waterer for 10 months now. I don't know if it is just a coincidence or not that this behavior started at the same time they started laying.
  7. DancingHen

    DancingHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Central Oregon Coast
    I do think you can try different styles of can't hurt (except to make work for you [​IMG]) But I wonder if they just think you are throwing a treat on the ground? My chickens have several waterers in several locations, and they all know how to use them. However, whenever I dump one to get rid of anything they kicked into it they all ruch over and peck the wet ground.....the same way they do if I throw down food treats or even fresh litter in the coop. Maybe your girls are just hoping for a treat. [​IMG] Just a thought.
  8. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    Mine drink from both. When I dump the old water out, they too run for it like it was some amazing treat. I do think you should change your water more often but that is just my opinion. I put a tablesppon of Apple Cider Vinager in my 3 gallon water dispenser and it keeps it from getting slimy and they don't seen tomind. They gooble it up. The apple cider vinager is suppose to be good for them too. I bet your chickens are fine or they would not have lived this long with out water. It's just curiousity and who can get to it first to gobble it up.
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    My chickens also jump in and go after dumped water, and then they go over and start digging around where the waterer sat. That's what chickens do, they're just nosey. I have tried every style of waterer out there, and they love those wide shallow metal or rubber pans. Since it is very cold here now, they are drinking out of low electric dog waterers that only come on when itis necessary to keep the water thawed.
  10. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

    Nov 6, 2009
    I have 5 different types of waterers in my back yard. If I bring out the hose or dump something to clean it, they all run over and drink and kind of roll their eyes. Maybe the dirt adds a little something to the flavor. LOL If they have fresh water and it's kept filled, they're doing ok. I think it's just a wacky chicken thing. Then again, my dogs do it too, so there ya go.

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