Chickens not using waterer at all

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Specialk1979, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. Specialk1979

    Specialk1979 In the Brooder

    Jun 28, 2014
    Wolfeboro, NH
    We have free ranging chickens and with winter approaching we switched from a waterer with a bottom nipple to a larger bucket with horizontal nipples to accommodate a deicer. Since switching over a month ago, the chickens have not touched it at all. I've marked the water level each time I changed it out, it never goes down. They had a brook in the yard in which they always preferred to use, however we just got a foot of snow and it's no longer acceptable. It's been 4 days without access to the brook and they still haven't touched the waterer. I think they are eating the snow, any ideas how I can get them to use the waterer? They had access to the waterer when we let them out of the coop and into the run, where they stay for an hour or two before being let loose. It concerns us because we may not always be able to let them out in the morning. We've tried showing it to them, loading the nipples so they can see the water..they had no issue using the bottom nipples before but seem to protest against the bucket with the side nipples!
  2. IMO let them drink whatever they want, if they want to eat snow let them... Just always offer the water just in case they need it, when push comes to shove they will figure out the nipples...
  3. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Songster

    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    In winter, when all streams are frozen, birds eat snow.... Have you showed them the nipples and dribbled water out from them WHILE one or two is close enough to see what you are doing..... The do need teaching...
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It does take some training...I did my training when the birds were confined and I had time so was able to observe closely.

    I took all other water sources away....and just kept tapping the pin over and over on and off during the day.

    I had 3 age groups of chicks ranging from 3 days to 6 weeks...the youngest caught on the quickest, the oldest took the longest.

    Once one in the group got it most the others followed suit but some still needed further training/coaxing.

    The older flock took longer to get it, but they had snow at that point so I just let them figure it out without providing other water.

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