cold weather - are my chickens drinking water?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by linkindna, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. linkindna

    linkindna Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 4, 2009
    Everett, WA
    We in western Washington are in the midst of a snow and ice storm. My yard has a foot of snow on the ground which is highly unusual for my area. The snow has been accumulating for a couple of days now and I've noticed that there aren't any chicken footprints leading to the chicken's water source. My hens have spent the last few days hanging out in the coop because of the weather. Do you think they are eating snow for water or could they be dehydrated? The water is not frozen, thanks to a birdbath heater but they don't appear to be drinking. Should I be concerned?

    Thanks for any info!
  2. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2011
    If it were me, I'd offer them water in the coop during the day since they're not coming out. A lot of chickens don't like snow if they're not used to it. This is my first winter with chickens and so far mine don't like the snow at all, and we've barely had any.
  3. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    It doesn't snow here but its winter. Chickens don't drink a whole lot of water in the winter compared to the summer. I still provide fresh water daily.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

  5. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    If they're not leaving the coop because of the snow, it's possible they are unsure of the snow. If that's the case, they aren't likely to be eating it. I'd make sure that they have regular, liquid water available.
  6. carladababe

    carladababe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2010
    Dixon, Missouri
    Hello, I live mid-Missouri where it is not snowing (at the moment,) but the temps are in the freezing range. I have food and water containers both out in the run and inside the coop. I change out the coop water at dark, warm water with the hopes it won't freeze too badly over night. I take the run water container in the house at night then impose on my early waking WONDERFUL husband to take fresh water out when he opens the coop door. I do have one of those heated dog bowls but have yet to use it. I am in the habit of frequently changing the water anyway. Stay warm.[​IMG]
  7. linkindna

    linkindna Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 4, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Thank you for the replies. I'll have to move their water into the coop tomorrow and hope that the ladies have enough sense in their heads to drink! [​IMG]
  8. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

    Sep 23, 2007
    Beaufort, MO
    I also live in Missouri where the temps are down in the 20's and teens tonight. I have base heaters that are made to sit galvanized waterers on. I also have one that is a plastic waterer that has the heater built into the base of it. My older chickens usually stay in the house all day for days when it is cold. They just can't handle the cold any longer and so having warm water available helps to keep them comfortable.
  9. Tomski

    Tomski Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan... It dropped to -14 last night with a wind chill in the -30's. When it's cold, It seems my chickens drink a lot more water. They will probably try and eat some snow but there is no way they can eat enough to hydrate themselves - plus, it will only drop their core temp. This year I am using the heated dog bowls - sitting up about 8 inches on concrete blocks. I do change the water out every every day but that's an easy chore. I fill a big plastic flower/garden spout type hand held waterer. I also bring in a 5 gallon bucket. I do a little "swish" with the heated bowl and empty the old water into the 5 gal bucket and then refill using the waterer with fresh water.

    The dog bowls come with relatively long, protected cord that "seems" to be chicken proof. I have not had any problems of them pooping or standing in it yet.

    You can pick the heated dog bowls up almost anywhere (wallmart, TSC, Online...etc.)

    Hope this helps.

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