How long can a chicken go without food/water? (Bad, guilty owner)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Schrebergaertner, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Schrebergaertner

    Schrebergaertner Songster

    Dec 13, 2010
    OK, I'll start off by saying the story has a happy ending, but I still don't deserve to own my flock. We put our rooster in the garage in a dog crate at night for neighbor peace reasons. Once or twice I've forgotten to take him out in the morning and he's spent a whole day in there, with no apparent ill effects. This week I went on a trip for three days and in the hubbub of getting packed and catching cabs and planes I must have forgotten to take him out. I didn't realize it until the night I got back and I went to put him away and he was not in the coop. It didn't even dawn on me that I forgot him--I actually started to suspect that the neighbor might have relocated him. Once I realized what I had done, I fully expected to find a long-dead roo in the box. Much to my surprise and relief, he was alive and appeared OK. I turned on the coop lights and let him roam for a while, but he didn't go for food or water--just went up to roost with his girls. This morning he was fine, eating, drinking, wooing, etc.

    So my question is whether anyone knows, from experience or otherwise, how long a chicken can go without food or water? Not that I ever plan to do such a horrible thing again, I'm just curious whether he's a super-chicken, or if this is par for the course.

  2. trippy

    trippy Chirping

    Nov 6, 2009
    phewf! :) i am not sure how long they can go but i do know that before you butcher chickens some people take away their food and water for a few days to make sure the gullet is empty so it is less messy when you cut them say probably 3 days would be the max but i have no idea.. glad to hear he was ok :)
  3. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    Usually they get dehydration in a couple of days. I'm really glad your bird is alright. I'd say you are very fortunate he did not die.
  4. jillychickadee

    jillychickadee Hatching

    May 20, 2013
    Temperature would make a big difference. Obviously, if it is very hot, then chickens (and all critters) need more water, more often. I think you got very lucky. Maybe think about getting a guinea pig waterer that you can attach to the dog kennel just in case. My girls use a hanging nipple system, so I imagine the rooster would peck at it and get the idea if needed.
  5. liliyfield

    liliyfield In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2013
    Last week I had a medical emergency that landed me in the hospital for 4 days. Before I went to the ER, I put my dogs in their dog yard, and let the chickens out of the coop. I couldn't stand the idea of them being without a chance for food and water if they kept me .
    They kept me, however, my son came out and stayed the week, so he could feed and water them. He called me the next day to tell me that my buff orptington was not in the coop. I thought for sure she had been killed by a dog, because dogs hunt in the day. That was Monday 7 days ago. She was one of my older hens and a pet. When I got out of the hospital, I looked around to see if there were any feathers none. I missed her and was going to go and buy another one at auction.
    Today, exactly one week later, I went out to feed them. As I was putting Corn in the geese feeder, I saw a little beak poking out from under their 3 gal tub. I lifted the tub, and there was Buffy, alive and apparently well!! She was a whole lot thinner, but seemed to be ok. Although I did put her in the sick c

    oop by herself, until I am sure she is going to be OK. Thank God the weather was not hot, and there were some days of rain,
    I am just so glad I have her back, and thank God she didn't die while trapped under that tub.
    Buffy with her brood of RR and Isa's last year.

    Last edited: May 4, 2015
    kendallj likes this.
  6. I am glad your rooster was ok.

    I have two incidents. One with a RIR my boys were playing with. We count them by theirs breeds as they go into the coop yard. We were missing her for 3 days. I pick up a planter (the plastic light weight black ones that blueberry bushes come in) and there is the missing RIR. She didn't make a sound for 3 days. I guess she thought night went on for a long time that day.

    The second was with our only speckled sussex. I changed feed from the chick crumbles to the broiler feed. She looked off to me. But she looked like another chicken had after it broke a wing. Nothing I did helped with the first one and it healed on it own and fine so I just left her to heal up on her own. one weak after I found her under the feet of the other chickens. I tried to help, but it was too late. None of the other chickens had issues with the change so I didn't realize till later her lowered wings were from weakness not from a break.

    You never know how long they can last. It depends on their health at the time I believe. unfortunate for the chickens, part of the learning curve is losing a couple or learning from a mistake made.

    Don't feel like a bad owners just make a plan so that doesn't happen again. It's all we can do.
  7. liliyfield

    liliyfield In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2013
    I have to agree with you. Thank God we do learn. I am so thankful that my pet buff is still alive. I still can't figure out why, but she is that is all that matters to me. I don't know how she got trapped under the tub. The only thing I can figure that her body went in to stasis of some kind. She never made a peep when I was feeding the geese, and I wouldn't even have noticed her today, if she hadn't pf poked her beak out. She is still in the recovery coop. But I have checked on her over and over today and she is still doing fine. She is an old hen, now over 4 years old, she imprinted on me as a baby peep . As I said she is a pet. I don't know how she turned the tub over, but it kept her safe from predators. I am only thankful I found her. She was a good broody hen last summer, and raised 9 baby pullets I bought from the feed store. I love orps.
  8. She is pretty. Glad she is ok!
  9. Sussexlover

    Sussexlover In the Brooder

    Jun 28, 2015
    Don't feel too bad. A treatment for chickens with crop impactation is to have them not eat much for two to three days so that the crop can catch up with itself. They can survive it great. :)
  10. deviled

    deviled In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2015
    Is overnight ok for 10 week old pullets to be without food and water if they have had access to food and water all day?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: