How quickly do chickens get dehydrated?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by horsewishr, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. horsewishr

    horsewishr Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    With the water freezing, I'm worried about dehydration. If I bring fresh water every morning (say 8:30 am), and assume it stays liquid for several hours at least, do they need water again before bedtime? At this time of year, it's dark by 6 pm.

    If this winter is like last year, there will be many days where the water won't freeze during the daylight hours. But it probably will at night.

    My coop light comes on at 5 am. This morning they were quite thirsty by the time I brought water. I felt bad. But it's not as if I can wake them up for a drink before they bed down. And I'm certainly not getting up at 5 am to bring them water.

    Do you think they'll be ok?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  2. hatchcrazzzy

    hatchcrazzzy Songster

    Jun 8, 2007
    kemp texas
    i would just make sure they had water at night and when you can in the morning
  3. bluerose

    bluerose Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    It's not necessarily dehydration but the risk of an impacted crop... etc.

    get a heated waterer.
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    We put a dog-water-bowl warmer ander it. Works great! plus if your waterer is in your coop and your coop is insulated the chicken's body heat MIGHT keep the temp above freezing. Those little birdies are HOT!
  5. horsewishr

    horsewishr Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    So how big is the risk of impacted crop? Is it common? Or does a chicken really need to get dehydrated to develop an impaction?

    I have horses, too, and I'd TOTALLY freak out if their water froze overnight. But horses stay awake and drink at night--whereas chickens don't. I know that horses need a lot of water. But I don't know if the same is true for chickens.

    I can do fresh water in the am, AND at about 3:30 pm (if necessary), when the horses get their afternoon snack. Again, it's dark by 5:30, so I don't see the chickens drinking beyond that hour, anyway.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  6. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Songster

    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    I'd just do the morning water, then check about 3:30 p.m. and see if the water is frozen. I have the black rubber pans that you can beat on to get the ice out if necessary. I keep one outside the coop, and one inside the coop, at each of my 5 coops. This morning it was 20 degrees when I got up, and all the outside pans were frozen with 1/2 inch ice when I let everyone out about 7 a.m. but all the inside pans were not frozen. So being inside, and the chickens apparently putting off some heat, seemed to help them a lot.
  7. Omeletta

    Omeletta Songster

    Jun 12, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    I put luke warm water out in the coop about 8:30 am and check again in the evening. It is a small well built, draft free insulated coop. We have -18 C with wind chill, so about -26 C [​IMG] and the water has just a skiff of ice on it. I change it anyways every evening. Those birds keep the coop pretty warm. Doesn't hurt to have a light on a timer either. My coop is so small that a light throws a bit of heat.

    Now if anyone could tell me what to do with my 11 rabbits so I am not changing water 3 times a day? I can't afford a doggie dish for every cage, and heat tape will get chewed...any thoughts?

  8. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    I check water morning and night for all my critters. They learn to drink it when it's offered.

    I have bunnies too, they have individual water bowls and I add hot water twice a day to melt the ice into drinkable water. Twice a day is enough for most animals.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  9. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I vote for a quick 5am visit. Then go back to your warm bed. [​IMG] or have a cup of Joe and go on-line [​IMG]

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