Signs a hen is not drinking?


Mar 29, 2015
My Ameracauna (don't know how to spell it) was sick. She appears to have recovered (knock on wood) and she's acting just like she used too. When she was really sick, she would eat but not drink. Now she's outside all day, and I have seen her eat, but I haven't seen her drink. I don't spend all day out there checking though. If a chicken isn't drinking, will there be any signs? Like acting different or weird poo, or something?


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
When they get dehydrated they may pant especially if it is warm outside. Breathing will become labored. The face will pale, their poop can become very thin and watery. Sometimes only urates in it. The crop can back up and you will find food still in it in the morning since there wasn't enough water to move the food out of the crop over night. After long periods of dehydration the bird will become very weak and listless. They can have convulsions and eventually will die.

I would say if your bird is back to eating, she is also back to drinking. Generally an eating bird drinks well enough. However a bird that is drinking is not necessarily eating.

My birds tend to drink a lot right before going to roost. You can stop by at this time, check crops to see if they are eating and you will probably see them drinking as well.


Feb 26, 2015
Here's a tidbit about watering in - temps. If you are hauling water to your chickens during hard freezing weather (I realize most of you don't have to deal with frozen water, but some of us do).
Please note, if the chickens are drinking out of a bucket, watch very closely to be sure water doesn't freeze in their nostrils. It can happen in very cold circumstances. What we always did was used soaked feed instead (not fermented, just soaked and wet), then offer water later in the day when the danger has passed.

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