Terribly cold temps and I can't get the chickens to drink any water!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Pip4Chirp, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

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    We're in the middle of the polar vortex and it is just miserably cold. The water is freezing over every 2 hours and I've been lugging warm water out to the chickens all day. But they are not drinking! I also thought they would be eating more than usual to stay warm but they seem to actually be eating less. I've offered warm mash (no thanks), warm oatmeal (yum!), warm cooked corn (maybe just a little), scratch (just the black sunflower seeds) and warm cooked pumpkin. They seem basically fine - outside in the (tarped) run and not moving around as much as usual. The've made little nests in the straw in the warmest corner. Why won't they drink??? (And why didn't I buy a heated waterer while the roads were still drivable?!)
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  3. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Heated waterers are great! But they can wait until it's safe to buy one (or order online and let the postal workers do the hard part for you). Be very careful with homemade electrical stuff, if the coop burns down they will be far worse off than having cold water.

    I think they just aren't thirsty, they sure aren't sweating in this weather! As long as they get liquid water once a day, they will survive the cold. I know if sounds cruel, but chickens are survivors. When you take water to them tomorrow morning they will be much more likely to drink.
     
  4. Indiana feather

    Indiana feather Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey there Pip4Chirp. Winter has come to town like its serious eh? It sure sounds like your chickens are getting their share of treats... I can tell you care about them and i share your concern on the drinking thing as we all know chickens drink a bunch of water. I wanted to share something that I experienced today that may be of interest to you. Yesterday I bought one of those heated bases for a double walled metal fountain. When i went out to check on my birds today the water wasn't frozen which is a good thing... the bad thing was that it was like bath water and pretty warm to the touch. I emptied the fountain and refilled with cold water. Immediately my three birds came to the water and drank a bunch of cold water. After thinking about it, i do not like drinking warm water either. I'm thinking about putting that heater on a timer so that it comes on for a few hrs then off for a few. Something to consider. Maybe try bringing them cold water and see what happens. Actually warm water will freeze faster than cold water... it don't make sense but it is true. Good luck my friend.[​IMG]
     
  5. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow - I had no idea warm water would freeze faster but it did seem to just freeze immediately today. I'm about to take them out their last water for the day and I'll make sure it's cold. This must also go for the warm food I've taken out - it turns into ice almost before I've got the door shut!

    My mom found a heated waterer that is supposed to keep the water temp right at 32 degrees for around $30. Sounds like that may be a purchase well worth the $$.

    Thanks for your support!! It's our first winter with chickens....
     
  6. Indiana feather

    Indiana feather Out Of The Brooder

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    No problem... its my first winter with chickens too... we'll get it figured out.. enjoy your birds!
     
  7. jmagill

    jmagill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My birds drink more and lay more when the water is warmer in the winter. Not hot but more like tepid.
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    A lot of people don't know that warm water will freeze faster than cold.
    The phenomenon where warm water freezes faster than cold water is known as the Mpemba effect and named after the high school student that discovered the phenomenon.

    As far a hot foods for your birds,,,, they can start to freeze faster but more impotently the "warmth" they receive from the hot food only lasts a short time and your birds are "cold" again sometimes this can lead to health problems.
    You would be far better off feeding animal proteins, animal fats and a little extra proteins.
    In the winter my birds get there regular feed which is 20% protein and once or twice a day they get a mixture of fish pellets and Bil-Jac frozen dog food.
     
  9. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

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    That makes a lot of sense - chickens would have trouble finding warm food outside in these temps! I'll keep their food on the cool side, especially in this frigid weather. As for the Bil-Jac, I'll have to talk with the dogs. That's the brand of dog food I buy. They're already upset with the chickens getting so much of the table scraps. ;)

    I'm also thinking this warm water freezing faster than cold water would make a fantastic science fair experiment. This forum is great!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Feeding warm food in cold weather seems like a good idea, and they'll eat just about anything with gusto...
    ...but....
    Warm food in cold weather will create condensation/steam, adding humidity to the coop which you really should avoid.
    It can also cause condensation to form on their skin(combs, wattles, face), moisture on skin in freezing weather=frostbite.
     

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