Water question: Sugar, Vitamins, Electrolytes... What do I add when?


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 27, 2010
Indianapolis, IN
Hi, all. I've gotten myself a little confused with my 4-day-old chicks. I got Poly-vi-sol without iron. I have sugar. I have water with electrolytes. I used sugar water for day one (1 tsp per qt waterer). I tried the vitamin water the next morning, which they didn't care for (one dropper per qt. waterer).

It's HOT and humid here. Should I be using electrolytes instead?

I want to make sure they are getting the right hydration and nutrition. One seems to still have very loose, diarrhea like poo. But they are all active, eating and drinking, etc. Can anyone give me some guidelines on what to use when? Likewise, how often should I be changing their water for fresh, even if their waterer still seems fullish?



D'Angelo N Va.

10 Years
Dec 28, 2009
I generally don't give mine anything. sometimes the runny poo is just because they have just started eating and drinking..it should clear up in a day or two at the most...however, I did read the package of elctrolytes I have in the refrig..and it didn't say you couldn't give it to babies..but I would be very careful seeing is that little systems is still VERY sensitive.


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
With my last flock I used nothing but plain water, changed three times a day. In my new flock, now four days old, I tried both sugar water and electrolytes to save a weak chick, but it didn't help unfortunately. She passed night before last.
Now the rest of them are back on plain water. My adult flock is getting electrolytes in their water, as they do every summer when it starts to get steamy outside.
Here's what Ideal Hatchery's packing slip says: "After two days of fresh water, give 3 days of vitamin supplment (Salisbury Soluble Vitamins & Electrolytes) in the water at the recommended dosage level. This can be repeated for three days every other week. We do not recommend the use of vitamins and electrolytes on a continuing basis or their use above the manufacturers recommendation. The proper use of vitamins and electrolytes in teh water will help prevent leg weakness in broilers and turkeys."

I've never heard of the brand Ideal recommends, but get suitable poultry V & E at our farmer's co-op.

What's helped my chicks more than anything is taking them off of their heat light during the day; I'm brooding them outside. Of course I keep a close eye on their behavior to make sure no one is getting chilled and turn their light back on at dusk.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 12, 2010
norfolk county
I've been giving my chicks( 5 weeks old now) poultry "electrolytes" that i got at a local feed store..I'm not at home,so i don't know the name.(It comes in a yellow foil type bag and the powder is yellow).Basically I put about 1 tsp in their water and change it once a day,more when they were little.I had a problem with one that died also,so I was freaking out because it wouldn't drink and went and got this stuff after I talked to the company I got them from-they said it will not harm them.You can use it every day-gives them a little boost-especially in the heat.Mine seem to love it-I fear that i spoiled them,as I gave them plain water the other day and they walked away!! Good Luck!


10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
Northeast Ohio
We've been having some heat here, and I've been giving my 11 week olds, and 4 week olds 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin/electrolites to the gallon in their founts. The stuff I use is from Agrilabs. They drink it just fine, and seem to be doing well. I give it to them once a week , or twice/weekly when it's really hot.

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