What should chickens drink in the summer?

Monica S

BYC Content and Advertising Specialist
7 Years
Nov 30, 2012

Adding a few simple nutrients into birds’ water can help them stay hydrated and healthy.

What do you drink in the summer? Chances are your beverage choices are different in the summertime compared to winter. A cold drink consumed more frequently helps keep you cool and stay hydrated. The same goes for chickens. Adjusting birds’ water in the summer can help them continue to thrive as temperatures rise.

“On average, a flock of seven adult birds should drink one gallon of water per day. Water is a great opportunity to provide additional nutrients,” says Julian (Skip) Olson, DVM, technical services manager for Milk Products. “To keep your birds hydrated and healthy, I recommend adding electrolytes, vitamins and probiotic supplements right into the water, especially during periods of heat stress.”

“Electrolytes contain energy to help optimize productivity and health during hot weather, while probiotics help beneficial bacteria grow quickly in the digestive tract and aid in digestive health,” he says.


Just like for humans and other animals, electrolytes are important for chickens. Electrolytes are comprised of minerals and alkalizing agents and play an important role in controlling fluid balance in the body. They impact the hydration in your body, the acidity of your blood, muscle functions and other critical functions during times of heat stress.

“Electrolytes are especially important in the summer or during times of heat stress because our bodies use them quicker,” says Olson. “The same is true for our chickens. When temperatures heat up, they often use electrolytes more quickly. To keep electrolyte levels stable, be sure water includes an electrolyte additive during times of heat stress.”

Electrolytes should be added right into the birds’ water. With Sav-A-Chick
Electrolyte and Vitamin Supplement, you can add one pack of electrolytes into one gallon of water.


Another way to help reduce stress during summer heat is by adding probiotics to your birds’ water. Probiotics can help with digestion. Simply put, they help provide beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

“By populating the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria, pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium have less room to grow,” says Olson. “Adding probiotics to the water can help build beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. The more good bacteria in the digestive system, the less room for harmful bacteria.”

Probiotic Supplement can be added to chickens’ water for three days each month. Olson says the best bet during the summer is to add both electrolytes and probiotics to the watering schedule.

“Adding probiotics to the water three days per month is a simple and inexpensive way to help chickens thrive,” he says. “My top recommendation is to use a combination pack that includes both packages of electrolytes and probiotics.”

To learn more about electrolytes and probiotics or to find a store with Sav-A-Chick® products near you visit www.SavAChick.com.


Jun 20, 2016
I didn't know about the vitamins and electrolytes, thanks for the great tips. I live in summer hot Calif. so the gals needs lots of fresh water. They are 3 months old now, started them on some laying mash and oyster crumbles too along with the regular grower mash.


5 Years
Chickens are essentially a jungle bird. I agree we humans have brought it a ways from that original bird but they are still that original somewhere in the not too distant past, chronologically and genetically.
As I was growing up on the farm we had many different strains of chickens. Some pure breds and some mutts.
We didn't know about electrolytes and minerals and stuff but our chickens(meat and eggs)did fine with water from the well, as did the cows(meat and milk)horses, pigs, turkeys, geese, goats, ducks, sheep, dogs and cats as well as us humans. My gramma lived to be 95 and my gran is still alive @97 yrs. we had chickens that lived to be 8&9 yrs and geese that lived to be 30. 1 old red roan mare died at 31.
Long to short, the only "knowings"we had was that we knew we needed to collect the white evaporated stuff from the bare spotswhere the deer and other animals licked the mud along the edge of the swamp because that's what they liked and showed propensity to wanting it after or before certain events/occurrences. The old folks said it's medicine for them.
According to my recent research the 'salt licks" are alkaline with some salts and naturally occurring sugars and many minerals.
We did't have to buy any of it.

Vickie 51

7 Years
Sep 19, 2012
I agree that we "over think" way too much. My aunt had about 500 chickens on the farm and they got scratch corn, whatever they caught or dug up, lots of water and table scraps. Mine get layer mash, scratch, water and whatever else I toss them. I do have powdered electrolytes on hand just in case of them having heat distress. I only gave it once when we had a sudden ear,y change to very hot weather. because they hadn't had time for their little selves to adjust. However it us high in salt which can make the egg shells thinner so that is not something they should have more than a day or so.

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