Winter water consumption

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
620
191
Central Washington State
OK, so, I have some questions regarding chickens and their winter water consumption. We have a Rubbermaid style tote, with a bucket deicer in it. It’s been doing a fantastic job. Best of the three watering setups we have tried this year. It also has five horizontal nipples on it, and the chickens figured it out right away.

Our tote has an 18 gallon capacity, and when we filled it three weeks ago, we put in about 8. In the three weeks, our nine chickens have only gone through about 4 gallons of it... maybe less! In that time, we’ve had several days or snow and any time I let them out to free range, they bee-line straight for it and eat a whole bunch, but they don’t get out every day.

I’m not seeing any sign of dehydration, which surely would be showing by now. They all look and act normal. The only chickens who appear to be “off” are in the middle of a molt, so it that explains their pale combs.

Now, this Summer, we had a flock of 12... and I know, chickens will use a lot more water in the summer... but we were going through about a gallon a day! To have dropped to 4 is gallons over 21 days seems drastic.

They have access to it, seem to prefer snow, and seem to be happy and healthy. So, should I be worried? Or are my lively free ranging birds just really enjoying free ranging their hydration too?
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,223
471
Lincolnton, NC
Chickens drink waaaaay more water in the winter than they do in the summer. I’m not sure of the exact reason... I actually read that here on this site - and have observed this in my own flock. Don’t worry - it’s totally normal.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
620
191
Central Washington State
Chickens drink waaaaay more water in the winter than they do in the summer. I’m not sure of the exact reason... I actually read that here on this site - and have observed this in my own flock. Don’t worry - it’s totally normal.

Well that’s the problem... they’re hardly going through water at all. In summer they were going through 5x more than they are now. 9 chickens have only drank 4 total gallons over the course of 3 weeks...
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,786
111,291
1,722
Northern Colorado
:confused: Then.

Maybe they ate snow since it is is new and fun?
Going through such small amounts of water in the run is concerning.
I give wet mash every morning so water from that and my group of 8 still go through at least 1/3rd to 1/2 gallon a day.
 

MissMonty

Songster
5 Years
Sep 12, 2015
497
986
186
Dayton, OH
I have three adult laying hens (all three laying daily or almost daily eggs, not sure that makes a difference) and they maybe drink about a gallon a day. (I have a 5 quart water container and they only get to "almost finished" LOL)

Mine always went through a lot more in the summers. Its possible they're eating snow or drinking water collecting from the rain.

I know my girls prefer fresher water so if its taking 3 weeks to empty that towards the end they could be drinking less because they don't like the stagnant water.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
620
191
Central Washington State
Thanks for the ideas. I will probably try dumping their bin and refilling it.

Consider its been so long, I feel like they must be getting enough water from their environment(either snow, rain, or melt) to not need the water in their waterer. I feel like dehydration going this long would kill them, or at the very least cause some sort of change in demeanor...

If they are acting normally, after this long, should I really be worried? Animals can’t talk, but they let us know when something is wrong in other ways. Should I be looking to fix something if, just maybe, it’s not broken in the first place?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom