Raising chickens differs from raising cats and dogs. Many will find the thought of keeping backyard chickens absurd, but only those who do it know that it is an incredibly rewarding experience.
While it’s quite an easy feat, there are often opposing views about what’s right or wrong.
Whether it’s the extent of lighting or spacing of coops, there’re fairly divided views on the internet.
Just google keeping backyard chickens and you’ll see hundreds of queries. One such query is, “do chickens need water at night?”
In this blog, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about chickens and water.
So, let’s dive in!
Chickens are pretty much like humans. Once it gets dark, the only thing they care about is putting that body to rest. It’s very unlikely that they’ll wake up in the middle of the night for a quick snack. Nor will they wake up with a dry throat looking at their water. You should always provide fresh and clean drinking water 24hrs a day. But it is more likely to be drunken throughout the day.
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Do chickens need water at night?
Not really, but it depends!
Most chickens sleep at night just like humans. Their routines, eating and drinking patterns are very similar to humans. Therefore, they sleep most of the night and will not be actively seeking water to drink.
So, chickens are fine going without water throughout the night.
As long as it’s dark outside, do chickens need water at night is not something you need to worry about mainly because of these two reasons:
Chickens are diurnal
Just like humans and many household pets, chickens are diurnal in nature. It means that they are active during the day and sleep through the night.
Once they make their way to the roost at dusk, they’ll sleep all night peacefully just like us.
Chickens have bad night vision
Apparently, these furry birds have quite a bit in common with their human masters. Chickens see the same way we do.
They can sense whether it’s dark or light with the help of the pineal gland, but can’t see well in the dark. So, it’s unlikely that they’ll swagger around foraging for food and water at night.
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Let’s have a look at them.
As maternal instincts kick in, broody chickens will sit on and hatch eggs.
Naturally, their daily routine is disrupted. Now, out of your concern for starvation, if you try to get them to stand, strut, and eat, they may hiss and peck at you.
But it doesn’t mean they’ll starve themselves to death. They’ll likely hop off the eggs and crunch on some midnight snacks and take a sip of water.
You’re planning to sleep late
Don’t worry. It’s only human to oversleep—sometimes! It doesn’t mean that your chickens will starve to death.
Once chickens wake up at the crack of dawn, the first thing they want to do is drink water and graze on food.
So, in instances when you don’t plan to be around your chickens in the morning, it’s helpful to have the waterer inside the coop for easy access.
Advantages of putting food and water inside for chickens
Now that we’ve answered, do chickens need water at night, let’s have a quick look at its pros and cons. Like two sides of a coin, there’re two different perspectives about it.
Chickens are encouraged to go indoors at night
Chickens love nothing more than strutting around in the open.
That’s why sometimes it becomes such a task to get them to go inside.
A trick you can pull off is to put some snacks and water inside so that they can dine some more before calling it a night. Over time, it will encourage them to get inside without a hassle, where they’re safe from prying predators.
Easy access to clean drinking water
The first thing chickens do in the morning is getting down from the roost and drink water after opening their eyes, of course.
A waterer inside the coop means they don’t have to wait until your arrival to quench their thirst. This also makes it breezier for you to use a water heater during winter to keep the water from freezing.
Water heaters are a simple and easy to use. They ensure throughout winter that there’s plenty of fresh suitable drinking water which will not freeze.
Clean and safe drinking water every time
It’s a real challenge to keep the water clean and safe at all times outdoors. From bacteria and algae to unwanted visitors like rodents and even wildlife, a source of water outdoors will attract many.
It’s not practical to confine chickens indoors with food but no water as they need water to digest food.
So, it can be safe—both health-wise and protection-wise—to keep the waterer inside the coop.
Best Chicken water feeder
5 Gallon Chicken Waterer – 4 Horizontal Side Mount Poultry Nipples – for Up to 30 Chickens – Coop Feeder
- Automatic Drinker with 4 Horizontal Nipples: Prevent side-drinking by positioning the red horizontal nipple at eye-level with your animals
- Large Capacity: Fewer fills for easy maintenance! The Waterer holds 5 gallons with 4 Horizontal Nipples. Great for large flocks! Multiple chickens can drink at the same time. Suitable for chickens seven days and older up to fully-grown chickens
- Clean and Cost Effective: Innovative design keeps dirt and debris OUT and water IN. No backflow from nipples into the waterer. Fresh clean water is always available for your chickens!
- We Thought of Everything: Removable cap on lid allows you to easily refill from the top; anti-roost cone to keep your waterer clean; horizontal nipples with dribble dishes will kepp your coop clean and dry
- What's in the Box: One 5 gallon BPA-free food-grade plastic bucket waterer (corner placement), lid, anti-roost cone, horizontal nipples with attached dribble dishes, and a cap plug. NOTE: CHAIN IS ONLY AVAILABLE WITH 2 GALLON WATERERS
Disadvantages of putting food and water outside for chickens
Do chickens need water at night? These disadvantages tell otherwise. Let’s check them out too.
Drips and spills
Putting the waterer inside simply heightens the chances of drips and spills. In turn, it means dampened beds and pungent smells. Higher the degree of crowding in the coop, the higher the chances of spillage.
Discourages outdoor activities
It’s quite farfetched to think chickens and outdoors don’t go together. But chickens are creatures of habit.
If there are food and water indoors, don’t be surprised if they grow fond of cozying up in the coop during the daytime. That will only lead to crowded and unhygienic coops.
How much water do chickens need?
Now that we have tackled do chickens need water at night question, there are few more related questions that need answers.
Different studies offer different answers, but the most common guess is that a fully grown chicken will drink a pint of water every day.
That’s around 16 ounces. However, this varies quite significantly as factors like season, the chicken’s size, and outdoor temperature come into play.
If your chickens are stationed outside on a particularly sunny day, they can easily drink twice the quantity mentioned above.
Researches have also shown that boilers or meat chickens can easily consume over 2 pints a day owing to their high growth rate.
So, be mindful that the water consumption will change depending on the chicken breed.
How much water do chicks need?
Little, feathered chicks are some of the loveliest babies in the bird kingdom.
Baby chickens can go without water and food for about 72 hours after hatching.
The yolk will fulfill all the nutrient requirements until then. After that, they need food and water to fuel up the body’s biological processes.
However, there’s no specific answer to how much they’ll drink or are supposed to drink.
Ensure that there’s easy access to clean drinking water indoors and outdoors, day or night.
So, do chicks need water at night?
They’ll most likely sleep through the night, but over 6 hours without water can be fatal to your chicks’ health. So, the best bet would be to place the waterers inside the coop at night.
How long can chickens go without water?
We’ve already established above that chickens have quite in common with their masters, right? So, yea, like us, their lives’ dependent on water too.
Generally, a chicken can survive for two full days or 48 hours without water, unless the temperature is soaring.
If they still don’t get to drink water after that, they’ll start dying rapidly. In a scorching climate, they can go down as fast as within 8 hours.
After 24 hours of dehydration, chickens cannot regulate their body temperature.
That’s also when they look for shade. They’ll show symptoms like labored breathing, frequent fluttering of wings, and pale combs.
Do chickens need water at night? The answer can seem ambiguous, and different people will tell you different things. Above, we mentioned everything you need to know on this topic.
So, although chickens sleep through the night and seldom wake up to drink water, sometimes it’s best to place the waterer inside at nighttime.
It’s all about finding a perfect balance of what suits best for you and your chicken’s lifestyle.