Scratching your head, wondering do chickens need water at night?
Take stock: you’re NOT alone ― here’s the verdict by Bob, the chicken expert, whom everyone calls the Magic Man:
NO, chickens don’t need to drink water at night specifically.
But every animal on this planet needs clean water to survive.
So now that you’re hooked, and know something about the glory of water, hop on and let me take you on an adventure (keep scrolling)…
- Chickens, as with any other living being, need water to survive.
- They don’t need to drink water at night if they do during the day.
- Being diurnal, chickens find it difficult to see during the night, so they are more equipped to reschedule their water intake.
Do Chickens Need Water At Night?
Do chickens need water at night?
Here’s what Joan Koelemay, RD, the Beverage Institute’s dietitian, says about water: “Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods… .”
Your chickens need water every day to survive and be healthy. Most people know chickens will drink water during the day, but do they at night!?
At night, chickens will not need to drink any water, and there will be no health issues if they don’t drink water at night. They will sleep through the night and wake up at dawn to drink water.
However, there are times when they may drink water at night. Chickens are similar to humans in a sense:
Humans, too, sleep throughout the night, but sometimes we may wake up in the middle of the night for a snack or drink. This is the same behavior for chickens as well.
Therefore, it’s a good idea always to have some water in the chicken coop at night. Just in case your chickens get thirsty, they can drink some water.
In case you’re blown away by all the positives or simply a visual learner, you can check out this terrific video summarizing quite a lot:
2 Reasons Why Chickens Don’t Need Water At Night
1. Chickens Are Diurnal
Diurnal is a fancy word for being active during the day, which means your chickens will sleep through the night.
In the morning, the chickens will wake up at dawn and start their daily routine of finding food and drinking water.
They dig, scratch, and peck the ground throughout the day, looking for food.
At dusk, the chickens will start to make their way to the roost. From there, they will sleep all night until sunrise the next day.
2. Chickens Have Bad Night Vision
Chickens have good vision during the day, but at night, they can’t see very well. The chickens usually stay in one place when they can’t see well.
Sleeping throughout the night will also help protect them from predators. One such predator who lurks at night and has an appetite for chicken is the fox.
Tell you something about sleazy foxes: They are sly, sleazy animals, quick, elegant, and quiet.
They can disguise themselves pretty well. If you’ve ever been called a fox, you’ve undoubtedly been insulted!
As for your chickens, if they keep still, these sleazy foxes will not easily find them.
Chickens have an organ called the pineal gland that helps them sense when it’s dark or light outside. With that organ, when it’s dark, it will tell the body to rest.
Aside from this, there’s no point in moving around and foraging for food when you can’t see anything.
Advantages Of Having Water Inside For Chickens
1. The chicken will go inside when it’s dark
One of the daunting tasks each day is getting your chickens to go inside their coop. If you have a few chickens, it should not be an issue. When you have a lot of chickens, that could be a problem.
So, one way to get them inside before nighttime is to put their food and water inside. This will encourage them to go inside their coop, so don’t worry about chasing them yourself!
You’ll want to put the food and water in for about an hour before nightfall.
Over time, once they get used to the routine, they’ll go into the coop without you needing to guide them anymore.
2. Access to clean drinking water
Chickens will sleep throughout the night, so water isn’t needed in the cage. However, when they wake up, they usually first drink water.
This is something you should do if you don’t have time or can’t come to open their cage that early.
Each chicken is different, and they have other wake-up times. The early riser won’t have to wait until you come to open the coop to let them drink.
Keeping water in the coop will allow them to drink when thirsty.
You know that water tends to freeze at night if you live in a cold region.
To combat the cold, water heaters are great for fixing this gremlin…
With water heaters, you can be creative: try adding water heaters to the water. What will it do to rival the pesky cold?
Water heaters will ensure the chickens have access to fresh water and prevent the water from getting too cold, especially during these odd months invented to make you and your chickens shiver…
As for a super water heater, check this out (I use it too for my coop!):
Perfect for use in the chicken coop ― inside or outside. This product will prevent the bedding and ground from getting wet due to the horizontal nipple feature.
Here are some cool features:
- 100% Food grade
- BPA Free plastic
- Complete system with no setup needed
Disadvantages Of Having Water Inside For Chickens
1. Drips and Spills
When chickens drink, they tend to spill water all over the place. This is how chickens drink water, and there’s no way to train them not to.
When there’s spillage in the coop, it will dampen their bedding and other objects in there. If there’s chicken dropping, once the water mixes with it, there will be a pungent smell from the coop.
There’s no way to prevent this except to clean inside their coop every morning.
2. Discourage Them From Going Outside
If the chickens have water and food in the coop, they will become lazy and don’t want to go outside anymore. They need everything in the coop and stay there all day long.
This will cause a problem the longer they’re in the coop.
There will be more chicken droppings and more spilled water all over the place, leading to poor hygiene and bacteria growth in the coop.
1. How Much Water Do Chickens Need?
How much water a chicken needs will depend on many factors, including the chicken’s size, age, breed, season, and outdoor temperature.
Full-grown chickens will need to drink a pint of water each day. That amounts to about 16 ounces of water, and the minor chicken typically requires less water.
As for the season, during the warmer months, the chickens will need more water to keep them hydrated. You must keep their bowl filled with water throughout the day and night.
During the colder season, chickens tend to drink less water.
But, it would be best if you always tried to keep their water bowl full. Also, when water sits too long, it will start to accumulate dirt and even parasites.
Change the water several times throughout the day to keep them fresh and clean.
As for the breed, boilers or chicken raised for meat tend to consume lots of water.
These breeds can drink over 2 pints a day on a typical day.
Their high water intake is what makes them proliferate.
Aside from all the factors, each chicken is different, and you should pay attention to each one. This is to ensure each chicken gets plenty of water and prevent them from dehydrating.
2. How Much Water Do Chicks Need?
When baby chickens hatch from their egg, they can go without water for up to 72 hours. This is possible due to the yolk that’s still attached to them.
The yolk will provide nutrition and water until then. After about 72 hours, the chicks need to drink water and eat food to keep them from starving.
As for how much water chicks need, there’s no specific answer to that. Each chick is different, and it would be hard to determine for each one.
So, always ensure there is water available for them throughout the day and at night.
Chicks will usually sleep throughout the night as an adult chicken would, but they sometimes will wake up due to being thirsty.
Make sure the water is available to them in the coop and easy access for them to drink.
It’s important to note that chicks could die if they don’t have water for over 6 hours.
3. How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water?
A chicken should always have access to water to keep them hydrated, or severe health issues can occur.
How long a chicken can go without water will depend on their health and the outdoor temperature. Fun fact: a chicken in good health and warm temperature can survive for 48 hours without water.
If it’s scorching hot outside, no matter how healthy they are, chickens will die within a couple of hours without water.
After 24 hours without water, your darlings can die! Why? Because they will not be able to regulate their body temperature anymore .
If they run out of water, you’ll notice how they will start looking for a shady place, like under the trees or plants.
When this happens, your chickens might alert you with some symptoms: labored breathing, pale combs, and frequent fluttering of the wings.
So be on the lookout, and most importantly, consult your local vet should you witness anything strange (be safe!)…
1. When do Chickens Drink most?
When it’s hot, as with humans, chickens need a good amount of water during summer, and their respiratory systems evaporate more when it’s hot outside.
2. Do chickens prefer warm or cold water?
A disclaimer: Chickens don’t appreciate hot water and will be angry at you for it!
If it’s too cold outside, and the water is freezing, you can heat it a bit, but not too much!
So, do chickens need water at night? Now that you know the magic answer, here’s a wrap-up:
Your backyard chickens ― whether grown-up or baby chicks ― need fresh drinking water, one fact common to every living species in the universe.
So please do the right thing: ensure that your chicken coops are stocked with a water container should they want a sip.
What’s great is if you know their wake-sleep cycle: remember that your darlings are diurnal and will mostly sleep during the night.
Now that you’re pumped and know how to care best for your feathered darlings keep me posted on any news (or a quirky story you want to share). I always look forward to it!
Until next time…
1. Zelman K. 6 Reasons to Drink Water [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; 2008. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water
2. How To Feed Chickens | What Chicken Food [Internet]. Walkerville Vet. Available from: https://www.walkervillevet.com.au/pet-care-advice/chickens/feeding-chickens/
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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