Water is vital to every living creature, not just chickens alone. After a few days without water, you can expect the chickens to have some severe problems, like dehydration, illness, and eventually death.
But chickens are active and drink water mostly during the day. But how about when they are not active? Do chickens drink water at night? They probably don’t, but you should still prepare the water just in case.
Do chickens drink water at night?
Chickens are similar to humans. Once it is nighttime, they just want to put their body to rest. They don’t usually wake up at night to take a sip of water, and they won’t be thirsty when first waking up.
Although it’s more likely that chickens mostly drink water during the day, you should still prepare fresh and clean water all day just in case. But, when it is dark outside, you won’t have to worry about night drink because of 2 reasons
Why chickens don’t usually need water at night
Chickens are diurnal
Chickens are diurnal, meaning they wake up and are active during the day and sleep during the night, similar to many pets and humans.
Once dusk has passed, and the night has started, the chickens will head to their coop and sleep peacefully just like humans.
Chickens can’t see well in the dark
Another similar point to humans is that they nearly see the same way as humans do. They can sense when it is dark or light, but they have poor vision in the dark.
With bad night vision, they will find eating and drinking at night challenging, so they won’t try to navigate around and look for food and drink at night.
However, there are exceptions to their routine. And if you run into these situations, you should leave some food and water in your chickens’ coop
Why should you leave food and water in the chicken coop overnight?
Chickens don’t need to drink water at night – Image Credit by Joe on www.flickr.com
Broody hens will sit on and hatch their eggs as maternal instincts. Obviously, the hens’ natural routine is disrupted. When you try to get them to stand and feed them, they will likely peck at you.
But they still need food and drink to live, so they may hop off the eggs to take a sip of water and have some midnight treat.
You want to sleep late
Sometimes, you want to sleep a bit longer for some reason, or you forgot to wake up. When your chickens wake up at dawn, they will first try to graze on some food and drink some water.
So, to not let the chickens starve or thirst, when you are not going to wake up and open the coop early, you should consider having the waterer inside for easy water access.
Putting food and water inside the coop
Encouraging the chickens to go inside at night
Chickens love running around in an open space, so it can be difficult to get them inside the coop. You can try to put some food and water inside so they can eat and drink some more before the night.
Over time, they will get inside the coop without hassle to be safe from prying predators.
Easy access to fresh water
As mentioned, the first thing the chickens do when waking up is drinking some water. Having water inside the coop means they get access to the water right away and they won’t have to wait for your arrival.
This is also helpful during the winter month since you can use a water heater to keep the water warm and not freezing, and using the heater outside in the cold is not ideal.
Clean and safe water to drink
It is hard to keep the water clean outdoors every time since bacteria, algae, unwanted visitors like rodents, all are attractive to the water.
Furthermore, you can’t keep the chickens indoors with just food alone; chickens need water to digest the food. So keeping clean water inside the coop is advantageous safety-wise and cost-wise.
Water drips and spills
More water inside the coop means more chance of spills and drips, which leads to dampened beds and unpleasant smells. The more crowded the coop is, the more it is likely to spill.
Discouraging outdoor activities
Chickens are outdoor animals, so the habit of staying inside often may lead to some issues like unhygienic coop. If too often they go indoors to eat and drink, they may grow fond of staying inside during the day.
How much water should the chickens drink?
Typically, a full-grown chicken will drink a pint of water per day or about 16 ounces of water. This figure can vary because of factors like chicken’s size, season, or temperature.
If your chickens are outside on a sunny day, they can easily drink 2 pints of water a day.
How long can chickens live without water?
After about 24 hours without water, they will start to have trouble regulating the temperature and start to have fatigue.
Water lack can also affect egg production, and your laying hens may interrupt or stop laying completely.
After 48 hours or more, your chickens will become dehydrated, ill, and eventually die. The time can be shorter when it is hot outside.
So, do chickens drink at night? Chickens don’t usually drink at night for 2 reasons: they are diurnal, they wake up and be active during the day; they have bad night vision to look for food and drink at night.
However, there are some situations where you should leave food and water overnight, those are: when you have broody hens with disrupted daily routine and you are going to wake up late.
Leaving food and drink inside can encourage your flock to go inside at night and provide them clean and safe water, but the water may spill and they might get used to staying inside.