Chickens need plenty of fresh clean water to drink during the day, but should you put water in the coop at night and if you did would they even drink it?
This is something I worried about when we first started keeping chickens because we tried putting water in the coop and they kept knocking it over which lead to a wet coop floor and bedding. Since then and after much research we found the following:
Chickens do not actively drink water at night since they are roosting and sleeping. However, it’s a good practice to ensure fresh water is available in the coop at all times, so they have immediate access to it as soon as they wake up in the morning or if they become thirsty during unexpected wakeful periods.
Read on to find out more about keeping chickens hydrated and when and the best ways to make sure they have water available in waking hours.
Giving chickens access to water
Because chickens don’t drink overnight once they go to roost, it’s really important to make sure they have access to water before they go in to roost and first thing in the morning when they come out of the coop (and of course throughout the day).
They will be thirsty when they first get up and finding water is one of the first things they’ll do once they leave the coop, although they may be torn between food and water.
For this reason, it’s important to have a supply of access in the run area of the coop which the chickens know they can come back to if they’re thirsty and around the areas which they graze.
Chickens will drink a lot during the day, although the amount will vary depending on their feed, the temperature and whether they can forage for naturally watery food such as worms and greenery.
Putting water inside a chicken coop
The best way to ensure your chickens have access to water in the morning is by letting them out to the water in the coop run early on, but in some situations, this might not always be possible.
If you can’t let your chickens out early or you’re worried about them not having water in the coop, there are some options, especially if you have a large shed-like coop, but it would need to be something that couldn’t be knocked over.
Chickens are quite clumsy so any bowl of water or lightweight water container will get knocked over when they wake up, the best solution would be a water feeder which can attach to a wall or hang from the shed roof.
Keep in mind that chickens can easily be injured in a confined space so the fewer items in the coop, the better. Any water feeders which are placed in the coop need to be secure so they can’t fall and injure or crush the chickens inside.
So to summarise, chickens don’t need water in their coop while they’re roosting and they won’t go to find water once it’s dark. They will need access to water once they wake up and in daylight hours and its generally better not to have water feeders inside the coop after dark.
I hope this post has helped to answer your question, you might also find the following post useful:
Our recommended coop
Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.
This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on October 6, 2020.