How long can chickens go without water? Water is life – and there is no way around this fact. Like humans, all animals we take care of need to have a supply of clean drinking water to stay happy and healthy.
However, things happen on the farm and ranch – unexpectedly. Like flat tires, surprise droughts, power outages, and stormy weather that comes out of nowhere!
You may be the most responsible chicken owner, but experience an emergency that puts your chicken water supply at risk. In these cases, you may worry and wonder how long
Let us investigate more. Together!
- How Long Can Chickens Go Without Water
- How Long Can Chickens Go Unattended
How Long Can
Chickens Go Without Water
When it comes to mere survival, in theory, healthy adult
To stay safe, double-check your flock’s watering stations multiple times daily. Never leave your chickens without water for more than six hours.
Chickens Need Water Every Day?
Yes! They need water at all times! And while this question may sound naive to anyone who has ever taken care of animals, we should cover it just in case.
Never forget the animal welfare of your flock. If you are serious about the health and wellbeing of your chooks, never leave them without water just because you suppose they can survive.
After all, the consequences of dehydration come on fast and are sometimes irreversible. In the summer heat, the chicken’s health will suffer. And their productivity will fall even after only a couple of hours without drinking water.
Also, if left without water, your flock will start to suffer from stress. And your laying hens will stop producing eggs.
Here's an excellent watering station if you're worried about your birds going without water! This 7-gallon automatic waterer has an easy-access, wide-mouth opening to make sure your chickens and ducks get comfortable access to plenty of clean water. The clear container makes it easy to see how much water remains inside. And - it has a solid handle so you can move it around your yard without stress.
How Long Does It Take for a Chicken to Get Dehydrated?
The time it takes for a chicken to dehydrate depends on many factors. Temperatures and fitness are two critical factors. Since birds have fast metabolisms, only a few hours without water will kickstart dehydration. That is why learning the signs of dehydration and symptoms is crucial to helping your chooks in time. And it is why you must ensure your entire coop has plenty of fresh water 24/7.
Read More – 13 Free Chicken Box Nesting Plans!
How Can You Tell If a Chicken Is Dehydrated?
Dehydration in chickens – and birds in general – is a dangerous condition. It comes on suddenly! And unless your birds get something to drink quickly – it can be fatal. That means that even if you get to your
That is why it is crucial to recognize the symptoms of dehydration in time.
A vital pre-dehydration symptom, especially during the hot weather, is panting. The birds will open their beaks and pant to cool down. Panting doesn’t always lead to dehydration (especially when water is available), but dehydration is always preceded by panting.
The next sign is paleness in the face. Look for the comb and wattles to appear of unusual color. Again, similar to panting, paleness doesn’t signal dehydration exclusively. Instead, it is a sign that the bird is unwell. However, the signs that follow do signal dehydration.
The definite signs of dehydration in
- Heavy breathing
- Slightly spreading the wings away from the body while panting
- Diarrhea (this is where things get dangerous)
- Limp body
- Lethargic behavior
- Skin that doesn’t spring back as usual after being pinched
- Convulsions and seizures
Of course, if you see a chick suffering from dehydration, don’t give up! Saving your flock-mate is worth a try.
As with humans and other animals, there are strategies and formulations to rehydrate the suffering chooks and re-supply their bodies with electrolytes. It is always wise to rely on the advice of experienced chicken enthusiasts.
How Long Can
Chickens Go Unattended
No chicken rancher in their right mind should leave their
But that does not mean you should let your
A better option is to have your absence planned – then you can ensure to supply your animals with enough food and water.
(We’re also afraid of leaving your chicken unattended because predators always try to snatch them from their coop!)
Chickens Need Water Overnight?
Chickens are diurnal creatures, meaning they conduct their business during the day and sleep soundly at night. They have very poor eyesight at dusk and do not see in the dark. But even if the chicken coop lights stay on during the night, they will still choose to settle down and sleep.
What that means for supplies is that chickens are extremely unlikely to eat or drink at night. Unlike the also-diurnal humans, chooks don’t rob their fridge equivalents at night and don’t seem to suffer from the hungry horrors during the evening hours.
The same applies to water.
Chickens Go 24 Hours Without Water?
However, if they happen to get exposed to the harsh sun with no way to escape, it is unlikely they will last for 24 hours, let alone 48 hours which is, as I’ve said, considered the maximum a chicken can survive without water.
As a precaution, we feel uncomfortable letting chicks stay without a source of drinking water for more than six hours. If the crisis goes on, they will become dehydrated. As you’ve already learned, dehydration quickly leads to an overall decline. And it will kill a bird surprisingly fast.
Chickens Go 24 Hours Without Food?
Nearly all animals we’ve researched can last without food for longer than without water. In theory, adult
There is one catch with food and water for
That is why chickens will likely stop eating if there is no water available.
How Do I Ensure My
Chickens Will Have Water While I’m Gone?
If you need to be gone for several days, the best way to ensure a steady fresh water supply is to have a trusted family member double-check while you’re away. You can also have an automatic chicken waterer or a chicken fountain. You can buy the ready-made product or make your own with additional effort.
If you don’t need to get automated but want to ensure that the water will not get spilled by stronger chooks and wasted, pick a quality waterer that can’t get flipped over. A hanging bucket waterer with water nipples might be a great choice both safety-wise and hygiene-wise.
Chickens Drink Tap Water?
If you raise aquarium fish, you might know that some tap water is unhealthy for them – potentially due to the chlorine content. That might make you wonder if chlorinated tap water (and tap water in general) is also a poor choice for your chooks.
Luckily, tap water is perfectly safe for your
The ultimate rule for chicken water quality is to ensure it is always fresh and clean.
Read More – Can
Like most other creatures,
Regarding how long a chicken can survive without water, 48 hours is the theoretical maximum for healthy adult
Thus, it is better to secure your chooks with reliable chicken waterers that will ensure a steady water supply even in the case of your absence. To be safe, double-check your poultry watering stations to ensure they always have plenty of water to drink!
What about your flock?
How do you ensure they always have plenty of clean and fresh water?
We love hearing your feedback and swapping farm stories and tips.
Thanks again for reading.
And – have a great day!