Just like other animals, chickens also need water to cool down. Therefore, the coop’s environment will determine if they need water at night or not. For example, during the summer, chickens consume more water. In winter, they can comfortably go without water at night. In fact, they can even stay for more than 1 day without it.
Chickens need water at night if the coop temperature is above 75°F. Broody hens will also wake up to drink water since their eating and drinking patterns change. However, normal adult chickens that are not brooding can go without water throughout the night, especially if the weather is cold.
In winter, it is always cold, and chickens will naturally adapt to stay warm. For this reason, they do not need water at all at night. It has also been observed among several flocks that they can even go through the day and night without water. Therefore, you should never panic if your birds are not drinking during the cold season.
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When do chickens need water at night?
When it is hot, it is totally okay to leave water in the coop overnight for chickens to drink whenever they feel like it. However, most of the flock become dormant at night, and they will have minimal movements unless it is very necessary. If your chickens take too much water at night, you need to cool or aerate the coop because they may be stressed.
In most cases, chickens need more water in summer or when the night is hot. They may end up drinking it, but the demand will depend on how hot the coop’s temperature is high. Therefore, it is okay to reduce the levels of water left for them at night and increase it during the day when they need it more.
Mother chickens that are sitting on their eggs need water to drink at night. It is therefore advisable to let them have some water to drink in the coop overnight because their eating and drinking patterns change during their roosting period. They do not eat and drink like they normally do because more time is spent laying on the eggs.
Chickens also have a tendency to wake up very early in the morning. You need to leave some water for them to drink since they are always hungry and possibly thirsty at dawn. If there is nobody to rise and feed them, always ensure they will find food once they are up. The only option to do this is to leave them some food and water unless you are ready to set the alarm and wake up.
Do baby chicks need water at night?
Baby chicks need water at night because they need to drink more than they eat. They cannot stay for long without eating and drinking like adults. They are still young and struggling to find their stability. Therefore, they have a habit of moving around at night in search of water to drink, and it will be a good idea to leave some at their disposal.
To avoid conflicts with the adults, you can make a special area for them to drink or eat at night. Baby chicks can also mean to be noisy at night, which can stress the adult flock. Mother hens can also fail to get enough sleep at night if the chickens are too noisy and unsettled since they have to watch and protect them.
Baby chicks that are less than 3 days old should be given warm water. If possible, the water should be heated to 95°F warm. This should also not go past 98°F because that will be too warm for them to take. Baby chicks need warm water at night to help regulate their body temperatures, especially if the night is cold.
As they grow older, you will just need to leave the water at room temperature. Chickens adapt so fast, and they can drink water at room temperature without any problems.
When days go by and they develop, their feathers are well adapted to keep them warm, and they will not need you to heat up their drinking water even if the night is cold unless the weather is freezing and the coop is extra cold.
Water in the chicken coop at night
The fact that chickens can drink water at night does not mean that you should keep lots of it in the coop. Too much water at night may evaporate and increase the humidity levels in the coop. Too much humidity can be very uncomfortable for chickens.
Naturally, chickens should rest at night for them to stay healthy. When they are in the wild, they always stay dormant in raised areas to stay safe from any animal that can hunt them. This is why they will not look for food or water at night because it is part of their survival tactics.
If you have to leave some water for them to drink at night, you will need to keep the lights on in that area. It is important to do so because they have poor vision at night, and if chickens have to locate the water, they need to see it. Otherwise, they also need a dark environment to settle and sleep well through the night.
Since chickens are naturally less active at night, you can make a habit of being alert at dawn to provide them with water and food. Most of them prefer eating and drinking in the morning. If you see them taking a lot of water at night just like they do during the day, then there is a reason for needing urgent attention. Either the coop is very uncomfortable or becomes extra hot at night and needs to cool.
Disadvantages of keeping water in the coop at night
When leaving water for your chickens to drink at night, ensure that it is kept above the ground. Pour the water into their usual drinking spots and light the area so that they are not confused about it. Keeping the water raised from the ground will deter other predators like snakes and pests from accessing it.
Additionally, leaving water in a coop overnight can also make it damp. A damp coop can attract rats plus other pests that can stress your chicken overnight.
Stressed chickens will not lay eggs or even develop as required. It is therefore advisable to leave minimal or no water in the coop through the night. If you have to do so, take time to observe if your flock needs it or not.
Keeping too much water in the coop for your flock is also not a good idea because they can be clumsy and spill it. Chickens can be easily scared. Sometimes, they can be spooked, making them jump and pour the water into the nest. A damp nest will be uncomfortable for them since their feathers can easily retain water for a long time.
Spilled water in a nest or the coop can also mix with their droppings. Wet chicken poop mixed with water will become more sticky and even smelly.
The coop can become smelly and less attractive to you and the chickens themselves due to the strong bad odor. Constant replacement of the nest due to dampness can also be time-consuming and involving.
Cold water for baby chicks at night
For baby chicks, it is important to ensure that the water is warm and they have it in good time. When the water is left in the open for a long time, it may be too cool for baby chicks to have, and this can hurt their body temperatures, especially if the night is extra cold.