Will Chickens Drink From A Bowl? Problems You Will Face

When raising chickens, one will have so many questions! Some of the most important questions you may have will encompass caring for your chickens. 

When it comes to providing your chickens with water, will they drink from a bowl? 

Will Chickens Drink Out of A Bowl?

Chickens will drink out of buckets, dishpans, dog bowls, or any open container, as long as it is the right size. The downside is that these containers are difficult to keep clean, freeze quickly in the cold temperatures, and are likely to poop on the water bowl. 

After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the types of bowls chickens drink from, problems you will face, how to keep the water clean, and the best types of bowls to choose from.

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Can Chickens Drink Water From A Bowl On The Ground?

 Chickens drink differently than us, which is why many people hang their waterers. Chickens can drink from a bowl on the ground. 

As long as the bowl is large enough for your flock, they won’t have any issues drinking water. Depending on the size of your flock will depend on how many bowls you need.

There’s no need to spend a lot of money on fancy bowls. Just pick up some $2 bowls from your local Walmart or Dollar Tree.

5 Problems With Using Water A Water Bowl 

Water bowls for chicken are great in that they can be huge and filled to the top to allow for easy drinking for your chickens. 

However, with smaller chicks or bantams, such as silkies, big and deep water bowls run the drowning risk. 

Other things you should be aware of when letting your chickens drink from open containers.

#1 Drowning

can chickens drown in a water bowl
Avoid using a big open bowl for young chicks as a day old chick can drown quickly.

Yes, chickens can drown in a water bowl, especially, young chicks.

Silkies have big pom-poms of fluffy feathers on top of their heads that can get in their eyes and affect their vision. This can also be a risk with drowning and water bowls. 

Avoid putting a large bowl of water in with your chicks, as they could drown in a water bowl. Avoid using bowls or waterers designed for adult chickens, especially if they haven’t developed good coordination. 

#2 Challenging Keeping The Water Bowl Clean

Cleanliness and biosecurity is huge when it comes to a chicken’s water bowl. First, chickens can be a bit picky. 

They are turned off by dirt, grass, leaves, feathers, pine shavings, or poop in their drinking water. 

This could lead them not to want to drink from their water bowl, which could lead to dehydration. 

Chickens also tend to like cool water. This means that they will want you to refill their bowl often, or they may go on a water strike. 

#3 Poop In The Water

Chickens poop everywhere. They’ll likely poop in a water container that doesn’t have a closing on top. There are some things you can do to get them to stop pooping in the water.

Just be aware, if the bowl is sitting on the ground, they’ll keep pooping in it until you take steps to stop it.   

#4 Frozen Water Bowls

Chicken coops get extremely cold in the winter months, which is why some people keep them heated. A cold water bowl will freeze if the temperature drops below 32℉.

Suppose you live in an area with cold climates and don’t want to deal with freezing water bowls. Invest in some rubber water bowls. 

Rubber water bowls are flexible enough, so the ice comes out immediately, so you don’t have to use a chisel and hammer. 

You can also use heated bowls if your chickens don’t like drinking from rubber bowls. 

#5 Spilling The Water or Knocking the Bowl Over

If the bowl is set on the ground, expect your chickens to trample all over it and spill the water. Which is why many people use swimming pools or enormous containers, like this one, because it prevents the chickens from knocking it over?

A large container will work better if you have several chickens. Plus, it will be less work when you’re changing out the water daily.

How Often Should You Change Your Chickens Water?

If you’re using an open container without a lid, you should change the water daily. Open drinking sources are likely to contaminate faster than larger water fountains or hanging waterers. 

In the warmer months, you should change the water twice to prevent it from becoming too warm for your chickens, especially if the bowl is sitting in direct sunlight.

How Often to Wash Your Chicken Bowl

A week, at least once, gather all the water buckets, containers, bowls, and fountains for a thorough cleaning. A deep cleaning will help eliminate rust, algae, and other types of water contamination.  

Hot water and soap should take care of the regular maintenance, while a diluted bleach solution will work wonders in cutting out the nasty stuff every so often. 

Why Is It Important to Keep the Chickens Water Dish Clean?

Chickens are known to drink from dirt duck water, ponds, and puddles. You might think they don’t need freshwater, and it’s okay for them to drink dirty water?

However, blue-green algae in containers can lead to poisoning in ducks, cats, dogs, chickens, and humans. Blue-green algae usually occur in water when the drinking water reaches temperatures above 75℉ (24°C).

Better Options For Providing Water For Your Chickens

Chicken watering bowls seem easy enough. You fill up a large bowl, like a dog bowl, and just put it down where all of the chickens have access, right? 

You can, but it is essential to consider environmental factors and the best way to deliver the water to your chickens! 

After all, they drink a little differently than humans, and other animals do! 

A galvanized waterer for your chickens is a great option. It is a steel waterer that is double-walled. 

It has a built-in trough around its base with a short lip for the chickens to drink from with ease. 

A galvanized waterer is vacuum pressure activated so that just enough water will fill up the lip consistently. It prevents evaporation and keeps dirt and debris out of the water source at all times. 

A plastic chicken waterer will also serve its purpose well. They also work with a vacuum that maintains the water level. 

It has a small plastic lip that is shallow enough for a chicken to dip its beak in and take a few sips. 

Plastic is known to keep the water cooler than metal, as it does not react as much in the heat. 

Chicken Waterer Material 

Chicken owners will often put additives in the water that they provide for their chickens, such as supplements and nutritious vitamins to help prevent illnesses or treat sickness. 

For some materials in a water bowl, these additives can stain the water bowl. Therefore, it is essential to do your research before choosing a chicken waterer or two!

If you wish to use apple cider vinegar in your water to supplement your chickens and give them a little boost, galvanized waterers may not be the best option for you. 

The vinegar can react with the metal, creating a bunch of orange rust. 

Plastic waterers are known for not reacting with vinegar and supplements and are a much better option if you plan on adding supplements to your chicken’s water from time to time. 

Metal waterers with a heater are best in areas where temperatures get below freezing. By placing a heater beneath the water bowl or waterer, you will keep the water from freezing for your chickens. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Chickens Drink Ouf of a Bucket?

Open containers of any kind are acceptable to use for chickens, as long as they can safely drink from them without getting their head stuck. The downside of letting chickens drink from these types of open containers is keeping the water clean.

Final Word

Overall, your chickens will be absolutely fine if their primary water source is from a water bowl. However, in most cases, it is not very practical. 

An open water bowl allows for so much debris, dander, poop, and grass to get in there and contaminate the water. Chickens are known to get turned off from dirty water and may even go on a water strike. 

Chicken waterers are a much better option because they shield most of the water from the environmental elements and use a vacuum method to dispense a little bit of water into a shallow, lipped dish at a time. 

No matter how you choose to provide water for your flock, always provide enough and keep it fresh and clean!