“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci
|103° in the shade, water is critical to survival. This area was intentionally|
flooded & the food placed in the middle of the puddle to cause the hens
to wade in it to cool off.
"Water is involved in every aspect of poultry metabolism. It plays important roles in regulating body temperature, digesting food, and eliminating body wastes. At normal temperatures, poultry consume at least twice as much water as feed. When heat stress occurs, water consumption will double or quadruple."
The Essential Nutrient
"Water is often taken for granted, and yet it is probably the most essential nutrient. Water is by far the single constituent of the body, and, in general, represents about 70% of total body weight. Access to water is very important, and a lack of water for several hours will probably cause a decline in egg production. Hens are more sensitive to a lack of water than a lack of feed.”
Amount of Water Needed
"Water and food consumption rates are interdependent, so reduced water intake can also lead to reduced food intake. There are other factors that affect water intake, with temperature being the most obvious one. For example, chickens drink between 30-50% more water when the environmental temperature is above 32oC compared with when it is 21oC. Water intake is also affected by the type of drinkers used. The rule of thumb for water intake is that water intake is usually 1.5 to 2 times feed intake."
“Water in the crop softens the feed so that digestion can occur. Without the water, dry feed forms clumps in the crop that can press on the bird’s carotid artery, decreasing blood flow to the brain. This can cause paralysis and possible death. Poultry anatomy complicates matters. A split in the upper hard palate of the beak allows air into the nasal passages and prevents the chicken from forming a vacuum in its mouth. Hens, therefore, rely on gravity to draw water into the crop."
As my flock has grown in size and number, so have the number and size of waterers I have tried. The smaller, 1 gallon waterers require filling twice each day, which is not convenient. Not only is more work to keep many, smaller waterers full but it is much more work cleaning each one regularly. My current goal is to reduce the number of waterers, trips to the hose and minutes spent cleaning each week.
For Egg Production
An egg consists of approximately 75% water and without access to a regular, clean supply of water, a hen will be physically unable to produce eggs.
|Keeping water liquid during freezing temperatures is a major challenge that must be |
met as chickens' feed consumption increases in the cold and they require water to digest it.
I made several cookie tin water heaters, for less than $10 each, which work well
even in below-freezing temperatures.
When one of my sponsors, JeffersLivestock, invited me to select a product from its catalog to review, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to trade-up to a much larger watering system. I selected the 4-H Easy-Fill Drinker as a portion of the sales of it is used to promote 4-H educational programs. The product description also appealed to me: "easy-fill, easy-clean 5 gallon poultry drinker is molded from long-life plastic. It features a top fill bucket using a float in the base to allocate water to the rim. This drinker is excellent for indoor and outdoor use and accommodates up to 75 chickens or game birds.14 1/2" (W) x 24" (H)." I love this product now but it took a long time to get to happy, trust me.
|4-H Easy-Fill Drinker from JeffersLivestock|
Bob, a product manager with the manufacturer, Harris Farms, is a good and patient man, who spent a solid 45 minutes trying to explain it to me, part by part. I admit now that it is not a complicated system, but the assembly instructions could be made clearer. I told Bob to explain it to me like I was a five year old and the following is a visual representation of our conversation. I think these photos should be included with every unit sold. ☺
|This waterer cracked without having made it through one winter here in New England.|
|Bottom of waterer with float mechanism|
|Looking down into the bottom of the white water bucket at the male end of the plug holder.|
|Bottom view of the of the white, water bucket. This piece meets the green|
base and float. The float stop MUST be in the female end of the plug holder to operate correctly.
|View of bottom of waterer base. The nut is inserted through the bottom of the white water bucket and the bucket is held in place against the float and green base. The nut is then threaded onto the bolt.|
|View of the bottom of the white water bucket with the nut & bolt |
secured and the water plug covering the male end of the plug holder.
|View looking down into the white water bucket. The plug is removed |
during operation to allow water to flow through to the float stop.
|The lid of the waterer has notches that fit into the white water base, |
which prevents the lid from blowing off in high winds.
|Fill waterer with plug in place and remove plug prior to operation.|