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Will chickens eat snow for a drink?

(12 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-Dec-10 14:28:03

I do think after 9 years of chicken keeping I ought to know, but never had a winter this bad.

I gave them fresh water this morning but they were refusing to come out their hen house. I know it'll be frozen again now, am worried it will have frozen before they actually got a drink.

I'm venturing out again shortly to dig the rabbits out (again). I don't have a drinker for the chickens that isn't a block of ice.

Will they be ok if I just give them another bowl of water tomorrow?

midori1999 Wed 01-Dec-10 19:48:11

I don't know, but my DH let my hens out the other morning and didn't think to check if the water was frozen. I noticed about lunchtime and defrosted it and by then they were desperate for a drink.

Have you tried putting a ping pong ball in a large dog bowl full of water, so they can dunk it and still get a drink until it freezes completely? Or using a snugglesafe under the drinker to prevent it freezing?

I wish mine would stay in the house. They spend all day looking cold and they poor little feet go all pink. They huddle under the house and won't use the temporary shelter I've made for them.

ChickensHaveNoMercyForTurkeys Wed 01-Dec-10 19:49:30

Mine won't. In fact, they won't even walk on snow let alone eat it.

iMum Wed 01-Dec-10 19:51:50

Ive been making very watery porridge for them 3 times a day, hot. they really seem to go for it and I spose its a drink as well as food!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-Dec-10 20:33:05

Thanks, will make them porridge tomorrow.

Ponders Wed 01-Dec-10 20:44:34

I believe that if you put glycerine into a bowl of water it won't freeze; & I think you can get it from a chemist (in one of those old-fashioned brown medicine-type bottles).

(But don't quote me grin)

conkertree Wed 01-Dec-10 20:47:16

The second day of snow, we saw ours poke their heads out of the hen house and peck at the snow, and keep doing it so we reckoned they might be getting some water, but we put their water inside the hut and check it quite often anyway.

Ponders Wed 01-Dec-10 20:49:01

oh, I just checked on the RSPB site & it says not to use glycerine in water for garden birds "as it could destroy the insulating and waterproofing properties of birds' feathers and even prove toxic".

Don't know if that applies to hens too but better not to chance it (sorry)

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-Dec-10 21:27:21

POnders - it is OK for chickens and works when its not quite this cold. But its so cold now the water will freeze even with glycerine. I use blackcurrent juice normally as this works the same, but way past that now. Thanks.

Ponders Wed 01-Dec-10 21:46:10

oh really? thanks for that, Viva!

I have a water dish out for the wild birds which is obv frozen solid atm - I had been planning to get some glycerine until I read the RSPB thing but I will try blackcurrant cordial instead now (I don't suppose they'll care?)

marriednotmulled Wed 01-Dec-10 21:55:49

My mum always says she floats a twig in the birdbath to stops it freezing over.

Then again, it's well past 'normal' freezing so not sure it will work- I'll ask her tomorrow.

I have visions of wild birds lined up on your fence, patiently waiting for their blackcurrant delivery smile

Ponders Wed 01-Dec-10 22:25:37

oh thanks for that, mnm grin

I'll try the twig and blackcurrant cordial! I had lots of blue/coal/great tits & starlings on the feeders today, plus a bunch of long-tailed tits which I haven't seen for ages - let's hope they all like blackcurrant!

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