I had been in the hospital a couple of days and my son had cared for the chickens while I was unable. I asked if the chickens had acted oddly. He stated he hadn't heard Rukus crowing much, but Fergus was still crowing as usual. One of the deceased chickens, unfortunately, was Rukus.
|Rest in peace Rukus|
While my son moved the bodies to the compost bin, I walked around inside the coop. Examining the water bucket hanging in the center I could see it was almost full. However, I noticed a fine growth of algae along the sides. Lifting the lid off the bucket, the chickens went crazy. Calling to my son, I asked when was the last time he had to refill the water. He came back over to the coop and said it had been about 5 days. The chickens hadn't been drinking much water, Not knowing, he had attributed that to the temperate weather. We were dead wrong.
The nipples on the water bucket were not allowing water to exit the bucket when the chickens pecked them. Reaching inside the bucket, I pushed on the nipples and water began flowing again. Meanwhile, my son went and fetched water to refill the old gravity fed water font and the entire flock spent the next 15 minutes drinking.
|Compost pile will be the final resting|
place of our four lost chickens.
It is sad that we had to lose 4 chickens to learn this lesson, but don't trust any water system! ALWAYS monitor how much water is being consumed by your flock. Chickens require a surprising amount of water and even in cold weather healthy chickens will drink a pint or more of water per day per chicken.
How do you make sure your chickens have plenty of fresh, cool water?