Water consumption rates for chickens

Water is an essential nutrient for life. Water consumption can be limited if the water is too hot or is contaminated with excess minerals. 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. Tables 1 and 2 provide data on typical water consumption levels for layers and broilers, respectively, at 21oC.

Table 1. Typical daily water consumption for layers

Production Stage Age/Rate of Production Litres of water per 1000 birds at 21oC
Layer pullet 4 weeks 100
12 weeks 160
18 weeks 200
Laying hens 50% production 220
90% production 270

Source: Poultry CRC

Table 2. Typical daily water consumption for broilers at 20oC (litres per 1000 mixed sex birds)

Age (weeks)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Water Intake (litres) 65 120 180 245 290 330 355 370

Source: Poultry CRC

Broiler shed interior