Chickens like human beings use water as an essential part of a lot of body metabolic processes, but in addition they use it to digest their dry food. Chickens are encouraged to drink plenty of water and if they can’t get enough supply of fresh water they won’t eat as much and consequently they won’t lay as much. A lack of water for even a few hours will decrease egg production.
There’s about 60% water in chickens’ own body but even more approximately 74% in an egg, so if you want a really supply of fresh eggs all year round then you need to make sure that your chickens have a ready supply of fresh clean water.
Of course it has to be appealing to them. To chickens, clean fresh cool water is most appealing and they really don’t like warm water. So if it happens to be hot summer, make sure that the water is in the shade or somewhere cool and perhaps refresh it with cool water several times a day.
In the winter time it’s quite easy to get frozen over the top of the watering container even though this one is in plastic and not quite so prone to freezing as it would be if in a metal container. But it’s just a matter of breaking the ice and they’re quite happy to drink the water even though it’s nearly at zero degrees. The chickens won’t actually break the ice themselves by their beaks to get through to the water below, so if your water does freeze over in the winter it’s important that you might break the ice for them every morning to make sure that they can get free access to the water.
They don’t need water inside the actual house where they sleep at night unless you close them in there. At nighttime they’re sleeping up on the couch so they’re not going to be eating and drinking but in the morning as soon as the sun rises they want to get up with their day having a drink and maybe something to eat so if you’ve got them closed in then you should put food and water especially inside the house with them as well.
How much water do they need? On average, a chicken needs twice as much water as they need food, but you shouldn’t limit their water even if you only distribute their food once or twice a day. it’s important that they have water all day long so that they can just take a few sips here and a few sips there whenever they feel like it. In temperate weather, chickens will probably drink about 500 ml water each day, which is about a pint. In hot weather, they’ll drink more maybe even twice as much. Chickens who are not laying don’t need quite as much water, but it’s import to let them have free access to the water and they will choose just how much they want to drink.