My wife and I have both always wanted to own chickens. We love eggs and eating fresh farm eggs, but when it came time to look into getting some, there was a lot we had to learn. 

As much as the coop and feed, water is equally important in keeping at healthy levels. 

As we looked deeper into it, we started to wonder how many waterers we needed per chicken. The answer wasn’t clear-cut when we searched, so we decided to answer this for you. 

As a general rule, chickens need 1-2 liters of water per day and enough space that all chickens in the coop can drink simultaneously. For the standard drip waterer size at 5 gallons, you’ll be able to water 6 chickens easily. This means you need one large waterer per 6 chickens. 

Obviously, it all depends on the exact waterer and how it dispenses water. 

Let’s dig in for more details and clarity on this subject. 

how many waterers do you need per chicken

How Much Water Does A Chicken Need?

Experts say that chickens drink on average 1 liter of water per day. This varies a bit depending on size and the weather. 

During warmer temperatures, like those in the summer, chickens may drink up to 2 liters of water or even a little more. 

This makes perfect sense. Everything needs to drink a little more when it’s hot.

I always plan for 2 liters when I provide water because there is no downside to providing too much water. 

But when they don’t have enough, problems start to arise. 

Chickens need water to live. So we want to make sure they have enough for that. 

But if you don’t give them enough water by only a bit, they’ll live just fine and may even seem healthy, but the amount of food they eat will go down. 

The less they eat, the less they weigh. 

Why does this matter? Well, most people own chickens for fresh eggs, and one of the main factors in egg size is chicken size. 

Bigger chickens make bigger eggs, and I want big yummy, farm-fresh eggs. 

This is why I always make sure there is plenty of clean water every day. 

How Many Waterers Do You Need Per Chicken?

It’s hard to give an exact number, but as I said before, the general rule is 1 waterer per every 6 chickens. 

It follows then that this is what you need depending on the size of the flock: 

Of course, this number assumes we’re using a larger open-source waterer that 6 chickens can get around. 

After all, we can’t just blanket say the number of waterers you need. It depends on the type you use and how many chickens can drink at it.

Here’s what you need to look at to determine your exact number.  

Available Spots – Chickens aren’t particularly violent birds, but they will fight with each other over resources. 

You need to make sure you provide enough space at your waterers for each chicken to be able to drink at the exact same time. 

It seems overkill since the waterers will often provide far more water than you need, but the drinking space then limits you. 

While we all wish we could force our chickens to kindly take turns, that’s not realistic. Unless you want to deal with fights and potential injury, make sure there’s enough space for each and every one of your chickens. 

Size of the container – The common size we based our math on is a 5-gallon chicken waterer (there’s a link to an example on Amazon). 

But there are a lot bigger and smaller ones out there. Here’s an 8-gallon drip chicken water container that may fit a few more chickens around it.

Consider both of these elements when deciding how many waterers to use per chicken.  

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Open Source Vs. Nipple Waterers For Chickens

You may have heard about the two main types of waterers out there: open source and nipple-based ones. 

Many in the chicken-raising field use one or the other and often have an intense debate about which is better. 

The verdict? Both work fine in their own ways and have pros and cons. 

Open source – This is the most common type of waterer. In it, the water drips down from a container into a trough or open area. 

The water is always there for the chickens to drink, and they tend to have more space for more chickens to drink simultaneously. 

On the other hand, it’s a bit tougher for chickens with scissor beaks to drink from. The water also gets yuckier and requires a fresh change of water pretty much every day. 

Nipple waterers – These are like the drip water feeders you often see in guinea pig cages. 

Here’s a 5-gallon example made by RentaCoop that works well.

The water is sucked or nipped out of the nipple drippers. Chickens with a scissor beak and other beak issues may have an easier time when drinking from these. 

It’s also really easy to clean and care for because nothing can contaminate the water. 

Some owners feel that chickens don’t get as much water as with an open-source, but enough people use them with success that this probably isn’t true.  

How Much Water Per Number Of Chickens Chart

Here’s a handy chart to help you figure out how much water you need to provide your flock under different conditions. 

Remember, these are simply recommendations, and you should always go off what your chickens need in their specific situation. 

Contact a vet or more experienced chicken farmer in your area for more specific advice. 

Number of ChickensWater in mild weatherWater in hot weatherHow many waterers (based on 5-gallon size)?
10.5-1 liters1-2 liters1
31.5-3 liters3-6 liters1
63-6 liters6-12 liters1
126-12 liters12-24 liters2
189-18 liters18-36 liters3
2412-24 liters24-48 liters4
3015-30 liters30-60 liters5