What should chickens drink in the summer?

Farm Forum

Chilton, Wis. – What do you drink in the summer? Chances are your beverage choices are different in the summertime compared to winter. A cold drink consumed more frequently helps keep you cool and stay hydrated. The same goes for chickens. Adjusting birds’ water in the summer can help them continue to thrive as temperatures rise.

“On average, a flock of seven adult birds should drink one gallon of water per day. Water is a great opportunity to provide additional nutrients,” says Julian (Skip) Olson, DVM, technical services manager for Milk Products. “To keep your birds hydrated and healthy, I recommend adding electrolytes, vitamins and probiotic supplements right into the water, especially during periods of heat stress.”

“Electrolytes contain energy to help optimize productivity and health during hot weather, while probiotics help beneficial bacteria grow quickly in the digestive tract and aid in digestive health,” he says.


Just like for humans and other animals, electrolytes are important for chickens. Electrolytes are comprised of minerals and alkalizing agents and play an important role in controlling fluid balance in the body. They impact the hydration in your body, the acidity of your blood, muscle functions and other critical functions during times of heat stress.

“Electrolytes are especially important in the summer or during times of heat stress because our bodies use them quicker,” says Olson. “The same is true for our chickens. When temperatures heat up, they often use electrolytes more quickly. To keep electrolyte levels stable, be sure water includes an electrolyte additive during times of heat stress.”

Electrolytes should be added right into the birds’ water. With Sav-A-Chick Electrolyte and Vitamin Supplement, you can add one pack of electrolytes into one gallon of water.


Another way to help reduce stress during summer heat is by adding probiotics to your birds’ water. Probiotics can help with digestion. Simply put, they help provide beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

“By populating the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria, pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium have less room to grow,” says Olson. “Adding probiotics to the water can help build beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. The more good bacteria in the digestive system, the less room for harmful bacteria.”

Sav-A-Chick Probiotic Supplement can be added to chickens’ water for three days each month. Olson says the best bet during the summer is to add both electrolytes and probiotics to the watering schedule.

“Adding probiotics to the water three days per month is a simple and inexpensive way to help chickens thrive,” he says. “My top recommendation is to use a combination pack that includes both packages of electrolytes and probiotics.”

To learn more about electrolytes and probiotics or to find a store with Sav-A-Chick products near you visit