How To Give Water to Your New Baby Chicks

If your buying baby chicks from your local feed store, or ordering them from a hatchery, your new birds will be stressed for several days after you bring them home. This is particularly true if your chicks were purchased by mail from a hatchery since they will not have had food or water during transit.  Hatchery birds may have had a bumpy trip through the mail and, despite being packed tightly to keep them warm, they may be pretty cold upon arrival.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

To ensure a high survival rate, it's important to immediately provide your new chicks with adequate food, water and shelter. You should have your brooding area set up and ready to go. The brooding area should be warm (90-95 Fahrenheit). Set out a chick feeder filled with a high quality chick starter formula but before placing your chicks in their new home, take care of their water needs first.  Here are our recommendations...

Recommendations For Watering Baby Chicks

  • Room Temperature Water - Generally, we advise our customers to give their older chickens water that is cold to cool. (36-60ยบ Fahrenheit) Adult chickens prefer cool water and studies have shown that hens that drink colder water lay more eggs. However, baby chicks may be shocked by cold water, so it's best to provide room temperature water for the first few days.  Since water from the tap can be cold, we recommend filling up your waterer in advance of picking up the chicks and allowing the water in it to come to room temperature.
  • Water Comes First - Chickens don't go in search of water if they are thirsty. They need to be shown where to find water and this is particularly true of baby chicks. Before releasing them into the brooder, introduce your chicks to their water supply. If you are using a traditional waterer, dip each chick's beaks into the water dish before releasing them. If you own a BriteTap chicken waterer, you we recommend starting baby chicks on it immediately. The BriteTap waterer is completely covered so your chicks water will will remain free of contamination by droppings and bedding material. 

The BriteTap poultry waterer is fully covered. Chicks drink from special
valves located on the bottom of the waterer.

  • Using The BriteTap Chicken Waterer - Hold the chick in your hand and bring it over to the BriteTap waterer. Gently tap the birds beak against the stem of the valve to release some water.  Try to get you chick to drink a little water. Once you get the chick to drink, release the it into the brooding area. When setting up the BriteTap waterer, it should be placed at a height that positions the stem of the poultry nipple at the chick's eye-level.  When your chick reaches 6 days old, raise the waterer so that the stem of the valve is at head level. (see below)

The BriteTap poultry waterer is a patent pending device that makes it easy to keep the chicken water free of dirt and droppings. BriteTap is a trademark of


  1. Very helpful! I've been raising chicks for four years and NEVER knew what height was best for the waterer at what age!


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