Chicken Not Eating But Drinking

Chickens sure love being active during the day.

They also love eating and foraging for food on the ground every single time they have the opportunity to go outside.

They are also omnivores that enjoy a long list of food – fruits, vegetables, berries, feeds, and a whole lot more.

But what if your chicken starts refusing to eat, but only drinks water?

Should you be worried? 

Eating is seriously important for chickens just as important it is to other animals as well.

After all, they get their necessary nutrients for their body to become healthy.

If your chicken is not eating, it is something not normal.

Immediately start checking if your chicken has crop impaction.

It happens when a material or a food has been stuck and caused the crop, a storage for food in their neck, to become impacted. 

If not, your chicken might be suffering from other issues, like infestation, illnesses, injuries, egg bind, and other more.

Nevertheless, not eating will cause your fowl to become weak and at risk.

An aid from a veterinarian is needed. 

4 Possible Reasons Why Your Chicken Is Not Eating

Not eating is an unusual behavior for chickens.

As an owner, it is important for you to address this problem immediately as it might suggest troubles in the future.

Here are 4 possible reasons why your chicken refuses to eat: 

1. Crop Impaction

A chicken with an impacted crop can die due to suffocation or starvation, which are both cruel to happen.

Crop impaction happens when the crop or their muscular bag in the throat used to store food becomes blocked.

It might be because it has been injured, infested, or due to a disease.

Eventually, their crop might swell causing extreme pain to your fowl.

Hence, their refusal to eat.

2. Illnesses 

If your chicken is sick, it is likely that it will have a little to no appetite at all.

Observe your fowl even more, and check for some other unusual behavior or symptoms.

Ideally, it would be better to consult a veterinarian to help your chicken and get her checked out by an expert 

3. Infestation

A bad insect infestation may put your chicken in pain and eventually, lose its appetite as well.

Infestation usually attacks the skin and the legs of chicken which can cause more problems on your chicken health.

4. Injuries 

Your chicken might not be eating because it is in pain due to some physical injuries.

It probably injured its leg, its wing, and any other part of their body for some reason.

Your chicken will likely be put off its food as a result. 

How Many Days Can a Chicken Go Without Eating?

Chickens can forage and find food on their own without too much depending on the feed you give them.

But of course, it is way different than having someone to give them food.

Normally, a chicken can go on without food for 4-5 days.

For around 3-4 days, chickens will begin eating their eggs just to survive, or peck on each other if they are living in a flock.

This is the case if they are only within their coop and are not able to go outside.

If there is something to forage, then they can survive but may become malnourished. 

What To Feed a Sick Chicken That Won’t Eat? 

Truthfully, no food will work on chickens that won’t even eat.

You can’t really force feed them as they might only become stressed and refuse even more.

If you want to give them at least something to eat just to survive, you can grate some hard-boiled egg and add it into their feed.

Make sure you also add electrolyte in their water to raise their chance of survival. 

Until then, it is best to seek help from a veterinarian to help you address the problem. 

Why Is My Chicken Drinking So Much Water? 

While drinking is needed to keep themselves hydrated, too much water can be a sign of an issue in your fowl.

Most likely, a chicken will drink a lot of water when it feels too hot.

Less access to food or inability to eat might also be a reason for their excessive drinking.

Chickens may also drink so much water due to stress or if they are suffering from an illness like kidney disease.

Remember that while having water in the body is nice to be hydrated, excessive fluid in the body may still cause death.

Keep an eye out on your chickens to see if they’re drinking more water than they usually do

Will a Chicken Starve Itself?

It is unlikely chickens will starve itself by choice for no reason.

While they can still survive without food for several days, chickens will instinctively find food no matter what it takes.

Chickens may only starve themselves and refuse to eat if there is an underlying problem.

For example they cannot eat due to some health reasons like crop impaction or fear of finding food due to predators such as hawks or eagles 

Talking about predators – I think you would find this article useful When do hawks hunt chickens?

How Long Does It Take For a Sick Chicken To Get Better?

There is no definite time for a sick chicken to recover.

Some may only take hours or a few days, while there are cases that it will take weeks, months, or even forever just to recover.

The bottom line is recovery takes time and it varies depending on the severity of the injury or disease.

If your chicken is sick, it is better to ask the veterinarian regarding its recovery time.

Make sure you also take their advice seriously and do what they have recommended.

Your chicken may even have a speedy recovery if you can perfectly do the instructions of the veterinarian. 

I’m sure you would do that anyway!

Wrapping Up

A chicken that is not eating may  face severe complications and troubles in the future.

Most common reasons why a chicken refuses to eat are crop impaction, infestation, diseases, and injuries.

It is better to immediately consult a veterinarian to help your chicken get back its usual appetite.

Once a chicken starts to refuse its food, they will most likely drink a lot more.

Chickens may also drink excessively when there is too much heat, has a stressful environment, or is suffering from an underlying health problem.

Nevertheless, both eating and drinking are necessary for chickens to survive and thrive healthily. 

As always, it’s best to seek advice from a veterinarian 

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