Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky

Birds have taste buds on their tongues and the floors of their mouths. Poultry are better at tasting additives dissolved in water than dry additives included in the feed. Poultry are, therefore, more likely to taste and refuse something in water than in the feed.

Cleft palate of a chicken
Cleft palate of a chicken. Photo by Steven Patton, University of Kentucky

Poultry are sensitive to the temperature of drinking water. They are likely to reject water with a temperature of around 90ºF or higher. Provision of cool water is important during hot weather to prevent heat stress. Poultry will drink cold water that is barely above the freezing point.