hen drinking water from a plate with medicine in it

Getting Your Hens to Drink Medicated Water

No one particularly likes taking medicine. Whether it leaves a horrible taste in our mouth or is a bitter pill to swallow, hens are no different!

Getting your hens to drink their water when it has antibiotics or liquid medicine in it can be tricky, especially if it changes the taste of the water. If you are really struggling to persuade your hen to take medicine in drinking water, try adding a couple of drops of Ribena.

It might be unconventional, but the fruity taste will disguise the medicine and your hen will think she is getting a special treat.

hen drinking medicated water

But what do you do if your hens still won’t drink the medicated water?


Sometimes even Ribena can’t help, and if your hen needs medicine sometimes the best thing to do is to get guidance from your nearest hen-friendly vet or try to hand feed the medication.

To do this, wrap her gently in a towel so that she can’t flap about and sit her on your lap. Using your thumb and index finger, gently pinch her waddle. Then using the tip of your ring finger, on the same hand, push open the top of her beak.

Once her beak is propped open, you can give her a sip of medicated water using the syringe dropper. Only give her a few drops at a time so as not to overwhelm her as you don’t want her breathing in the water instead of ingesting it. To do this drip the water under her tongue and allow her to swallow it before giving her more.

Please note that this home remedy is not intended to replace veterinary treatment, but may alleviate symptoms where no professional support is easily available. The suggestions are based on experience gained with our own hens and if you are worried about medicating your hens yourself, please seek guidance with our hen helpline.

If you’d like advice on your hen’s health, why not visit our Hen Health page, where we discuss important things to look for in your hen’s health, whether its personality or physical symptoms. Or, head to our Hen Examination Guidelines where we can show you where to find things like the crop or the wattle.

If you need to seek medical advice, click here to find your nearest Hen Friendly Vet.
You can also call Hen Central on 01884 860084 to speak to one of our rehoming assistants.

Giving a gift today helps fund our Hen Helpline. It helps support hen keepers, giving them the best advice on how to care for their hens. If you have found our advice helpful, please consider giving a gift towards the hen helpline here.

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