Water is the most important nutrient for animals. It is needed for many basic functions including the production of meat and eggs. If water is limited, birds will first try to have the basic functions fullfilled, which means that production of meat and eggs will first be impaired.

Many watering systems for breeders are used.

- Bell drinkers
Bell drinkers are the most frequently used drinking systems for breeders. The advantage is that the system is simple and cheap, and that the birds can drink large quantities quickly because it is an open water system. The downside is that the birds can drink too much and/or spill too much water, resulting in wet litter and manure. A form of water restriction is therefore required, as well as an adequate management of water level and height level of the drinkers.

- Nipple drinkers
Nipple drinkers were originally developed for broilers, but are nowadays used for breeders as well. Due to the limited water supply, the birds drink and spill less, which has a positive effect on litter and manure. If the water supply is too limited, the birds will not get enough water or will take too much time to drink. As the nipples are normally placed in front of the nest, the drinking birds will block the entrance to the nest, which can result in more floor eggs.

- Cup drinkers
More recently, drinking cups, either made for broilers or especially designed for breeders have been introduced. These system combine a high quantity of water capacity (open water) with a more restricted access (limited surface). If cups are used, attention has to be paid to the fact that they can block the entrance to the nest if they are mounted on a horizontal pipe, as this pipe will be at shoulder level of the birds. Some systems use a pipe that is elevated between the cups.

Although these system can work well, the management of the height and the water level needs attention.

Furthermore, regardless of the system being used, special attention has to be paid during the transfer from rearing to production. If birds are reared on one system, they will have more problems finding a different system directly after rearing, especially if it is placed on slats where the birds are not used to. This can result in an unexpected delay in development.