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Can I take all feeders away at night an leave the coop door open?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have 11 Wyandotte chickens and a feeder outside the coop in their enclosed run and a feeder inside the coop.  The coop is completely secure from any predator larger than a half inch.  The run has 1/2 inch hardware cloth on all four sides up to six feet high and down a foot into the ground.  There is as larger hole fence on the roof of the run, about 2 inches square or so to keep out large prey animals like raccoons, etc. and prey birds. Raccoons are the largest prey animal in this area, no bears etc.   So if I leave the pop door open on the coop the most likely predator to come in is rats although I have not seen any signs lately of their presence.  

 

My question is;  Can I remove all feed from the coop and the run at night and keep the door open to the coop so they can go out when they wake up?  I tend to get up around 9 am and don't want them to have to wait for me.  Also, I could just permanently remove any food from inside the coop if the door to the outside is open so there would be no food source inside the coop for rats etc.  

 

Currently I leave food and water in the coop so they can eat and drink in the morning until I waken and free them.  I would love some feedback or suggestions.  Would just having the birds exposed invite rats to come in from the birds droppings or something even with not food source inside the coop?

post #2 of 6
As long as the got all the feed they can eat during day... they don't need it at night.. and they can wait till you get up to put it back in.
post #3 of 6

I would close that 2" opening with hardware cloth, and leave food and water in the coop or run.  The birds get up at dawn and want to eat then, so it's easiest to have things available before you get out there.  Mary

post #4 of 6
I second that the birds will be fine to wait to eat until you get up. That's what their crops are for... Some of the food they eat the night before will still be stored in their crops by morning.
post #5 of 6
I would (and in fact do) leave water in the coop. They can go longer without food than they can without water, especially in hotter weather. I often get out there a little later in the morning and I want them to be able to drink if they need to so I have a milk jug with a horizontal nipple in the coop. My birds are out and fed by 8am most days and they do just fine.

If there are occasional days you know you'll be sleeping in really late, you could always stick half a cabbage head in the coop the night before. That will give your birds something to munch on but won't attract the rats the way feed will.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 


Easier said than done.  Their run is about 60 feet long and 2/3 of it has metal roof material over the 2 inch wire.  But thanks for responding, seriously. 

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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Feeding & Watering Your Flock › Can I take all feeders away at night an leave the coop door open?