Should I provide food and water overnight while my hens are closed in their coop? I have been doing this but I see that others have food and water only in the run and apparently not inside the coop. Right now my coop is quite small and I have a small container of food and a nipple waterer in there but it does tend to get messy quickly requiring more frequent cleaning. A new big coop is in progress and I wonder if I will need to make provisions for food and water for overnight.
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Folks that don't feed overnight, is there a certain age they have to be, or maximum number of hours without food? 11 hours seemed too long for my greedy 6-7 week olds.
I keep my food and water inside the coop too. I have it hanging so that the feed and water are at chest height. So far no issues with mice or rats, and the chickens aren't able to scratch the feed out on the ground. Like you, schedule prevents me from always being there to let them out first thing. I also keep a waterer in the run since they don't go inside much during the day. I feed the all treats and scraps in the run. When I'm outside to supervise I allow them to free-range. My chickens are only 11 weeks, but this has been working well.
I keep water in the coop, I've stopped providing food in our coop though because we have had chipmunks coming in all hours and stealing the feed. Water is one of those things that it's always safer to have on hand than not; however, food is best served outside, during the day, along with their calcium supplements, when they are most likely to be in the mood to feed.