Do they need access to food and water when the lights come on?


In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
Red Hook, NY
I added lights in my coop to increase the chickens day to enhance egg laying. I also have the chicken guard automatic door to the run which is set to open and close on the daylight sensor. The lights come on in the morning only, to extend the awake time to 12-14 hours. I let them go to bed with natural light reduction. Thing is, the lights are on for a few hours before the door to the run opens. The water and food is all in the run area, not inside the coop/house. Yesterday was the first day to run this and I noticed even when the door opened the hens did not come out into the run right away. They took their time. The question is this. Should I make sure the door opens on the timer when the lights come on so they can get to food and water if they want to, or are they okay like I have it? My other issue is I do not have lights in the run, so if they did go out they would be in the dark. If I do have the door open with the lights do I have to light the run as well? I'm a little concerned about inviting predators with all this early morning lighting and chicken activity in the run. Any advice is appreciated. By the way, I used outdoor twinkle lights from amazon and I stapled them to the ceiling. I'm really happy with these because they are warm light and the brightness is adjustable, plus they have a built in timer (but I'm planning to use a smart outlet so I can adjust the timer from my phone as the daylight changes. Thanks!


Jul 13, 2016
Southeast, MA
My Coop
We only have feed and water in the run. The pop door is always open. I will turn on the lights in another few weeks. The hens seemed to molt and stop laying earlier this year. We have a smart plug that controls the on/off of the lights. They are positioned to shine in the windows. This year I will add a small light inside the coop. I will time the lights to come on first in the run and then in the coop. The coop faces East. Trying to simulate sunrise. It usually takes the hens 10-20 minutes for to roll out of bed.



Oct 4, 2017
Lincolnton, NC
They should always have access to food and water at all times.
Overnight chickens do not need access to food and water. They are completely blind in the dark and there crops need a chance to properly empty to keep them functioning properly. Only chicks should have 24/hr access to food and water.

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