Do you need to have food and water in the hen house over night?

Jenn's_ chicks

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 20, 2011
Or can they have it outside only? New to the whole thing. I know in the winter they would need water and food in the hen house. But when I am moving my tractor and letting them free range all day do they need to eat at a night?

Thank you
I like to have water at all times in with the chickens and keep the feeder full. It is very important that they don't run out of water, especially in the heat.
Totally agree on the fresh water. It's a must, at all times.

The food, however, will get you differing opinions. It is just easier to do the full feeder, 24-7 thing.
What I do not like, however, is the rodents feeding while the flock is asleep on the roosts. Since I feed my flock at 4 pm what they'll eat up within an hour and again, at 6:30 am, all they want, I see no need to share their high feed bill with the mice. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
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Thank you both.
If you look at my picture you will see that the hen house is only for roosting at night and laying eggs. I don't put food in the hen house at night. They roost at dusk and awake just before daybreak. I close the door to the hen house after they go to roost for the night, which is around 8pm and I open it up before they get up, which right now is 5:30am.
I do because it's simpler with my system. If I was sure I would get up at the crack of dawn every day, I might at least remove the food so as not to feed rodents.
I don't have water in my coop, but I have started to leave the food in there to make it easy for the kids to help out with chores.

I used to remove all food, too at night.

I let them out at 7 am usually, and they put themselves to bed. This won't work unless you are an early bird.

They could never make it until 10 am, say, without water.
I never put feed outside. It is too expensive to feed to rats, mice and wild birds or spoil in the rain. If my chickens want it, then they will have to come into the coop for it. Same is pretty much true about water, while I have an old dog dish outside that has water in it when it rains, I keep the main waterer inside where I can heat it during the winter. Also, my birds are up before me and often aren't released from the coop until afternoon--that way the eggs are laid where I can find them--so they need access to food during that time.

ETA: My coop is fairly well rat proofed--while there are a few mice that sneak in they have to take their chances with the birds. I'd be more concerned about an outdoor feeder attracting rodents.
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