Feed and Water inside or outside?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AngieB, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. AngieB

    AngieB Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2009
    Hi. I'm new to this forum and new to chickens. We are getting about 6 chicks in February, and my husband is in the planning stages of our coop design. This forum has been so helpful!

    One thing I haven't come across, after hours of reading, is whether it's better to put the feeder and waterer inside the coop or in the outdoor run. Our outdoor run will be covered, and we'll have some type of heated water for winter (in Michigan). We will also provide some wind protection in the winter in the outdoor run.

    So is there any reason their feed and water can't go outside? It seems, from reading, most people keep feeder inside the coop.

    What are the pros and cons of each?

    Also, if we are very confident in the safety of the outdoor run, should the chickens still be shut inside the coop at night time? Do they need access to food and water at night?

  2. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Leaving feed & water inside or out is a personal choice... whichever works best for you.
    If the coop is secure & rodent proof, leaving feed inside means they can't get to it.. outside means they might be snacking all night long.
    Leaving your waterer where the sun can get it all winter is good, but all summer will make the waterer green with algae & bacteria.

    If your sure there is no way for a predator to get to them, leaving them with access to the run is fine. BUT many people think their run is predator proof only to find out on one sad morning that it was NOT in fact predator proof. Most folks lock them up at night, just to be on the safe side.

    Good luck & [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    [​IMG] I feed and water both inside and out.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Welcome to the forum. Glad you are here.

    If you feed or water inside the coop, the chickens will spend more time in the coop. This increases your poop load inside the coop, where you have to "manage" it. It also takes up room inside the coop. This can be a problem for some people.

    If you feed outside in the run, some people feel they are feeding more wild birds than their chickens. I feed and water both inside and out and have not had that problem.

    Spilled feed will most likely attract mice and possibly rats. Do you want that inside the coop or outside in the run?

    If you let your chickens in the run pretty early, I think access to food outside only is not a problem. If you keep them locked in the coop until pretty late, you might want to feed inside the coop. I do think they need access to water pretty soon after they wake up. You might water inside the coop and feed outside. Depends on your timing.

    It is difficult to truly predator-proof a run. Most predator attacks occur at night. I lock mine up at night so I can sleep better, knowing I have done what I can to protect them. Growing up in the country many years ago, we did not lock the chickens up at night. There were plenty of predators around. We might go years without a predator attack, then a dog, fox, or something would find the flock and we would have to deal with the problem. A predator can decimate a flock pretty quickly. It does depend on your risk tolerance, but I'd recommend locking them up at night as added insurance.

    Hope this gives you something to think about. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Kenzie's Chickens

    Kenzie's Chickens New Egg

    Nov 4, 2009
    [​IMG] We keep a large water bowl outside all the time, the chickens love it. Our feeder and water jug are hooked to a chain and hang from the roof about 1 foot off the ground, this keeps stuff from crawling in it.
    At dusk the roo's gather up the hens and they all go into the coop, we put the food and water inside, and lock up the coop until the next morning. I don't think they eat or drink much when inside the coop, mostly just get on they're perches and sleep- at least food & water is in there if they get up.
    Lock them up at night??

    i think depends on the coop and run, ours is 'off the ground' with a wood floor system- it would be difficult for a snake or opossum to get in it, but it is still possible- so we shut them up at night, I would have to agree with DawnSuiter about the 'predator proof run', raccoons, hawks, snakes and opossums are pretty creative when it comes to gathering food when it is cold outside! They are going to eat.... that's for sure, I just don't want our chickens to be the meal.

  6. AngieB

    AngieB Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2009
    Thanks for the welcome and all the great things to think about. It sounds like we will fall into a routine with the feeding and watering, and we'll plan for areas indoors and out for the water and feeders.

    I'm sure we will decide to shut them in the coop at night, for added safety. I know from the raccoons getting into our attic and our trash cans how persistent and crafty they are.

    This coop was our inspiration, and we plan on building something similar. https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=29740
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  7. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I keep my food and water inside the coop.

    - reinforces that this is HOME
    - keeps the run from having leftovers that will attract the pests (we are in the suburbs..no bears here just coons and possums...and hawks)
    - we have pests around a lot!!! I don't want them to be attracted with the chickens food as well as the tasty looking plump juicy chickens. Our coop is secure enough that we are relatively confident that coons (etc) wil not be able to get into the coop itself, unless they spend a lot of time at it and then we are most likely to see signs of the attempted break in.
    - keeps the water at a slightly higher temperature in the winter

    Now when the weather is bad, my girls tend to stay inside their coop, even tho they can go outside at will. Keeping it inside I dont have to worry about the food getting wet/blown away with high winds etc, and my girls can eat in peace. Also, they are not let out into the run until late in the morning...this way they can eat and get a good drink. The only time I put water outside is if it is unseasonably hot....we had a bad heat wave this summer...it was 105 here! It has never been that hot here since I moved here and its been over 10 years. I did place additional waters outside for the girls during the day in the shaded areas.

    Now for outside, I usually only give treats outside. Now if weather is bad, or I have to keep them locked up for a few days cos I am leaving, then I will put some treats in the coop. But on a usual basis...treats outside, food and water inside.

    As for poop in the coop...I think I am just blessed with good girls [​IMG] They REALLY are pretty clean. Most of the poop is under the roosts on the dropping boards. We have not had any issues with rodents so far /knock on wood.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  8. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    I feed and water in both.
    I have a cover over the run, so there is little chance of rain & snow effecting the feed.
    But I prefer indoor, I worry more about mice than predators.
    Mice won't stand a chance in the coop, but the run is large enough that they might sneak in and out.
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:This is the only time I can remember disagreeing with you on something RR [​IMG] . I keep my food inside the coop. Snacks are fed outside. I have water both inside and out. My chickens get up alot earlier than I do and I want them to have food available, plus I feel like leaving their food outside is an invitation to the various wild critters we have around.
    So the chickens eat when they first get up, but from the moment I open the coop door in the morning till dusk, the chickens don't re-enter the coop for anything; except to lay their eggs. The only time I see them eating from the feeder during the daytime is occasionally a hen will grab a bite after she gets out of the nestbox, on her way out the door.
    Now here's the funny part and I swear this is true. The first thing my chickens do when I let them out in the morning is to poop a big ol' poo, I'm talking egg-sized or better. They all run out and squat, plop. [​IMG] As a result, there is very little poo under my roosts and very little poo elsewhere in the coop.
    This has been my set up from the start and it works for me, so I have no plans to change it. [​IMG]
  10. Amy's Animals

    Amy's Animals Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I keep my feed and waterer inside. If it's outside, it can attract things such as raccoons, birds, skunks, mice, rats, etc. and even bears. It's better to keep those away from your chickens. Moisture: no matter where you plan on keeping your feed, it will always be more moist outside than inside a coop, that is, if you keep your coop clean and airy. Feed spoils when it get moist or soggy. It doesn't matter too much with waterers except for that dirt, leaves, and dust get into it easily meaning you have to clean it more often. Also if you turn a light on a 4 AM in your coop but don't let them into the run, they are going to be hungry if the feed is outside. I do throw scratch outside though, so they'll have something to scratch for but wont be there long either. I hope this helps [​IMG]

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