feeding hens inside or out?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shelleyjen, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. shelleyjen

    shelleyjen Hatching

    Jun 22, 2009
    I'm new to chickens (mine are about 2 months old). We have food and water inside the coop. Every day I fill a tray with food to leave in the pen for them. Can I just leave the one feeder inside and not put any outside? THey've never gone back in the coop once they go out in the morning until about 8pm they go back in. I'm afraid they won't eat enough if I don't put some outside as well. thanks!
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I keep the food & water in the coop. I never put food outside, except I'll throw them a little scratch when I get home from work. I do put out extra water when it gets hot, but have never seen them drink from it. Makes me feel better. I think if they know where the food is they'll seek it out, if they want some.

  3. daryl

    daryl In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2008
    I think you might want to get them in the habit of eating most of there food outside. mine run out everytime I open there door in the morning cuz they know thats where food is. It's better and coop will stay cleaner longer if they eat outside. For me I want them to be out of food by say 6:00pm
    thay can still peck around for bugs but no feed after 6:00 . think abought what would chickers do naturally ,you want to encourage them to forage for food, not give a huge pile of food 24/7. mine eat bugs and grass and I tossed in 2 small frogs yesterday thay had a blast with the frogs. I got some meal worms from a bait shop for a special treet. I'm thinking of going out with a shovel and see what kind of bugs I can get. mabey some big grub worms. Have fun with your chickens.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I keep food and water available in the coop at all times.
    I feed treats outside and have extra waterers here and there.
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    The best reason they should be fed outside is that chickens belong outside. The coop is for roosting and nesting. The rest of the time - out they go. I mean, if they have to go in to eat and drink they are going to spend a lot of time in there. Where do we then draw the line between confinement rearing and other systems?

    Also, water and feed in the coop can become a problem. Chickens are messy, and when the water gets sloshed into the litter, it can become a problem. Mold, fungus, respiratory diseases and other matters may spring up as a result.

    Feed in the coop may bring rats or mice, along with snakes. The simple answer is to keep the feeding/watering outside. Its how the old range farmers did it.

    If you choose to maintain your chickens this way, you will need to create sheltered feeding station(s), to keep rain out. These will need to be proof against pests and wild birds. The best feeder Ive seen for this isi n the BYC archives, thus:

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009
  6. DDRanch

    DDRanch Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    I do both. Always inside I have water and a hanging feeder. Outside in the pen, I have 2 waterers and another hanging feeder. During the rainy winter months I move the outside pen feeder into the coop to keep the food dry.

    I also have a 4th waterer behind the coop where they hunker down during the heat of the day.
  7. It, like everything, depends on your situation and geographical conditions.

    Here, on Lake Superior, where winters can last 6 months (or more [​IMG]) we keep our food in the coop 24/7/365. Water is provided both in and outside the coop. (Except during winter when it's only inside.)

    I want my girls to know where their food is all the time....and that's IN the coop. Chickens being creatures of habit, I don't want to confuse them by having different feeding areas for different seasons. Leaving food out during our winters is just not practical.

    We have a run area equal to 75 feet per hen. They go in/out of their coop many times during the day to eat.

    It suits our situation just fine. I am fussy about keeping the feeders clean, they are hanging feeders and I never fill them more than 1/3 full. I don't mind the extra chores, actually, I enjoy it, and so do the girls. We seem to like each others company. [​IMG]

    So, I hope this helps you decide. Wherever you do keep your food, it is imperative that it is kept clean and DRY.


  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have feeders and waterers inside my coop and in their run.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. shelleyjen

    shelleyjen Hatching

    Jun 22, 2009
    thanks for all the quick responses! I appreciate it.
  10. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    I have water and laying pellets in the coop and they get treats, scratch, veggies/fruit, grass, outside. I had the food hanging outside and a storm came up while I was gone and it was a wasted mess...

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