Feeding my laying hens

Robert Nolin

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
1
1
3
I keep my chickens in a coop at night, and have their feed and water outside in the chicken run.
Should chickens have 24/7 access to food and water?
 

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
702
1,271
196
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Feeding 24/7 is also a poor plan for certain breeds - though as you are talking about laying hens, its unlikely you have a bunch of CornishX, which will (if given the chance) eat themselves to severe musculoskeletal problems or even death.

Feeding schedule will vary with your flock needs - most free choice or 24/7 if they have babes in the brooder and even into the grow out pen (unless deliberately restricting intake, as for the CornishX), but use a different feeding method for the main flock.

For instance, i let mine free range by opening the gate while the coffee is brewing, right around dawn typically. Then in the early evening as I put them away, I'll throw some food down and watch their consumption for a bit - it both encourages them to return to the pen on their own, and gives me an idea of how they are faring in their foraging. Occasionally, I offer too much, and they stop eating, go settle down on their roosts - only to be back finishing it in the AM (note this makes a very attractive nuisance for various insects, mice, etc - its not good practice on my part to overfeed - offered out of compulsion for honesty, so you are aware of the potential issues associated)
 

PioneerChicks

Sunny-side up
Sep 4, 2019
2,262
10,059
557
Idaho
My Coop
It will work, as long as they have access to water as soon as they wake up.

As for food, I feed fermented feed once per day, typically in the afternoon. That way they can forage and find their own food for a couple hours. Find the link to fermenting feed in my signature below.
 

nuthatched

It's Soup Season!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 9, 2019
1,052
2,792
236
Rim Country, Az
I keep a little bit of feed and a their water in their coop because my chickens get up at the crack o' dawn and I...do not.🤣
 

One Lucky Momma

Chicken Kisser
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
496
1,523
196
Madison Co, NC
imo, water, yes, and food, no.

oftentimes they want to drink as soon as they get up. More importantly, I think, they frequently like a drink after laying an egg.

And, if for some reason they were confined to the coop longer than usual, say maybe because the door didn’t open or the chicken sitter didn’t come on schedule, they will need water, esp in warm times.

Food in the coop oftentimes attracts rodents 🐀🐀🐀🐀🐀 .
 

One Lucky Momma

Chicken Kisser
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
496
1,523
196
Madison Co, NC
Btw, welcome to the flock! :jumpy
Take a few minutes (or hours) to familiarize yourself with the site. Pretty much everything you could ever want to know about chickens, and lots of other stuff, has been covered here. There’s a tremendous amount of excellent information, concisely presented, in the articles section.

Fair warning- you’ll find differing opinions but most folks are happy to discuss their stance.
 

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