Food and water at night

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mich9510, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. mich9510

    mich9510 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    I have always put food and water in my coop at night. I want to stop doing this because I'm finding that the food attracts critters and they don't seem to eat any of it in the coop anyways. The water is constantly getting spilled and I now have some moisture issues in the darn coop. My flock is only in the coop at night. They go in at dark and I let them out around 8 in the morning. None of them are babies and I don't use any supplemented light. They literally only roost and sleep in the coop. They free range all day. Even when they don't want to go out in the snow, I can put food and water right outside the coop where they can access it. What does everyone else do and is my plan OK?
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    There is no need to provide food and water in the coop at night. They aren't eating during roost hours because they fill their crops before going to roost and digest that feed through the night (this is why some new poultry keepers are alarmed at the "large bulge" they see in their hens' chests when they go out at roost time to lock up the coop, etc but then the lump is gone in the morning). As long as you are certain that you or someone will ALWAYS be out to let them out and allow them access to feed and water in the morning (you may need to adjust the time as daylight arrives earlier as they will become active within the coop if light is able to reach the interior), there is no need to leave feed and water in the coop.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree. For different reasons some people feed and/or water in the coop, some in the run, and some do both. They are going to wake up hungry and thirsty, especially in winter when the nights are longer. As long as they can get to food and water in a reasonable amount time, there is nothing wrong with either being in the run.
  4. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    I do the same and mine free range during daylight hours, too. At the height of summer, though, I do put a horizontal nipple waterer inside the coop to help them get through the oppressive heat and humidity (and I also take other measures, like extra ventilation). If you haven't tried horizontal nipple waterers, check them out...they made a world of difference in my brooder, which had several terrible water spills before I moved to nipple waterers.
  5. bento

    bento Just Hatched

    Jun 23, 2016
    Definitely look into water nipples. They are great! It's much cleaner and no more water spills. I use a horizontal nipple that's hooked up to the side of a bucket. I clean and refill the bucket every 2 weeks or so. I leave it in the coop as well.. The summer gets pretty hot and humid here in Orlando.
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    I've got food and water in the run but I've got a milk jug with a single horizontal nipple in the coop. Once temps get low in the winter to freeze the jug overnight I remove it. It goes back out in the springtime.
  7. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    Chickens can't see in dim light so once they get settled on the roosts in the evening, they stay there until there's enough light for them to see again in the morning. They don't get up for a midnight snack, so it's okay to not put food in the coop. My chickens also free-range during the day and only sleep and lay eggs inside the coop. I have a hanging waterer with nipples inside the coop so they can get a drink in the morning while waiting for the lazy humans to get out of bed and open the doors. The hanging waterer eliminates spills. I have a metal trashcan that I put the feeders in at night so critters don't come eat the food. I like the chickens to have water available because it can be a couple of hours between them waking up and one of us going out to open the doors, but if they have to wait for food, that's fine.
  8. PaulaMc

    PaulaMc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2016
    Bolton, England
    I am paranoid about ensuring I am up before it is light to feed and water. Here in the UK in the dark winter mornings my girls tumble out of the coop and I can sense them thinking -why have you got us up in the dark? ha ha. I work full time so need to scoop poop and collect any eggs about 7.30am. I agree that as they snuggle down and don't move about in the dark there is no need for food or water in the coop. I always make sure water is the first thing they access in the morning. Briefly remember the lie-ins I used to have pre-chickens but I wouldn't change a thing ha ha.
  9. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    When I turn on the light at 5am the chickens make a beeline to the nest box or to the feed before the water. My girls act like they haven't eaten in 12 hours, oh yeah that's how long it's been this time of year. GC
  10. PaulaMc

    PaulaMc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2016
    Bolton, England
    Ha ha. Mine are the same. Although, as I do not have electricity in their small coop, they have to make do with a torch and the light at my back door tee hee. They sleep in the nest boxes mainly- am so excited when I see one or two roosting.

    My four cats are also like that. They look at me like they're starving although - as I wake up several times in the night- I hear them chomping so know they're well-fed!!!!

    Roll on summer and long days. I remember-as I only got my first hens in May- being tired some nights and waiting for them to get in bed at about 10.30 pm as it was still light ha ha. Now, by about 4.45 they are all snuggled up.

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