Food and water in the henhouse (pros and cons)?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by reedyfork, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    I know this has probably been covered many, many times before, but I couldn't find a discussion doing a very quick search. So... I would love to read a discussion on the pros and cons of keeping food and water inside the henhouse (versus inside the attached, covered, screened-in run). Basically, my henhouse (for 2-3 chickens) seems to be too small to also add a waterer and feeder, so I'm hoping to leave them in the run. Do they really NEED access to food and water at night (assuming I also close the pop door at night)?

    Here's what I'm thinking so far:

    PROS - access to food and water at night; body heat/heat lamp could keep water thawed in winter; food and water not accessible/visible to rodents and other animals

    CONS - space too small in henhouse; dealing with spilled food and water; dealing with shavings and poop in food and water; more difficult to access and refill inside henhouse

    Please add to the list. Thanks for any advice!

  2. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    I like to keep the food inside the hen house to keep wild birds/animals from eating the food or knowing there is a food in there at all.
  3. jafo

    jafo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    If you have a poop board under your roosts, put a small waterer under that. You could use a PVC pipe feeder, mounted on the outside of your coop, with the elbow fitting popping INTO the coop through a hole cut just big enough to get it in, and caulk around it for drafts. You can fill it from outside, and it wont take up any floor space. Don't forget to cap it on the outside. Whadya think?
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I keep food and water in the chicken shed because we do not have an enclosed run or shelter where I could put them.

    I read the hens fill up in the afternoon and then roost till the am.No need to feed or drink at night.I was out at 7:30am to give food(spilled from yesterday) and warm water(frozen in the shed).Mine have to spend most time in the shed unless I am out to protect from the hawks.Lately they just stay on the cement pad right in from of the shed,but I still keep the food inside the shed on cement blocks. I also put hot water jugs in the shed at night,but don't know if that really helps.

    The hens will spill a lot of food unless you have a good feeder set up. I would keep the food and water in the run if I had your set up.
  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:Like Anny said, I do my feed inside to keep from attracting unwelcome guests from rodents to wild birds. I do my water outside because the chooks cannot see to drink at night in the coop and I always let them out at earliest light. As a bonus, I never have to clean litter out of waterer, AND they all come out when I open their two pop doors which I promptly close again. This way they are not underfoot while I am doing chores. This is for an 8 x 16 coop and 24 pullets. There are different considerations for a small coop, but for me, they are best all outside in earliest AM for simplicity's sake. [​IMG]

    For poop-free spill-free waterer inside coop, do a length of PVC house guttering with two end-caps fastened under nest box shelf so that height is 10" above floor of coop. Install a flap over the top of it so that it is half-covered and only 2" of the 4" is exposed. (NO roosting, no pooping) Make a shelf with a lip so as to keep the thing from being removed unless lifted first. Also do two screws into wall studs just above rear edge to prevent tipping. Works well for water and feed. I just do feed in mine now tho. But when one was waterer in there same design, never spilled a drop of water and never a bit of poop in it. Was always litter in it tho and needed cleaning twice a week in my case but no spillage everl Still a great feeder and no spillage ever since I fill to only 3/4 ht. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  6. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY

    Water may not freeze if coop is warmer
    Can have access to 24/7 (but mine don't eat or drink at night)
    Can sleep in a little and know that they have everything they need in the coop (if u are like me and have to manually open the coop door) poor chooks had to wait until 730 today! oops!


    Water always gets spilled on the floor somehow, I have tried a lot of things and they always manage to get some on the coop floor. (Then increasing the humidity)
    The space taken by food and water and the items to place them or hang them by
    Food in the coop can lead evening predators who may not be interested in the chickens but their food to try to break in (Bears esp) DEC told me not to leave food in the coops at night.
    And not to mention, I always manage to spill some water when moving the water in and out of the coop (love the shallow rings but hate them too) You can see my water drop trail from the house to the coop.
  7. JestersEye

    JestersEye Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2008
    Mullica Twp., NJ
    I have offered mine food and water both indoors and outside at times. I like keeping it inside, though, since my coop is quite large. It also has a dirt floor, so spillage is not a big issue for me. Some additional pros, besides the warmth factor this time of year, are that it is closer and therefore easier to get to in the event of a very dedicated broody who rarely gets off the nest.

    I have a broody hen setting on eggs right now that hasn't been spotted off her nest, except once briefly, over the past two weeks! I just feel better knowing that her food and water are close by, hoping it will tempt her to get the proper nutrition and keep her strength up. I've also wondered if she might actually slip out of the nest box for "snacks" during the night, since the other hens would be too busy roosting or sleeping to bother her eggs.
  8. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Great thoughts! I love the idea of the PVC feeder and the watering trough under the nestbox, which I've never thought of or seen before. Should help with my space issue while still offering them food and water inside the nestbox...

    Thanks for all the input.

  9. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Pros: They have food and water when they wake up so I can SLEEP IN!!!!!

    Cons: None for us, that I have found [​IMG]
  10. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    food inside, water I try to put the water outside keeps everything cleaner and dryer, also keeps the humidity down in the winter

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