Food and Water, inside coop or run?

carriebare28

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
19
0
22
We have an A Frame chicken tractor, where half of it is an enclosed coop, and it is attached to a run. Our chicks are just 5 weeks old, and we are using the mason jar waterer/and feeders. I keep them outside during the day, and move them inside when it is raining, and when we shut the chicks in side for the night. There has to be something that works better for this. We do move the coop around the yard. I have hooks to hang a feeder and waterer inside the coop, and in the run as well.
Do you keep your food and water inside the coop, or inside the run?
If you keep it in the run, what do you do when it rains? What if they are hungry or thirsty when they are shut in for the night?

I like the idea of having it outside, to save space and keep it cleaner longer. But I don't know if logistically it will work, specially for nights.

Down side for keeping it inside, harder to tell when food or water need to be refilled, the hanging feeders and waterers are big and take up a lot of space, specially when you only have 3 chicks.

Also, we live in Michigan, and the water will freeze for sure over the winter, so we need a solution for this as well. Help!!

Carrie
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,042
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
For your setup, keeping the food and water outside will be the best idea. As you have noticed, the space savings is a key consideration in this choice. When it rains the birds will go out, get a drink or bite to eat and go back inside when they feel the weather is too bad (btw, or idea of weather being bad and theirs is often vastly different - we often forget how well equipped they are for being in adverse conditions compared to us puny, soft humans). Chickens at roost do not eat/drink throughout the night - *if* you lock them in at night (this is not a must do - it's one of those things each person must decide for themselves) you will just need to be sure you get up and out there to let them out so they have access to feed and water in a timely manner.
There are many options for water in winter - from those that require access to electric so that various heat sources can keep the water from freezing to simply going out and providing fresh water 2-3 times a day. Our coop is not wired, we simply go out morning and afternoon and provide the birds fresh water - we give warm (but not hot) water so that it takes longer for the water to become cooled and then freeze. The birds catch on right quick that when water is brought you get your drink.
 

carriebare28

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
19
0
22
Thanks. Doesn't water get in the feeder when it rains? I am worried that would ruin the food.

Thanks for the info. I had no idea they would not eat or drink when they are roosting. And I thought they would not go outside in the rain. We plan on parking the coop close to the garage for the winter, so we would have access to electricity to heat the water if necessary. I am hoping to avoid that as much as possible and do what you do by bringing out fresh water in the morning and at night.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,042
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks. Doesn't water get in the feeder when it rains? I am worried that would ruin the food.

Thanks for the info. I had no idea they would not eat or drink when they are roosting. And I thought they would not go outside in the rain. We plan on parking the coop close to the garage for the winter, so we would have access to electricity to heat the water if necessary. I am hoping to avoid that as much as possible and do what you do by bringing out fresh water in the morning and at night.

If feed is kept outside there are several options that can be employed to protect feed from moisture/spoilage. How much of a "roof" will be over your feeder when it is in the hanging position outside your coop? I'm working on the assumption that your coop is like most A-frame tractors so that the "roof" would be the floor to the coop that sits above the run area. Keep in mind the feeder only needs to be as low as the birds' chest, so you can hang the feeder fairly high, affording it more protection from that cover. Since space is a concern with these tractors you'll want to choose a feeder with the smallest "footprint" anyway, so that will work to reduce the amount of exposure you might see of feed to weather. On that note, a "no waste" feeder is a great option when you want to feed outside - because the birds actually put their heads into the bucket through an access hole the feed is protected from the elements entirely. You can find a lot of great ideas for DIY no-waste feeders here on BYC with some really nice "how to" step by step pictorial guides for making them. Treadle feeders are another option that keeps the feed covered when the birds are not actively eating - but they such that you would be giving up some real estate in the run area to have one.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,203
491
Long Beach, WA
Chickens, as a general rule, do not like heavy rain. Mine happily go out in a light drizzle to forage on all the goodies that rain brings up out of the soil. But when it starts to downpour, well, they don't like being soaked through. If you leave pelleted feed outside in the rain, it will turn to mush. Your chickens will still eat it, but it makes cleaning your feeders out a pain.
 

carriebare28

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
19
0
22
Our chicken tractor is half enclosed as a coop, and half a run. The run is not covered at all. We thought of making one of the pvc pipe feeders, going in the coop, and the opening outside of the coop and capped.

We will cover part of the run in the winter, but not this time of year. Unless the feeder itself had a lid, there will be no protection on it from the elements if it is in the run.
 

carriebare28

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
19
0
22
400
 

carriebare28

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2015
19
0
22
It's actually pretty big. It's almost 5 feet tall. We only have 3 chickens. They will have enough room easily. It looks a lot smaller in the picture for some reason, I think it is the angle of the camera.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,203
491
Long Beach, WA
That is much larger than the picture makes it look then. It's probably just the right size for 3 or 4 medium sized adult birds then. You want to have at least 3 square feet of floor space per medium to large adult inside, not including nest boxes or the run.
 

MANNA-PRO

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