how long can they go without access to their food and water?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lynnpm, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. lynnpm

    lynnpm Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Jan 8, 2013
    I have two pullets and a coop and run designed for "up to four" chickens. Because it's dark so early and sooooo cold here in the northeast right now, I have been closing their coop door as early at 6 or 7pm. The problem is that their food and water is in the run and I have to open the door in the morning for them to get to it. Sometimes, I sleep late and this morning didn't open the door until 8am! They rush down their ramp (well, the one bossy one comes down first and devours some food while the other waits for permission)... they seem ok, I worried that they would be dying of thirst but they both go to the food first so I guess they're not. Is this cruel to leave them shut up in their little coop for 12 hours or more? Should I find a way to put some water in there at least?
     
  2. From the North

    From the North Out Of The Brooder

    74
    1
    39
    Jan 22, 2013
    Why not just leave the door open for them to come and go (as long as the run is secure against predators)?
     
  3. lynnpm

    lynnpm Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Jan 8, 2013
    I thought it was important to close the door when the weather is below freezing ... so there's no draft. It's a small space, maybe 3 x 4? So the door being open makes a big difference on inside temp. I actually have a heating pad in there on low too ....
     
  4. Kirklandchick

    Kirklandchick Out Of The Brooder

    67
    3
    31
    Oct 13, 2012
    Illinois
    Our setup sounds similar to yours, we close the pop door after they have gone in for the night and they do not have access to the water. They don't move off of the roost until either it gets light out or I turn the coop light on for them, so they wouldn't be eating or drinking anyway. Ours go into the coop to roost for the night around 5pm, and I open the door for them between 5 and 6:30 am. I do have a small feeder inside the coop because a couple of them like to eat right away before they go outside, but they don't do that every day either. As long as they are getting enough to eat and drink during their daytime activity, they should be fine for the night. I do try to get out there before daylight though to get the pop door open because they are very antsy to get outside as soon as they can see well enough to move around.
     
  5. CluckAcres

    CluckAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,165
    58
    153
    Nov 20, 2012
    Silver Lake, Indiana
    The food i dont really think is a problem but far as water I think they should have access to it 24/7 and should be kept fresh and not frozen. Just my thoughts. Water is a key thing to keep a chicken healthy.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Your hens are going to roost at dusk, and you're letting them out pretty close to dawn, this time of year. You're not hurting them, they're not coming down off the perches to try to eat or get a drink in the middle of the night, anyway. The only problem with your set-up is that you have to make sure you get out there as early as you can every single day. And you can't put supplemental light in there, because the light will wake up the hens and they'll want to drink.

    24/7 access to water sounds great, but it's not necessary. "Access to water during daylight hours" is more important. My dog gets put in her crate at 9pm and let out at 7am--no water in the crate. Heck I go to bed at 9pm and don't get a drink until after the dog has been let out, usually. This is common behavior for animals--to only drink when you're awake and moving about. It's just common sense.
     
  7. spotsplus

    spotsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,198
    35
    194
    Sep 29, 2008
    Franklin, MA
    My girls don't have water at night. They go in at thier leisure and sundown (about 6 pm) and I let them out at 7:15 am. Some go for the food, some go for the water. I haven't had any problems with this set up.
     
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    I'd like to point out that having water in the coop is an almost sure way to have wet bedding. Moisture in the coop, particularly in winter, is not good for the birds and can cause frostbite. I have water in the coop overnight in the winter because my lights go on at 4am and I never get out to let the birds out until 7:30 or 8:00, but I wish I didn't have to. There's always a bunch of wet bedding under the waterer that I have to deal with.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by