In the coop or in the run?


Jun 17, 2016
Pearland, TX
We’re still building our big coop so still trying to determine the best way to do some things. When it comes to food and water, what are the pros/cons for having inside the coop vs in the run area? I was thinking of doing a built-in-the-wall type feeder like this:

So that would mean it would need to be in the coop. And if food is in the coop, water needs to be as well, correct? But if they’ll be in the run the majority of the time except for sleeping, it would be better to keep the food outside, wouldn’t it? Just can’t decide the best way to go. With our hot weather, I’m thinking now, it would be better if they’re not inside a bunch to get food in the heat of the day. Opinions??

FYI: the coop will be a roughly 4.5’x10’ area of a 10’x12’ shed and the outside run will be somewhere around 12’x15-20’
The food can go any where you want it.
Just make sure you do something, like a hardware cloth apron to prevent rats from digging into the run. Trust me when I tell you they WILL come.
If you aren't going to be able to prevent rats you will want to make sure you are able to remove all food and water at night.

I'm very close to you and there is no way in the world I can imagine a closed in coop in our area.
My coop is attached and always open to my run and it is only "closed" on two sides to block rain. (It's ALL covered too though.)
In the coop and you have mess issues when feeding dry feed. They will flip it out a lot unless you come up with a way to limit that. And spilled feed attracts vermin. Spilled water will add to the humidity load and give you wet bedding. This isn't awful if you are using deep litter, but if you are a coop cleaner, yep, it isn't good. And it does take up room inside the coop.

Outside you still have the flipping it out problem so you have to solve that. It is also more vulnerable to rain, wet food gets moldy fast. And again, it is a magnet for vermin. I don't think there is a downside to water being outside until it comes to winter. In the winter, it's far more likely to freeze up than in the coop. So that's a trade off.

Either way, the two biggest challenges are food waste and water freezing. Once you decide how to deal with those two things, then maybe the location choice will be easier
Food and water need to be available when the birds wake up in the morning, so unless you are out there at dawn, or 3 am when the light goes on in winter, have it in the coop, or the coop/ run combination.
Selecting the right feeder will help manage the bill-out problem, especially with crumble or mash type feeds. I use the yellow plastic feeder; cheap and works great. IMG_0427 (1).JPG It can also be hung up.
My waterers are in several places in summer, and there are two in the coop in winter, on heater bases, to prevent freezing.
If your run is predator proof, it can be open to the coop all the time, making management much easier. If it's not that safe, then locking them in the coop every night means food and water there too, unless you are up really early!
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I would probably recommend putting in the run since chickens can make a mess when eating and you wouldn't want to attract rodents, also I tried keeping the chickens food and water in the coop once and the chickens never wanted to go in the coop to get their feed and when they did it the water spilling was making the wood sort of rot. You can do what you like though! Things will probably work better for you since you have a different method of doing it.;)
5 years ago when we first started chicken stuff, we used to put water and feeders inside the coop then few months later we added another feeder and water in the run. Observing the chicken roosting and getting down from the roost with feed and water inside it’s convenient for the chickens but not practical. We have a 10x12 coop w/ 10’ ceiling w/ roost ranges from 3-4’ high but some of the hens decided to roost on the rafters 7’ high, whenever they fly up and down they bump the feeders and water that sometimes create mess on the floor besides they sometimes poop on the feeders/water since it’s all hanging from the ceiling.

I decided to hang all 3 feeders and all 3 waterers in our 2 runs since our pop door is open 24/7 anyways and the run are all secured tight and roofed. Coop is a lot cleaner so does the eggs, less waste of feeds and less work for me.

In your case, you’ll probably will have less freezing water in the winter, my chickens spend more time in the run digging, dust bathing even on sub zero weather they only use the coop for laying and sleeping or if they want some privacy (lol). But it’s normally your choice what is healthy and convenient for your flock and easy for you to enjoy your hobby without extra work.
It doesn't freeze in this area guys.
Winter is never a problem down's the heat that can be a problem.
I have food put away at night to deter rodents. The chickens are fine even if they have to sit around a couple of hours until I get out there to feed them. I don't get up until 8:30, 9:00 AM.

I do keep water in the coop since that's not a rodent magnet.

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