Location of Auto Waterers and Feed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sms1225, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    I am building a chicken coop for about 25 laying hens. It's aprox 8'x8'. I'm trying to figure out where I should put the gravity automatic nipples waterer and my feed location. I have an adjoining room and on the adjoining room wall I have my nests located so I can retrieve the eggs from the adjoining room, and not from the front of the nests.

    I'm trying to design the coop as efficiently as possible, to eliminate daily labor time required.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Susan
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Really you can put the food and water anywhere except under roosts and maybe just by the door since when you let them out they may run into them. Personal preference really. Being able to hang the feeders so you can accommodate younger/older birds may be a good thing to do too if you don't have a separate grow out pen.

    I am assuming you'll have a large run for the birds in addition to the coop? 64 sq feet for 25 birds will be very cramped unless they have free access to the outdoors. Ideally 4sq foot per bird inside is best, with more room the better, else you may end up with pecking issues due to stress. Under "recommended" conditions, 16 would be the most in a shed about that size unless they had an open run to get out into. It may also depend on breed, as some are worse than others when it comes to having to be confined. Best of luck!
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you're going to use auto waterers, which convert daily labor into occasional large unscheduled periods of panic labor when they fail and flood your coop, I suggest putting them wherever it'll be easiest to mop up afterwards [​IMG] (I am assuming you live in a frost-free climate?)

    Feeders/waterers actually *can* go right underneaath the roosts if you're tight for space, as long as you put a solid droppings board under the roost and scrape the poo off it daily. Personally I would call that labor-saving, since it is really fast and easy and greatly prolongs the life of the litter, but if you would rather have weekend than daily tasks then maybe not so much.

    As silkiechicken says that is a lot of chickens for that size coop unless they will really only be in there when asleep at night. You will need lots of ventilation, the litter will get nasty faster, and you will most likely have more behavioral problems and injuries to manage. Probably the biggest labor saving thing would be twice as large a coop (or half as many chickens) and a good large attached run [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    Yes I am going to have a big run and hopefully a big pasture with electric fencing. I will only be keeping them in the coop at night.

    My coop is 9'x 9' with 8' ceilings and (2) 5' wide sliding windows with (2) exhaust fan in the ceiling.

    I live in southern indiana and it does freeze. I was considering using heated buckets with nipples for the colder winter months.

    Maybe I am just worrying too much about having all the bases covered. I see on the backyardchicken web site where most people just use the bell waterers and a regular tube type feeder or trough. I'm trying to reduce waste as well with the feed. I'm also not thrilled about lugging buckets of water in the winter, so I was trying to construct a gravity watering system with water coming off the barn roof, filtered and then goes into a systern, which then will hold the water until it is called for in a holding bucket, with nipples.

    I just don't know which way to go and really need some practical experience.

    I have a droppings pen already constructed below the roosting area, which has an outside door that will help in the cleaning of the coop.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I've never seen a heated bucket with nipples but perhaps they're out there or I suppose with care and appropriate fittings you might be able to construct one without damaging the heating element... and I suppose the nipples themselves might not freeze as long as it doesn't get *too* cold... but have you figured out how are you planning on keeping the water in the cistern and pipes from freezing? (And if you *do* have some means for keeping the cistern and pipes from freezing, you could just fill the cistern once a week or whatever from a hose run from the house.)

    I can tell you from horse barns that, unfortunately, it is not at all an easy thing to set up an auto waterer system that is not prone to packing it in (often in a burst-and-flood way) during really cold weather. It can be done but not in all possible circumstances and it usually ain't simple to design. If nothing else, you probably oughta have a good plan B [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    Pat,

    Thanks so much for your input.

    Susan
     
  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2007
    When I had a larger flock, I rigged up an automatic watering system that was connected to the well via a small clear line and a pressure reducer.

    The small clear water line was strung about 10' up. It would freeze at night in the winter, but thaw quickly and completely once the sun came up. This system worked fine for years until I reduced the size of the flock.

    Now I run a smaller flock. Heated 5 gallon bucket with a small cup on the back, similar to a nipple type waterer. Rain runoff from the roof drains into the bucket. I still have to fill it occassionally, but only a few times a year.

    My feeder holds a 50 lb sack of feed. Wall mounted externally with a lid.
     

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