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Newbie seeks advice on waterers and feeders

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Delsur, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Delsur

    Delsur New Egg

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    Jul 7, 2013
    Hi all. This is my first post/question but first I would like to extend a huge thanks to all the contributors here as I have learned a great deal in preparing for my adventure into backyard chickens.

    My wife and I are currently building a coop and plan to get about a dozen chicks soon. I understand I need a waterer and feeder inside the coop as well as water and feed outside the coop. My question is this: how big of a waterer do I need for full grown chickens inside the coop assuming they will have access to food and water outside the coop? What is a good brand of thermostatically controlled waterer for a dozen chickens? (I live in Ky where we have many sub-freezing days in winter, but not for weeks at a time.)

    I have water near the coop and electricity (obviously) so refilling often isn't an overly burdensome task, but I don't want to have to refill too often (thinking about neighbors who will tend the flock when we're on vacation..). . I've seen waterers in many different sizes and want to ensure I provide adequate space inside the cooop while building it. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Next question is the same, only regarding a feeder? 3 lbs feeder, 11 lbs feeder.. other??? I have no idea what to plan and how much space it will require.

    I will build a large run and will attempt a fair amount of free ranging, but need to know what to plan for while building the coop for food and water.

    Thanks in advance for your input!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    They don't necessarily need feed and water in both. It totally depends on your set-up. If you plan for them to be confined to the coop for long periods of time, they need them in the coop. If you plan for them to be able to access the run daily or at will, in the run is fine. You'll just need to make some design and management decisions and plan accordingly. For instance, my coop and run are only separated by an opening, not a door. My birds come and go at will. The feeder is in the coop and the waterer is in the run. I put the feeder in the coop so it stays dry (I'm in the PNW) and the waterer in the run cause it's closer to the hose, I can run the hose through the fence and it was too much of a pain to try to watch the door to prevent escaping birds while watering. Also, if a waterer leaks, it's outside so no biggie.

    I'm lazy (I guess now I could say I'm sick!) and don't like to do more work than I have to. I have a 7 gallon waterer for my ~2 dozen birds, plus a kiddie pool and a large rubber tub, just for backup. I'm not sure how large my feeder is, I just bought the largest one they had at the Grange. That means less often I have to fill it.

    Build the coop with MINIMUM 4 square feet per bird, a feeder and waterer really won't take up that much space. Unless your birds will be in the run every day, at least double that space. Overcrowding is the leading cause of behaviors like pecking and cannibalism [​IMG]

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  3. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC from West TN !!!


    My feeders are a 3 gallons hog pan bolted to the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket w/lid, I bore 4 holes around the bottom side of the bucket 1.25" dia. I fill them about every 3 weeks. These I keep in the coop for one the other is in my chicken tractor, where I have a Plastic tub with legs attached as a roof to keep the feed dry.

    My scratch feeder when on trips is a deer corn feeder.. I only use this when I am on trips..


    My water system is a 4 nipple system attached to a 55 gallon rain barrel..

    I made an autodoor to let them in and out..

    Makes it easy to care for each day.



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  4. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too have a 55 gal barrel--it collects rainwater off the coop roof-- that feeds 4 nipples in my outdoor run, there is really no need for inside water in my coop as the birds come and go at will. I built my system, or I should say rebuilt, using the Horizontal nipples that Rich386 sells here on this forum they are the absolute best thing out there. You can read the topic I wrote and see a bunch of my pictures in this topic, Brand new Horizontal nipple water system for a really old coop! My feeder is a large standard hanging feeder inside the coop to keep it dry, they get snacks and scratch outside in the run.

    If you build your system with a return loop and put a small fountain pump in the line it will not freeze in the winter. If you need help finding parts send me a Pm and I will try and help, you should also send a PM to Rich386 to check on how to get some nipples
     
  5. Delsur

    Delsur New Egg

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    Jul 7, 2013
    Thanks for all the helpful info! Love the rain barrel idea.

    I am installing an auto door. The flock will have access to the run daily (roughly from sun up to sun down) where I will maintain food and water. At night the door will close to keep predators out.

    The question then becomes: do they need access to food and water at night while locked up in the coop?
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Nope, they don't need feed or water in the coop under the set-up you're describing. They pretty much sleep all night and don't eat or drink. The auto-door is a nice thing, that way you don't have to get up so early (from a night owl!) and they can still come and go. Sounds like you're well on your way!
     
  7. Melinda48

    Melinda48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We do have a waterer inside the coop - we tried that initially but it got way too wet and messy. We have two outside and use the chicken nipple watering devices and absolutely love them! This is, in my opinion, the best invention!!! No mess - just keep the bucket filled (we make sure we have a lid on top to keep it clean on that end too.

    We keep our feed only in the coop - none outside.. When I feed the girls their treats though, we don't put any of that in the coop. Our coop is for the girls, their nesting boxes and their feed.
    Lovin our girls! We got our at Tractor Supply and have been very very happy with the birds and the advice we get from the folks there.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Question to those with nipple watering systems; do they freeze in winter?

    My watering system is totally different. In winter I use those big black rubber tubs you can buy at Tractor Supply. I take a piece of plywood and cut a hole in it that the rubber tub will fit in, then put that over another piece of plywood separated by 2x4’s. The tub sits inside that hole and can’t be turned over. If it freezes, I just take it out, turn it over, and stomp the ice out or bang it against a wall or the ground, then refill. If it is outside in the sun, the black rubber acts as a solar heater and keeps it thawed well into the lower 20’s. Inside or on a cloudy day, not so well.

    In the summer, the same system but use white plastic bowls outside in the sun. You can still use the black rubber inside out of the sun. I make sure I dump them about every 3 to 4 days to make sure mosquito larva are not living out their life cycle in there.

    I raise them on blocks in the coop up on blocks and attach that to the wall to keep them from scratching bedding in it. The run is bare dirt so that one’s not as easy to get dirty. If algae starts to turn them green, I wash with a bleach solution. If the water gets dirty, I dump them more often.
     
  9. Melinda48

    Melinda48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This will be our first winter but I will check the water daily and, if it freezes, we will get a heater or just dump out the ice and refill daily.
     
  10. Melinda48

    Melinda48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We made a lid out of Maine plywood, painted, to keep out any dirt, critters, bugs. It is working great so far. Love the chicken nipples-neat and clean and they work!
     

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