No Food / Water inside Coop Over Night?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Juise, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Juise

    Juise Songster

    Mar 4, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I have a large coop for our year old chickens, and have always had food and water in there with them. We have recently bought 6 new chicks, they are around 5 weeks old, and I build a tractor for them and fenced in an area to keep them quarantined to the best of my ability from our older, free-ranging hens. Here is what it looks like:


    The tractor itself is not predator proof, but I wheel the entire thing into a barn at night so that it is secure. Well, I am sick of pushing that thing into the barn every night, and I have been endeavoring to make the little coop on it predator proof so that I can simply close up the coop at night wherever it happens to be.

    I added a door to the chicken access hole at the top of the ramp with a hardware cloth window, and replaced the chicken wire over the people access hatch in the back with hardware cloth, bought some latches and lock, and then realized there were gaps under the tin roofing. Ugh! So I had to put it in the barn tonight after all, tomorrow I will take the roof off and cover the whole top with hardware cloth, and put the tin back over it.

    Okay, the point I am getting at here is that before, there was no door between the coop and run and I left their food and water in the run for them to come down and have access to at any time.

    But if I am locking them in the coop, there is not really room in there to put their food and water. Is it okay for them not to have access to it over night? If so, how early in the morning would I need to be getting out there to open things up? We are on a second shift schedule, so I do not normally get out there until 11ish. Is that way too long for them not to be able to get at their food and water? If so, I may just have to resign myself to shoving the thing into the barn every night and hauling it back out every morning. Pulling it out is much more difficult than getting it in. (This is not a dirty joke [​IMG])

    (Edit: Forgot to add the link to the picture, oops!)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012

  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Why are you not mixing the younger birds with the younger? That would be easiest, seems like.

    Birds don't as a rule eat or drink from dusk to dawn, when it's dark they're sleeping. But 11am is pretty late.
  3. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Songster

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    I don't think that the hours of dusk to dawn pose any problem at all, but after sunrise they'll be wanting to drink at least (and really, probably want to eat too). Maybe you could figure some way to at least put water in there for them, maybe attach some pvc tubing to the wall with one or more nipple waterers in it?

    Maybe it might be easier to just figure out a way to wrap the tractor run in hardware cloth so you can just leave their coop door open all the time????

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    No creature, including humans & chickens, requires access to food & water 24/7. Do you get up for a sandwich in the middle of the night very often? They'll be fine overnight w/o access to food & water. That said, 11 is a little late to start their day but if it's the best you can do they'll adjust.
  5. Juise

    Juise Songster

    Mar 4, 2011
    The only chickens we have are the 1 year olds and the new chickies. We will begin integrating them as soon as the quarantine period is up, so this is really only an issue for another couple weeks.

    It is really the hours after sunrise that I am worried about, not the actual night time hours, I guess. I will have to look at nipple waterers, I have heard much about them, but haven't looked into them yet. Are they very expensive?

    As far as wrapping the whole thing in hardware cloth goes, there are a couple reasons I don't want to. Firstly, the tractor has no bottom so that they can scratch and peck and do all that chicken stuff. It wouldn't be much fun with a wire floor. [​IMG] Secondly, this is a temporary structure for us to use just for the period of quarantine, and hardware cloth is so expensive! If the budget wasn't so tight, I might be able to splurge on some, but as it is, it is just too much for us to spend on a tractor we will use for 3 weeks. I have a small amount left over from our big coop and run, and that is what I am using to secure the coop.

    Well.. sometimes. [​IMG] [​IMG]

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