Should I have water and feed in the coop? Pro's & Con's

Rose Quartz

Mar 18, 2018
East Hants N.S. Canada
Well, it's really up to you.

Benefit of having the feed in the coop is you won't have to worry as much about moisture damage, or mold in the feed from rain or other weather. They'll have access before you let them out in the morning.

Down sides: rodents may get in the coop looking for food. they might poop in it a lot if it ends up under the roost or if they're able to sit on the edge of it. They'll likely dig it out of what ever container you have it in, and have it scattered over the floor. With close quarters, if the water's near by it could easily get wet and mold.

Benefit to having the water in the coop is that you won't have to worry about them having water first thing before you let them out.

Downsides: Bedding gets kicked into it, if you have the store bought red screw bottom auto waterer, you'll need to empty the trough through the day so they have water, or you could raise it off the floor and risk them tipping it over and completely emptying on the floor. If you have a large open container, once it gets below half full they'll likely tip it over and dump it over the floor.
Humidity and possible frost bite in the winter.



Feed pros: They'll actually eat through the day, when they're outside. (Mine free range and refuse to go inside to eat.)
I haven't had the feed outside much myself, so there may be more pros.

Feed cons: Wildlife of all kinds will eat it, and possibly spread disease to your flock. So far I've found this to include rodents, birds, and raccoons.
Moisture, which I suppose could be avoided with the right kind of feeder. Any feed that's scratched or dug out on to the ground could cause a problem though. I ended up just running out and grabbing it if it started raining.
It needs to be locked up at night, which means either moving it inside, or having a feeder that is lockable. (If you have cats be warned they will use feed as a litter box)

Water: I actually prefer it outside. It's not possible during the winter for me.

Pros: Keeps the coop cleaner and dry. It doesn't get full of bedding. In good weather when they don't want to go back inside at all, they still have access to water.

Cons: Sunlight can cause algae to grow inside the waterer, which can make your flock sick/kill them if it isn't cleaned out regularly, they don't have access before being let out in the morning, in bad weather they might not go out. It'll freeze faster in the winter.


Yippy Do Da, Yipptye Ay my oh what a beautiful day
Premium member
Dec 29, 2015
Mossyrock, WA
I have food in coop never had rodents but have 2 outside cats and 2 large dogs I do have large coop this standing feeder I have used of our making placing 4 for 20 birds
the horizontal nipples I use for water order the nipples from amazon chicks at 3 weeks can activate them my silkie taught 11 sussex and couple cochin at that age to use the nipples I about fell over



Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Rose Quartz has some pretty good points to consider. Overall there isn't one right answer as everyone's set up is different. Me, I have food inside (dry feed, which I want to keep dry) and outside (wet feed in the morning, which does get messy). My water is outside as I want to keep the coop as dry as possible.


Aug 30, 2017
Poplar Bluff, MO
My Coop
My Coop
If they are only sleeping in that area they don't need food and water, providing when they wake up they can get to the area with food and water.

Mine sleep in a roost box with no food or water. At dawn or earlier (like now the controller is adding 5 minutes extra light per day) the lights come on and the door opens and they can go into the run which has food and water.


My new coop (converting 1/2 of a shed) will have food and water in the same area that they sleep in just due to the area being larger and no covered area outside yet.

In the end you just have to figure out what works best for you and your birds.


Building Bridges

Jan 11, 2020
I am designing my new coop & run build for this spring. It will be a 6x6 coop with a 12x20 run attached. Should I have the feed and water in the coop or the run. What is the best? I tend to lean towards the coop being just for roosting with no water or feed. What are your thoughts? Thanks
I appreciate this post because I don't have chickens yet and, like you, I believe I want all food and water outdoors. I remember reading that the chickens may not go outside in winter if they have food and water indoors and I think it's important that they get out and get some fresh air and exercise. I'll be interested to see responses from the experienced folks on BYC.:goodpost:


Jul 23, 2019
Where we are We get a lot of snow and bad weather so my girls choose to stay in the coop a lot of the day. I think that needs to be a huge factor in the decision on where to put your feed. To me..what matters is that my chickens are healthy...and that means that have access to food and water in the coop..since many times they are stuck in there due to rain, whatever. My hubby made a round lid thing that I sit over the one feeder so they don’t poop on it. It worked great that way...but I just threw it out because they sat on it too much and it was too hard to clean. In the summer they have regular 5gallon water era from the winter we use heat tape to keep water from freeze it. I put one plastic round bin with water inside an under the bed collects spills.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I keep feed and water in the coop because:
-My run is not weather proof, nor totally predator proof.
-We get some wicked weather, wild wind and feet of snow, there can be days on end that they don't spend much time outside.
-I use early morning supplemental lighting and they need to eat and drink way before they could go outside.
-Easier, and safer, for powering heated waterer.
-Feed is stored inside large shed that houses coop, so it's just easier for me the keeper.

Do not forget to make your coop easily accessible for you the keeper as well as for what the birds need.

Spill proof feeder keeps rodents at bay, as well as always set snap traps.
Horizontal Nipple waterer just about eliminates spills and evaporation issues.

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