Suddenly wondering if chickens eat and drink at night???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by robbinbaker, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. robbinbaker

    robbinbaker Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poulsbo, WA
    A couple days ago I moved the hanging food/water containers to the chickens outdoor run (from inside the coop) because a rodent was chewing through the walls & doors of the coop to get to the food. It was driving me crazy and I was sick of repairing the coop.

    Now, by reading all the various posts here, it has suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the chickens need access to the food and water at night? They are locked in at dark and released (to where they would have access to the food/water) about 1.5 hours after dawn.

    Do they need access to food and water at night? I assumed because it was dark they couldn't see it anyway and would stay on their roost. But if it's critical for them I could put small feeders and waterers in some manner where the annoying rodents would have trouble getting them....

    Comments? Help? Answers? I just want my girls to be happy! :)
  2. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    I would leave the water for them. Just me I guess.
  3. grinz

    grinz Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2008
    When my hen's go to roost at night, I've never seen any indication that they go to their food or water. I stopped putting it in the coop due to the constant cleaning and contamination from feathers, droppings etc. I also saw signs of rodents being attracted to the roost.
    I always open the door for them at a little before sunrise each morning. They seem to wander out at their leisure. Probably no right or wrong answer here.
  4. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Yeah they are pretty much Zombie like once it gets dark and they head for the roost.

  5. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    I don't offer food nor water in the coop.
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    If it's completely dark they won't. They don't need feed or water at night then. If you have a heat lamp or other source of light they might occasionally get down but I still wouldn't worry too much about leaving food and water. However what I do worry about is being there early enough. Especially when our days get longer. I'm not going out to the coop at 5am when the sun rises in the summer to make sure the chickens have food and water when they wake up. I'd rather spend my evenings rodent proofing with some good tin fastened around the bottom of the coop than get up at or before sunrise every day.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  7. robbinbaker

    robbinbaker Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poulsbo, WA
    I think I'll put their spare water'er in the coop so I know for sure they've got water if they wake up early. Especially as you say, when the days get longer. I was thinking of building a PVC pipe feeder inside so it doesn't take up much room and can be difficult for the rodents to access. Then it would be more like a snack provider for the chickens. I wanted to make some for grit and oyster shell anyway...
  8. NancyDz

    NancyDz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    Funny to see this post, last night I went out a couple hours after dark to make sure the coop was locked up tight, notice the large feeder was low on lay pellets, so I decided to
    refill it so they'd have it first thing in the morning. I was shining a flashlight in there and they made a little noise. But when I put the full feeder down, one jumped off and started eating in the dark. Now the feeder wasnt completely out so it's not like it was hungry .. maybe just got reminded? I don't know it was funny to close the coop door in the dark and hear her pecking away at the pellets. Maybe she had insomnia or something and dedided to have a midnight snack? [​IMG]

  9. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    I leave mine in the coop 24/7 so they can have it when they want it.
    I have gone out at night to check on them and the horses, and for whatever reason if you wake them up a couple will get down and go eat.
    I'm not an early early morning person and want to make sure they have the food and water there as soon as they get up so I do it this way.
    I'd have more rodent problems leaving it outside rather than inside here so guess it's up to each individual's set up and preference.
  10. newchicksnducks

    newchicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 10 chicks still in the brooder and 2 ducks ready for the new coop (at 8 weeks). I would love to keep the water out of the coop to keep it dry. I've found out ducks are really little pigs in disguise! I'm up daily at 5:30 or 6 am anyways....keeping water out of the coop sounds good to me!

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