Want to rebuild/update coop next summer - food/water in or out?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WYchicks, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. WYchicks

    WYchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Our coop is for roosting/nesting only - food & water are kept underneath the raised coop in the run. All was well with this set-up until our recent cold cold cold winter snap hit (we're in Wyoming) & the chickens did NOT go outside. For the most part, I don't blame them, but it seems like our chickens are the only ones that won't go outside! For about 4 days, temps ranged from -15 to 5, winds blew & the ladies wouldn't budge from the roost - I caved & put a "soup" of warm water & feed inside the coop so the ladies would finally eat/drink. Except now I think they're picking up a bad habit & won't leave b/c they think they'll be fed inside the coop! [​IMG]

    How many of you, especially those in the super cold states, keep food/water in the coop? I'm looking into redesigning our coop next summer. Current coop is ok, but it was put together in a hurry & there is a lot I'd like to change about it; also, DH doesn't know it now, but I'd like to add 2-4 hens to our current flock of four hens so we'll need more room. [​IMG]
     
  2. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I am not in the super cold states, thank goodness, but I keep my food in the coop year round. I don't want to feed the night predators or worry about rain getting my food wet. The water is kept outdoors during the summer and brought inside once the temps start freezing. (My chickens refuse to go outside if snow is on the ground, not one little toe.)
     
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    I put their water in the coop 100% of the time (it's closest to my water source). It also keeps the water at a good temp regardless of the weather. I put their food in the run and when I lock them up at night I put it in with them. That way, if I don't want to jump out of bed every morning at the crack of dawn I know that they have something to keep them busy. I'm down there anyhow so it's no big deal. Maybe for a while you can toss them some treats in the run so they get used to going out again.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I live in a province here rather than a state LOL but probably comparable winters to yours (can get down to -30s F at times, though not often)

    I would say FOR SURE put the food in the coop, and almost certainly the water too (maybe even "absolutely the water as well").

    Food indoors, because a) otherwise you will be ranchin' up a whole llotta rodents who are normally hungry and nonreproductive that time of year but when they discover your open-air buffet, hoo boy; b) because it will tend to freeze solid and thus become inedible, if it gets at all damp at any time; c) because chickens may choose to stay indoors and be warm *rather than* go out and eat, which will tend to reduce flock size; and d) because in the cold (and at latitudes where winter days are quite short) it is real important to do everything you can to encourage them to eat as much as their bodies tell them to, because underfeeding is a quick way to get frostbite/hypothermia/death.

    Water indoors probably too, because a) good luck keeping outdoor water liquid for long when it's like -20 F even with a heated base, unless you WANT to make a whole lot of trips out there each day with fresh water; and b) see reason "c" above for food (you don't want them to choose comfort over drinking)

    Just locate/rig things so the waterer and feeder are not going to get tipped over or spilled.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. WYchicks

    WYchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2010
    Thanks all! Looking like water/food will be moved indoors in the new coop. [​IMG] If the winter weather continues to act the way it has been, with terrible cold snaps, I may be rigging our current coop to hold food & water! We're back into the mid-30's with warm sun radiating down, so I'm hoping the ladies will decide to stretch their legs today & get out in the run.

    I hesitated to build a new coop b/c we weren't sure how long we'd be in our current house (let alone in this town). But it looks like we'll be here at least a few years, so I think it's worth the effort. Happy chickens = eggs for us! [​IMG]
     
  6. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Farmington, NM
    I have food and water both in and out of the coop.
     

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