Where to feed and water?


11 Years
Feb 27, 2010
Was just wondering where everyone feeds and waters their birds. I've read some threads saying to feed inside, some saying feed outside, water inside AND outside, etc.

So I'm a bit confused. If I feed and water inside, where in the coop do I place the "buckets" so they don't get poopy? If placed on a shelf, how large does the shelf need to be?

If hung outside, how far from the ground should they be?

I want to be able to feed and water the chickens with the least amount of waste and "pest" problems.
I always recommend outside to keep water and feed out of the coop. The coop is for sleeping and nesting.

But that isn't always practical and birds must be fed and watered inside. But you need feeders and waterers that prevent them from getting filth in, keeps the birds off and the pests out. Hanging the fixtures is probably the best method to ensure this.

They should always be hung at a height equal to the birds back. I use line cleats to accomplish this.
I've got the feed and water out in the run, where it's easier for me to get to for cleaning and filling etc. Since our hens only use the coop to sleep there's no need to have food in there. But if your weather gets nasty enough that your hens will be staying inside during the day, you probably need to figure out a way to put it inside - I'm sure there are many ways to keep the supplies poop-free. You can check out the set-up on my site for one way - my feeders and waterer are pretty trouble-free. Good luck!
My "coop" is only a 2 x 4 roosting box (see my BYC page) so I HAVE to feed and water outside. Since the roosting box is raised I hang my feeder under it and have clear plastic panels screwed on to the 2 corners near where the feeder is hung to keep any rain/weather away from the feed.
Like many things, there is no one right answer for all of us. One of the few things most of us will agree on is what Davaroo said. Make them the height of the shortest chicken's back. There are many different ways to accomplish this. I'll show photos of what I did.



Some people feed inside to reduce the number of wild birds they feed. Some feed outside to reduce the time chickens spend in the coop, thus reducing poop load that has to be managed and to help keep mice out of the coop. Some just don't have room in the coop to feed or water. Some water outside to keep the coop dryer. Some water inside to help keep the water from freezing. When they wake up, they need water pretty soon, feed a little less so. Some feed and water inside so they can sleep later. There are a lot of reasons I'm not mentioning but hopefully you get the idea. Different strokes for different folks.
I agree w/ all of the above, but feel there are WAY more pluses to feeding in and watering in & out. Feed outside attracts pests and predators, gets moldy in humid weather,etc. Feed inside is best hung under a shelf. This keeps birds and their poop away from it. Water is just flat necessary in the South!

Again, each situation is unique and you are never right or wrong. Find the methods that work for you in order to enjoy this little hobby!
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Hmm... makes sense I suppose. If I were to feed and water inside then would a sharply angled shelf be a good idea? To keep the chickens from "roosting" on the shelf? (such as I've seen done with nest boxes)
Or if you hang the feeder, put a gallon milk carton or something similar on the rope or wire above it. Just make a hole in the bottom of the plastic container and slip it over the rope. As you can see in my other post, I just put a piece of plastic over my feeder. I made a pyramid out of plywood to hang over my waterer. Since it is outside, it needs to be something heavy enough so the wind does not blow it out of the way if it is just hanging.

You are limited only by your imagination.
I keep a feeder and a waterer in the coop. And I keep water dishes in the run, outside the coop. I also toss scratch in the coop and in the run for them to have something to look for. They seem to use them all.

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