Where to put the food & water with Free Range Chickens??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by heybarb, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a small raised coop with sand & DE on the coop floor and no run as our chickens free range all day. We modified the Purina Mills coop, but it's about the same square footage - about 8 chickens. In their plans, they show the food & under under the coop....BUT...

    I used to keep the food and water in the coop, but the water made such a mess and I found that the chickens rarely return to the coop during the day except to lay their eggs. So, I moved the water out into the yard where the chickens seem to access it more often and it's way less messy. I left the food inside thinking that bugs and ants would stay away from it, plus it would be available to the chickens during the early morning before the door opens. I was also thinking that it would be safer inside because it wouldn't attract predators....

    Anyway, the food is a disaster inside the coop. The chickens throw it all over the coop and it seems like more than 1/2 is wasted since they won't eat it off the coop floor because of the poop/sand/DE mixture...

    If I put it under the coop, it will be protected from the weather, but will it attract predators? Will it attract bugs? I can't think of any other place that I could put it...

    What do you do?? Any suggestions for me?

    Here are a few pictures of the coop to give you an idea of the space...it's not very big!

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  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Opelousas, Louisiana
    What type of feeder do you have their feed in? Can you raise the feeder?

    VERY nice coop you have there. :thumbsup
     
  3. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the compliment!!!

    I started with the small feeder on the bottom right, then recently bought the one on the top right hoping it would help - Ummm, no, it didn't help!

    What do you mean when you say raise it? Like hang it from the ceiling? Or put it on blocks? I've tried both and it really didn't help much...

    I did put the bigger one under the coop and there is just enough space to hang it. It's about a 1/2 inch off the ground. Now food is all over under the coop too!



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  4. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Nice feeders. I also have a raised coop and I hang the feeders from the ceiling and there is no waste. But if you have already tried this, then that won't help. Pics below.

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  5. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you think it's OK to put the food under the coop and leave it out all day and night? Will it attract bugs and predators?
     
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Don't put it outside. It will attract rodents and also it will get damp from dew.

    Here is what I use and works very well inside coop.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/588292/ideas-for-no-or-low-waste-chick-feeders
    see post #3 for his pan (this is not my picture)

    I use the black rubber fortex pans and the 12 lb hanging feeder just set inside the rubber tub, not hanging. Every day or so I just dump the feed back into the feeder that has spilled into the tub. Almost zero waste. The 12 lb feeder has a narrow lip and is excellent for this. Some feeders have a lip that is very wide and encourages billing the feed out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  7. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
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    Thanks for the ideas...if I leave the food inside the coop, then I need some sort of cover for it too. That's the "error" of our plan. There are 3 rows of roosts that basically cover every square foot of floor space. My girls and boys roost all over the place and there is no "poop-free" spot...that spot used to be close to the nest boxes on the side of the coop or in the back under the lowest roost, but now that our babies are 6 weeks old they are starting to roost some...and I've lost it!

    What if I build a shelf inside the coop and put the feeder under the shelf...then put the feeder inside a pan under the shelf?? Would chickens go under a shelf to eat?
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Sure! What I do in one of my coops is put a large piece of plexiglass plastic over the feeders and put a grit pan on top to hold it down (which they theoretically could knock down but they are bantams). When I fill the feeders I lift the plastic sheet off. It keeps the rain from beating in on the food (only rains in those vents when the wind is blowing a strange way- hardly ever). They duck under to get the food.
     
  9. thetigress

    thetigress Out Of The Brooder

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    No don't leave it outside at night. Hang it outside during the day and bring it in at night. Your chickens do not need to have it inside the coop. When you let them out in the morning, bring the food out to and hang it. But it would probably be a good idea to try and hang it outside where the over hang is. That is what we have done. Take the water and hang it there too. Put the feed close to the right side and the water close to the left leaving space for your hens to get to it. Our hens free range all the time, and I had placed small cat bowls of feed and water throughout the yard (3 acres) but if you have a creek near by, your hens probably would rather drink out of it than the waterer. Ours do! As for feed, chickens prefer to find their own food rather than be fed. Well ours do anyways. We live out in the country and really have no problem with rodents going after the food, besides squirrels. And there's nothing you can do to stop them.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015

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