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The Pros and Cons of Having an Indoor Chicken Coop

indoor chicken coop

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As a backyard chicken enthusiast, one question that I often get asked is whether or not chickens need food and water in their coop at night. The short answer is no, chickens do not need food and water in their coop at night. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t provide these necessities for your feathered friends.

It Is A Chicken Coop Not A House

First of all, it’s important to remember that a chicken coop is not a house. Chickens are hardy animals that are well-equipped to withstand a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. As long as they have access to a safe and secure coop to roost in at night, they will be content.

That being said, there is no harm in making your chicken coop comfortable and inviting for your flock. Just don’t feel like you need to go overboard with creature comforts like insulation, heat lamps, and the like. Your chickens will be just fine without these extra amenities.

Inside or Out

So, if chickens don’t need food and water in their coop at night, where should these necessities be provided? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the size of your coop and your personal preference.

One option is to have your feeder and waterer inside the coop. This can be a convenient option, especially if you have a larger coop with enough room to accommodate these items. Some of the benefits of having your feeder and waterer inside the coop include:

  • Keeping the feed dry: When feed is stored inside the coop, it is protected from the elements and is less likely to become wet or moldy.
  • Escape from the weather: On hot or cold days, your chickens may appreciate the opportunity to retreat to the cooler or warmer environment of the coop.
  • Rodent protection: By keeping your feeder and waterer inside the coop, you can help prevent rodents and other critters from getting access to your chickens’ food and water.
  • Flexibility: If you sleep in or are otherwise unavailable to refill the feeder and waterer during the day, your chickens will still have access to food and water in the coop.
Inside chicken Coop
  • Size constraints: Depending on the size of your coop, you may need to have a larger door or opening in order to easily refill the feeder and waterer.
  • Cleanliness: Spilled feed and water can quickly make a mess in the coop, which means you may need to clean it more frequently.
  • Waste: If you have a lot of chickens and the coop is crowded, it’s possible that some of the feed may be wasted as it is stepped on and mixed in with the chickens’ droppings.

An alternative to having your feeder and waterer inside the coop is to have them outside in the run. This can be a good option if you have a smaller coop or if you just prefer to have these items outside. Some of the benefits of having your feeder and waterer outside the coop include:

Out side chicken coop
  • Encouraging outdoor time: By providing food and water outside the coop, you can encourage your chickens to spend more time outside, which is good for their overall health and well-being.
  • Space savings: If you have a smaller coop, you may not have room to accommodate a feeder and waterer inside.
  • Efficiency: With the feeder and waterer outside, it is easier for you to refill them without having to go inside the coop. 
  • Waste reduction: With the feeder and waterer outside, spilled feed is more likely to be eaten by the chickens and not go to waste.

On the other hand, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider when it comes to having your feeder and waterer outside the coop:

  • Rodent access: If your chicken run is not secure, rodents and other critters may have easier access to your chickens’ food and water.
  • Locked out: If you sleep in or have a malfunction with the coop door, your chickens may become restless being locked inside the coop without access to food and water.
  • Wet feed: If it rains or snows, the feeder and waterer may become wet, which can cause the feed to become mushy and go to waste.
  • Aesthetics: Some people may not find it as visually appealing to have the feeder and waterer outside the coop.

What We Did

At my own home, we have opted to have the feeder and waterer inside the coop. Our coop is on the larger side, so we have plenty of room to accommodate these items. We have also found that by keeping the feeder and waterer inside, we are able to keep the coop cleaner and more organized.

That being said, every backyard chicken set-up is different, and what works for us may not work for everyone. Ultimately, the decision of where to locate the feeder and waterer comes down to your personal preference and the specific needs of your flock.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, while chickens do not need food and water in their coop at night, they do need access to these necessities during the day. Whether you choose to have your feeder and waterer inside or outside the coop is up to you, and will depend on factors such as the size of your coop, your personal preference, and the needs of your flock. Ultimately, the most important thing is to provide your chickens with a safe and secure place to roost at night, and with access to food and water during the day.

Do chickens need food and water in their coop at night?

No, chickens do not need food and water in their coop at night. However, they do need access to these necessities during the day to live.

Is it okay to have a fancy, comfortable chicken coop?

While there is no harm in making your chicken coop comfortable and inviting for your flock, it is not necessary to go overboard with luxury amenities like insulation, heat lamps, and the like. Chickens are hardy animals that are well-equipped to withstand a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. As long as they have access to a safe and secure coop to roost in at night, they will be content.

Where should I locate the feeder and waterer in my chicken coop?

The decision of where to locate the feeder and waterer in your chicken coop depends on a few factors, including the size of your coop and your personal preference. One option is to have the feeder and waterer inside the coop, which can be convenient and protect the feed from the elements. Alternatively, you can have the feeder and waterer outside the coop, which can encourage your chickens to spend more time outside and reduce waste. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Is an indoor chicken coop right for my flock?

Whether or not an indoor chicken coop is right for your flock depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your coop, the climate in your area, and your personal preference. Some of the benefits of an indoor coop include the ability to keep the feed dry, providing a retreat from extreme weather conditions, and protecting the feed from rodents. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider, such as the need for a larger coop, the need for a larger door or access point, and the potential for increased cleaning and maintenance. Ultimately, the decision of whether to build an indoor coop should be based on your specific needs and the needs of your flock.

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