Here’s a few things to think about when it comes to feeding and watering chickens

Of course you have to feed your chickens. So let’s talk about feeding and watering chooks for a moment.

Like every pet, and let’s face it your chooks are really just pets, you need to pay some attention to feeding and watering. We do know someone who has chickens which free range around his garden every day, and he doesn’t feed them at all because he figures that they found enough bugs in the garden to satisfy their needs. But we think that’s a bit tough, you do need to feed your chooks even if they free range during the day, we do.

So in your chicken coop you need some facilities for feeding and watering.

Three hens being let out of their Eglu.
Image via Wikipedia

There are feeders is available from pet shops, or if you live in a country like we do from your regional rural store. There are hoppers which take, if you buy a big one, considerable quantities of chicken pellets and allow a small amount to dribble out the bottom for the chooks to eat, and as they eat more comes out.

The advantage of buying a big one is that you can then go away for a few days and your chooks have plenty to eat. In fact the hopper that we have in our chicken house is big enough to hold enough food to feed 14 chickens for over a week.

However if you prefer you may just leave a bowl of food in the chicken coop. But there are disadvantages to this. If the bowl sits on the floor of the coop there is a good chance the chooks will stand on it and tip it over. Rather you are better to fix the feeding bowl to the wall of the chicken coop somehow about 3 or 4 inches above the ground, or in some other way secure it. We have secured ours by hanging it on a rope from the roof of the henhouse.

It is also possible to get automatic watering bowls. If you run some simple plastic pipe to the bowl it will refill by means of a float as necessary. Having water on demand also means that you can go away on holidays while knowing that your chickens are both fed and watered.

However going away for a period of time is a little risky if you simply rely on an automatic watering bowl. A blockage in the pipe, the water stops, and you come home to dead chooks.

We have got around that by using a full-size bath tub with timber planks to allow the chickens to walk up the planks to get to the top of the bath. There are then more planks inside the bath that they can stand on to drink.

However if you do this it’s important to make sure that that chickens cannot fall in the water, because they will drown if they do so. We have done this by putting some chicken wire just below the surface of the water so that if they fall in they will land on the chicken wire.

You need to give some thought to how you will feed and water your chooks. Have a look at the watering and feeding systems available in your local store and decide whether or not they will meet your needs. In our case we wanted to have feeding and watering available for periods of one to 2 weeks that did not need any attention from us. We have now relied on this many times and have never lost a chook while we have been on holidays.

So when it comes time to buy or to build your chicken coop put some thought not only into the design of the coop but also into your plans or feeding and watering your chickens.

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