- Birds fill up before dark
- .Crops store food for digestion at night
- Birds generally don’t see well in the dark and will stay on the roost
- Chicks do grow faster if feed and water is available at night
- Use a rat proof chicken feeder if feed is left out at night
“It is critical that the birds have plenty of feed available before going to roost in the winter as the digestion keeps their body temperature high and the nights are much longer than the summer nights.”
Do Chickens Need Feed and Water at Night?
Chickens have a crop that they fill with food before going to roost at night and digest what is in their crop during the dark hours. Adult chickens do need constant feed and water, they will graze all day if they have food available, unlike predators that eat once every few days. As long as the birds can access feed once daylight comes they will be fine without nighttime food. Most won’t come down off the roost anyway during the night unless there is a source of light such as a heat lamp or other light that allows them to see well enough to fly up and down from the roost.
During summer time having water available is a good idea as the birds can drop down to drink before it gets totally dark. Even with good ventilation the heat buildup in the roof takes a few hours to dissipate so a water source at night in summer is good husbandry.
It is critical that the birds have plenty of feed available before going to roost in the winter as the digestion keeps their body temperature high and the nights are much longer than the summer nights.
A good reason not to provide feed at night is rodents are more active at night and there will be non-stop feed theft unless you have a treadle feeder that is actually rat proof like this one.
Chicks on the other hand will grow faster if they have food and water available at all times. As there is almost always a heat lamp they can see and will be active at night. Rats and mice are almost never a threat as most people are going to have the chicks inside the house or in a secure rat proof brooder.