Do Chickens Eat And Drink At Night? What You Need to Know

It’s our responsibility to make sure our chickens have the best quality of life they can. You may have noticed that your chickens don’t wake up at night, or maybe you’re wondering if you should leave water or food inside their coop. Do chickens even eat or drink at night? How often do you need to feed or give water to your chickens?

Do Chickens Eat And Drink At Night

No, chickens do not come out of the roost to eat or drink at night. Chickens are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep throughout the night to not wake up for food or water.

You already know chickens go to sleep on their own, but do you need to leave food and water in the coop at night? 

Why Don’t Chickens Eat And Drink At Night?

Chickens are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and will sleep all through the night. This is possibly because chickens have many natural predators that are active at night. 

Chickens cannot see very well in the dark, making them unable to see where predators are. Once they settle down in their roost, they will not come out for fear of being attacked.

Chickens are much safer in their roost or coop at night than anywhere else. Chickens will not roam around at night, but they would be easily targeted as prey if they did. The easiest way to keep your flock safe at night is simply by closing the coop door at night.

Predators of chickens include coyotes, weasels, raccoons, birds of prey, opossums, and many more. Most of these predators are active at night, meaning chickens in the wild will have to hide together for safety. Chickens have no natural defense mechanisms and are therefore much safer in their flock. If you’re worried about predators, there are many ways to safely secure and predator-proof your coop, run, and yard.

If you’re worried about your chickens getting hungry or thirsty in the night, you can leave a small amount of water or feed in their coop, although it’s doubtful they’ll need it. However, they will drink and eat as soon as they wake up in the morning, making it useful to keep water and food in their coop if you sleep in late.

What Time of Day Is Best to Feed Chickens?

can chickens go without water at night
Chickens will be ready to drink and eat as soon as they wake up in the morning.

Chickens should be given fresh food and water every morning when you let them out from their coop. Times will vary depending on when the sun rises, but they will wake up around 4 in the summer, and 6:00 am in the winter. As soon as they wake up, they will be ready to start eating and drinking. 

Their water container should be rinsed and refilled with fresh water every day and must be scrubbed often to prevent biofilm buildup. 

Biofilm is a thin and slimy layer of bacteria that grows inside the edges of water containers. If they’re not scrubbed often enough, they can retain harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Their feed containers should also be scrubbed regularly, although not as often as their water container needs to be. Make sure to dump out any stale food from the day before and provide fresh food daily. Make sure their feed never gets wet as it can mold. Wet food will also harden together when it dries, making it very hard to eat from.

How Many Times A Day Should I Feed My Chickens?

While your chickens are awake, they need constant access to both food and water. As long as they have this, they should never need to eat or drink at night. The only exception to this is that if you have chickens in a brooder, they will need access to food and water 24/7 as they tend to be on a different schedule and drink and eat during all hours.

Make sure to store your feed in a cool, dry place, so it doesn’t spoil or mold. Also, make sure to take down and put away any feed or water left out at night as this can attract predators, rodents, and insects like cockroaches.

Keeping food out of the coop is one of the best ways to prevent wildlife from trying to enter the chicken coop. 

It is up to the chicken keeper whether they want to feed their chickens indoors or outdoors, but chickens tend to be messy eaters and can quickly dirty up their coop. Providing food outside also encourages free-roaming and will lead to a happier and healthier flock.

You can choose to keep fresh water in their coop at all times as they search for water as soon as they wake in the morning. If you’re unable to let them out early enough, it might be a good idea to keep a small amount of water and/or feed in their coop, so they don’t have to wait. 

Just make sure to change it out daily just as you would with water that is left outside in the chicken run. 


Chickens do not eat or drink at night. Chickens or diurnal, which means that they are active all day long and sleep all through the night. This could be a natural instinct to hide from predators.

Chickens have many natural predators like coyotes, weasels, opossums, birds of prey, and raccoons. Most of their predators are active at night, meaning any chicken wandering around will be easy prey. 

Chickens can’t see very well at night and would be unable to see any predators. Once they settle in their roost, they do not move or leave. Since they have no natural defense, their safest option is to hide away with the rest of their flock.

As long as you feed and give your chickens water during the day, they should have no reason to get up at night to eat or drink. Chickens need fresh food and water every day. A chicken’s water container should be rinsed daily and scrubbed often enough to prevent biofilm growth.

If you wake up late often or won’t be around in the morning, it’s a good idea to leave some food and water inside your coop. 

Chickens usually search for food and water as soon as they wake up in the morning, so it will be beneficial for your chickens to have some immediately after they wake up.