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Keeping chickens in coop or risking predators...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
There are a few days a week where I leave for work early, around 10:30am and don't get home until well after dark. Sometimes after midnight. This is probably twice a week.

I'm usually the only one available to shut the chicken coop and care for the chickens at night, so I often find myself trying to decide between shitting the chickens in their coop all day after only a few hours of outside time, or keeping the coop door open (with a pretty good pen around it) until I can get home and shut the door. I usually opt to leave them in the pen, and shut the door when I get home. I haven't had any sign of preditors yet.

With these being the only two options, which would you choose? Happiness for the chickens being able to be outside all day, or safety knowing they are properly shut in? It's 4 hens in a 5 by 6 foot coop with two windows and a little solar light for extra light.
post #2 of 8
Hi!
There's no enclosed run right? If it were me id choose to lock them in w their food and water after free ranging a few hours on those 2 days. Predators at midnight are a different ball game and I wouldn't chance it.
post #3 of 8
I completely missed the run part!! Sorry.

If that's predator proof id be less worried. If it's not, I stand by my first answer smile.png
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you JulesFlock! They have an enclosed run that is pretty sturdy. I would only be worried about bears being able to break through it. I usually choose to let them free range for a while on the days I have to shut them in all day, and then try to let them out all day the next day. They don't seem to know the difference haha, but it's hard to say without being in their little bird brains!
post #5 of 8

Hey RachelJayne I totally understand your dilemma.

 

I do not have the probable predator level that you have, only having to deal with overweight neighbour cats or the occasional canine who has managed to wander out of its yard. 

 

However, if I was confident that the run was fairly secure, I would opt for leaving the coop door open; especially if the coop is also secure.

 

Granted there are the risks of daytime predators but the majority of the risk is probably at night time.  You could consider installing an automatic door on a timer?

 

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

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Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply
post #6 of 8
Is your run covered? If so, I personally would let them hang out in their run, if not I would keep them in their coop. We just lost our first chicken, to a hawk. It tried to get a second the following day...and I was right there!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
That's awful! I'm so worried about Hawks when they're outside of the run. Their pen is covered with netting so Hawks can't get in, and it's also pretty heavily wooded right around it.

I've wanted to get an automatic door, but they're pretty pricey and I'm trying to save money because I have a baby due in January. smile.png
post #8 of 8

Have you thought about putting in and automatic door for the coop?  I was able to build an opener for about parts from ebay for about $30.  It runs on 4D cell batteries.

This is the schematic I drew up.

Tom Depointe

Brooklyn, Connecticut

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Tom Depointe

Brooklyn, Connecticut

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