So, like the titles says, I'm looking to build a new coop. My chicken area doesn't have a proper coop and I've decided to go ahead and build one to protect my small flock from predators. My dilemma, though, is the reason why I never built a coop in the first place. The area I'm able to build a coop in isn't big enough for my chickens to stay in all day, it's purpose is just to provide a safe sleeping area and a safe place to eat. That means I have to have an opening somewhere to let the chickens go out during the day and go in at night. But if I have an opening, that defeats the purpose of having a coop to keep predators out. Does somebody know of a way that I can have a safe area for my chickens, while also letting them have access to their outside pen without having to manually open the door in the morning/close it before nighttime? I'm a full-time college student who doesn't live near campus, so I sometimes can't get home before dusk and so I wouldn't always be home to close the door at night. Thank you!
This is the current chicken area
This is their run from the coop to the outside pen
I use to not have a run, it was simply a hole in the fence, but the chickens share a pen with my Miniature Horse and she is a huge pig. She would stand where the hole was and would just stand there all day and rub on it to eventually make it bigger. Eventually she made it big enough for her to fit in. After many failures, the only kind of run that keeps her out is a run that is 1) too small for her body to fit through and 2) is sturdy enough to where she can't move it/destroy it and make the run big enough for her to squeeze through. I've thought about maybe making a coop that is attached to the outside of the pen, rather than building a coop within the pen like the chicken area is right now, but I'm not sure if I have enough space to do that. Besides my horse, there is also the issue that the coop MUST NOT be completely closed in with no way for breezes to get through. In Texas, summer is our longest season(Spanning from May to October/mid-November) and the temperatures easily reach 100 degrees. Not to mention the extreme humidity.
Edited by BackyardDove - 11/21/15 at 11:36am