I have 11 Wyandotte chickens and a feeder outside the coop in their enclosed run and a feeder inside the coop. The coop is completely secure from any predator larger than a half inch. The run has 1/2 inch hardware cloth on all four sides up to six feet high and down a foot into the ground. There is as larger hole fence on the roof of the run, about 2 inches square or so to keep out large prey animals like raccoons, etc. and prey birds. Raccoons are the largest prey animal in this area, no bears etc. So if I leave the pop door open on the coop the most likely predator to come in is rats although I have not seen any signs lately of their presence.
My question is; Can I remove all feed from the coop and the run at night and keep the door open to the coop so they can go out when they wake up? I tend to get up around 9 am and don't want them to have to wait for me. Also, I could just permanently remove any food from inside the coop if the door to the outside is open so there would be no food source inside the coop for rats etc.
Currently I leave food and water in the coop so they can eat and drink in the morning until I waken and free them. I would love some feedback or suggestions. Would just having the birds exposed invite rats to come in from the birds droppings or something even with not food source inside the coop?