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Do I need to get up early to let my chickens out of the coop?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I will be a brand new chicken owner in 2 weeks once our 4 Buff Orpington chicks arrive.  I have been panicking a bit over the responsibility (we have 2 kids and a very mellow dog), and in particular, wondering about two issues:

 

1. Will I need to get up early in the morning to let the chickens out of their coop?  We live in an area with lots of hawks, raccoons, fisher cats, and fox, so I want to be sure they are safe and secure. I had planned to lock the coop door at night with a sturdy lock, and have a fully enclosed run attached to the coop for them to run around in during the day when we can't be in the backyard with them.  But I'm worried I'll need to be outside at 7 a.m. to let them out of the coop, and then again at dusk.  What if we're not around or I don't feel like getting up that early? I know there a devices that will open the coop door at dawn and dusk, but I don't think that will keep the coop truly safe from predators - am I wrong?

 

2. What do you do when you go away for one night on the weekend?  Will the girls be okay with food and water for 36-40 hours, or will I need to have a friend come over to tend to them?

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts!

Christina

post #2 of 9

Do they have access to the run at night?  My chickens go inside the coop at night, but they have access to the run.  I don't think you need to lock the chicken coop, but I would buy a sturdy latch (I've never seen a fox with lock picking tools:) ).  I only let my chickens roam the yard when I'm outside, but they do have a 4'X10' run.

 

 

2. What do you do when you go away for one night on the weekend?  Will the girls be okay with food and water for 36-40 hours, or will I need to have a friend come over to tend to them?

 

They will be fine, but I would place a backup water/food dish in the coop.  I just use my old chick feeders.  This way if it cracks or gets kicked over they have a second source of water. 

post #3 of 9
Those door openers are as safe as you opening and closing the coop lol, and there great when you want to sleep in late or leave town. Just make sure your pen is super secure and you will be fine. Use hard wire, small holes so nothing gets in,a nice secure top over the pen and bury the wire well under ground in case something digs. A electric door opener is what I opted for and will be added this weekend finally . We will be able to sleep in yay ! No more 7:00 am out of bed yada yada . We will be adding chicken nipples back in the run so there clean and safe, food dishes in the coop and we can now go camping over the weekend and sleep in. Life does not get any better then that! Oh and add a lock as I just read a dog jumped and jumped on someone's pen door and it came in latched and the dog got all the chickens. Sad day sad.png
post #4 of 9

My coop is inside my run, so unless it is bitter cold, I do not shut the coop up. I lock the girls and roo in the run near sundown. They decide when to enter the coop, and when to leave the coop in the morning. I go down in the morning, to bring feed and water, and then I usually let them out to free range.

 

But sometimes mine stay in the run. It is big enough. So as long as your run is over the top enclosed and is secure, then you can leave the pop up door open all night. If it is not over the top, racoons will crawl up the fence and down, in the pop up door and get a chicken.

 

So if we are going to be gone for a couple of days, just make sure there is water and feed, and enjoy yourself

 

MrsK

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #5 of 9

You do not need to get up early to let the chickens out and you don't need an automatic door opener either. Usually mine are let out at 7:30 each morning since that's my son's chore on his way to the bus but on the weekends we've been known to forget until 10:00am. It happens. They survive. 

Backyard farming with my flock of super talented manure composters and bug hunters.

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Backyard farming with my flock of super talented manure composters and bug hunters.

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post #6 of 9

If you have a secure run, you don't even have to have a door on your coop.  If you don't have a secure run, then you have three options:

 

1.  Sink the money into an good automated door.  They're fairly pricey, but many of them do lock and provide the necessary protection.

 

2.  Suck it up and plan to be up to let everybody in and then close up again at night.  It doesn't HAVE to be at any particular time (the larger the coop, the less pressing it is to get it open at dawn), unless they don't have food/water in the coop (in which case you will need to let them out as soon as they're up; they need to drink).

 

If they have adequate food and water, chickens can be left for a few days on their own.  However, it's always a good idea to have someone you can trust to check on them, collect eggs, and look for any breeches in your run/coop from predators and be able to top off any food/water if something runs low.

post #7 of 9
I do. I let mine out at 7am and they are hungry and thirsty. I have the coop inside our garage, so I shut them behind a steel door. Our coop is 100% pitch black without the light on or door open.

I put them to bed around 8-9. I have to lift one up on the roost since she can not fly. I lift her back down in the morning. I also clean the coop often, I'm obsessed with keeping it clean in there. I do not want bugs or flies inside the run. It's very easy, I use pine chips in the coop, sand in the run. I use a kitty litter scooper to clean the coop.

I've had my girls over a year. When we leave, my parents come over twice a day. I clean the waterer out daily in the summer and every other day during the cooler months.

I don't mind the work. I get up very early since I can not ever sleep in or very long.
post #8 of 9

Hi newbie here. We've had ours for 3 wks now.We have a enclosed run attached to the coop and every morning we would go out and open the door to the coop so they could get into the run but we found that if the run is secure so on a Saturday we decided to see what would happen if we left the door open and they were happy to come out as soon as the sun rose and they like to go back on there own. So do the enclosed run and then you'll be good to go. you can sleep in we do!

Wife and  Mom to 2 young men (17 &22), 4 dogs, 2 indoor cats, 2 feral cats, 1 rabbit, 1 parrot, 4 ferrets, 1 betta fish and now 3 hens and 4 pullets    we LOVE our lil zoo

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Wife and  Mom to 2 young men (17 &22), 4 dogs, 2 indoor cats, 2 feral cats, 1 rabbit, 1 parrot, 4 ferrets, 1 betta fish and now 3 hens and 4 pullets    we LOVE our lil zoo

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post #9 of 9

Yes, because if you don't they won't be happy and tear everything up.

11 silkies and 5 red sex links

I thank God for everything.

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11 silkies and 5 red sex links

I thank God for everything.

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