Amount of time in the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by redlawyer, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. redlawyer

    redlawyer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    I have a small flock of five chickens in a coop with an enclosed run. I've read here about people keeping their chickens in the coop most of the day and only letting them out when they can be out with them. Is this okay for the chickens? It's attractive to me because my husband and I work outside of the house and live in a subdivision that doesn't look kindly on chickens. I'd like to be able to let them out when we get home from work, until nightfall, which in the summer would be about four hours. Is that enough outside time? I know they stay inside when its frigid outside, but what about year round? Thanks for your help.
  2. sandyj

    sandyj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 3, 2008
    St.Paul, Minnesota
    If your chickens have an enclosed run and is safe from preditors, there is no reason to keep them "cooped" up while your away. I would think they'd like to go outside if they can.

  3. peggyb43

    peggyb43 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 29, 2008
    I also have five hens in a coop with an enclosed run. I let them out in the run early in the morning and they can't wait to get out to start their day. They run down the ramp. Even in the pouring rain! I think being cooped up all day would be frustrating for them and might lead to pecking and other nasty habits. Mine seem to be fine being out but safe all day, whether I'm home or not. I usually let them out to free range about three hours prior to sunset, when they go "home" by themselves. Good luck.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The more outside time the better. There are less likely to be pecking and cannibalism problems if they are allowed outside more. It also depends on how hot your coop will get this summer. Heat and crowding is a dangerous combination. It also depends on how predator-proof your run is. It has to be a personal decision based on your circumstances and risk tolerance.

    Hopefully others will chime in on other factors to consider.
  5. RIVERA69R

    RIVERA69R Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Secure your coop and run so that you feel confident that it is good and tight then you can go to work without worry but I would never keep them cooped up if I had to i would get rid of them they love being outside and exploring oh if your worried about the people around their put a lock on the gate [​IMG]
  6. animal nut

    animal nut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2008
    S. E Ohio
    Mine are outside all day in an enclosed run. When we get home from work, school whatever we let them free range. This makes for very happy chicks and also has cut down on feed.

    2 kid, 3 dogs, 2 cats. 36 chicks and more coming.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I would venture to say that most often (not always, but usually) when people here talk about keeping the chickens in the coop and letting them out to run around for a few hrs in the afternoon, or whatever, they are using "coop" in the sense of "house and run combined", rather than in the sense more usually used on BYC of just the house alone.

    If you want to keep them locked indoors much of the time -- and I really cannot see any good *reason* for it when you could build a run -- you'd better have loooooots of space and ventilation and things for them to do, and luck out with congenial chickens. I have kept mine entirely indoors for weeks at a time (winter weather plus run reconstruction)... but that's with 15 sq ft per chicken indoors, which is not a typical coop.

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Quote:Acutally what people are refering too is free ranging out side of coop and run. If chickens have an enclosed run they are more likely to have all day access to it. Then at night when roosting, coop is closed up. For those that also have enclosed run but sometimes allow outside of run access, it is monitored.
  9. ckkevin

    ckkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2009
    Is it easy to get the chickens back into the coop at night?
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    you just have to train them. Food [​IMG] Not difficult, but worth making sure they understand before you let them out of the run.


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