Beginner question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Miss Eliza, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Miss Eliza

    Miss Eliza Chirping

    Jun 1, 2019
    Wine country, Oregon
    I’ve looked through the site and haven’t seen this yet, but I am still learning the lay of the land here, please forgive me if it is posted somewhere.
    I’m wondering how long do chickens stay in the coop at night? Right now the chicks are 6-8 weeks old. They put themselves to bed about 15 minutes before sunset -right now that’s about 9 pm. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be let out at sunrise or just some time that I choose. Looking ahead to winter, our days are very short so if they go in at 5pm, do I not let them out until it is light out at 7:30? I’m a little confused. Thanks for any help!
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  2. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I open the pop door on my coops at 5am year round. Right now sunrise is 5:16 sunset 8:28.
    Beginning of winter sunrise is 7:21, sunset 4:19.
    I turn on the lights at that time because I leave for work shortly thereafter.
    I lockup the coops and turn off the lights 15 to 20 minutes after sunset.
    If I didn't use lights, I would want to let them out at sunrise into their pen, with an auto door.
    My coops are small. 20181027_064754.jpg . GC
  3. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    At this age chicks are learning to be independent. If you make it possible for them to go and come, they will make the right choices and progress that suits them.

    Winter or summer, chickens are usually anxious to get out of the coop at first light and as it approaches dusk, they will instinctively seek cover in the coop. However, be aware that since the coop looks much different from the outside, the chicks may need a bit of training to learn to go inside come nightfall. A temporary night light can help guide them inside.
  4. Perris

    Perris Crowing

    Jan 28, 2018
    Gower, Wales
    I open mine about 30 mins after dawn (so it is properly light, not twilight) and shut at dusk once they've all gone in (lifting the last in if necessary), year round. It does mean few hours in the coop in summer and many hours in the coop in winter, but they don't see well in the dark so do not want to be out then. If you have heritage breeds, their genes have evolved in the naturally varying day, and probably it suits them better than artificially extended days. They will not lay as many eggs per year as you would get by giving them extra light though.
    Miss Eliza and Aunt Angus like this.
  5. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

    Jul 16, 2018
    Sacramento County, CA
    My Coop
    I let my chickens out when I wake up. - lol! Usually before 6. I like my sleep, though, so I make sure they have a water source in the coop in case I don't get up until 7. They put themselves to bed just before it gets "flashlight" dark, as my kids called it when they were little.

    I am considering installing an automatic pop door. But my set up is kinda weird, so I'm still debating.

    I think it's fine either way you decide.
    chrissynemetz and Miss Eliza like this.
  6. Miss Eliza

    Miss Eliza Chirping

    Jun 1, 2019
    Wine country, Oregon
    Thank you all! I guess I will be fine tuning our days for a while! Lots to learn. I appreciate the input!
  7. Miss Eliza

    Miss Eliza Chirping

    Jun 1, 2019
    Wine country, Oregon
    Very cool set up! I won’t be using lights. The coop is mobile and is being moved daily within an electric net. The entire enclosure is to be moved every couple of weeks or so around the property. Too hard for me to figure out lighting too!!
    GC-Raptor likes this.
  8. Phoenixmaine81

    Phoenixmaine81 In the Brooder

    Jun 9, 2019
    So I want one lol.. My chicks are six wks I have 12 n don't ya know someone bought a wrong run cuz they are NOT all hens... But I'm Gunna need to coupe the egger that's a Cockerel cuz aggressive (bought 3 as americaunas at Tractor Supply n they are Easter eggers found out by colors but very cool set up.. Perfect if u can't Free range.. I'm 500 yards at least in the woods in a clearing we have a trailer so we are unseen from Rd and the chickens will never go to the Rd lol gardens in between lol..too much distraction for their juvenile minds and my car keeps em at home . He herds them look is up on Facebook Oliver the chicken herding cat...Maine coon cross in yr old intact male has adopted all chicks as his n even runs racoons off protecting the coupe at night..weird but true..
    Miss Eliza likes this.
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    It really is up to you. Sun's starting to come up somewhere 5, 6 AM ish for us right now. The chickens get let out at 7:50 AM (auto door on timer). Doesn't change for winter either, it's still set for 7:50 AM.

    I only make adjustments for closing up at night, so the door will always shut once it's dark, whether that's 5 PM or 9:30 PM.

    Back when I was opening the coop door manually the chickens were let out anywhere between 8:00 and 9:00 AM.
    Miss Eliza likes this.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    My coop and small run are all one unit, big enough for my flock to be in for days or weeks if necessary sometimes. It's very predator proof too. I free range whenever possible, and vary the time when they go out, anywhere from 8am to 1pm. They go in at dusk, right now after 9pm.
    The food and water are inside, with extra water outside during the warm weather.
    Your set-up and predator issues will determine how to go forward. There's no one perfect answer, IMO.
    Miss Eliza likes this.

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