Chicken Ladder and Door questions


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 30, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Hi. I'm just finishing up making my first coop and had a couple questions.

1. How far apart should the rungs be on the chicken ladder?

2. My small door opening for the chickens opens into the run, which is very secure. Do I need to put any kind of door over the opening or can I just leave it open? I live in Portland, Oregon so it doesn't get too cold here, but it does rain a lot. I was hoping to just leave it open so they could come and go as they please. Or maybe I could put a flap there? Is that an option?

Thanks for any advice!


Star Bright Farm
11 Years
Jul 24, 2008
Brown City, Michigan (Thumb)
Hi Becky.
The rung spacing just depends on what size chickens you have, standard or bantam. I'd say a good "general purpose" spacing would be about 6" or so. Chicks could still navigate the ladder with those spacings, and the older chickens could too.

As far as your door into the coop, that just depends on whether or not you have any serious predators that could possibly get into the run, then into the coop. I, myself, am a worry-wart, so I lock my guys up at night in their coop. I'd rather be safe than sorry. But it's just a matter of choice...whether you want to go out and open/close the door every morning/night.

wilds of pa

14 Years
Feb 17, 2007
The Blue Mountains of Pa
Hi Becky, Id recommend doors on any openings regardless of fencing just never know what might come along. We have a bunch of coops and each and every one is closed up tight every night. its a pain at first, but you get into a habbit of it after awhile..
we sleep alot better knowing that all the birds are as safe as we can make it for them at night..

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Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Yup, even if you do not plan to *use* a door on any regular basis, build one anyhow -- it is much easier to do it now than to find some important need for it later (e.g. your run turned out not to be as predator-proof as you thought, or got damaged, or it's incredibly cold out) and then have to retrofit a door on.

If you truly believe you're not going to use it often you might just go with a flap that is hinged at the top and held up out of the way (near-horizontal) by a chain or seomthing like that -- you can close and latch it (put a latch near the bottom of course) if need be, and until then, it will provide a little 'porch roof' to reduce the amount of rain that gets in the doorway of the coop making your bedding damp.

Good luck and ahve fun,



12 Years
May 8, 2007
You must be getting pretty excited, to almost have your coop done! Congratulations on getting chickens! I think it's good advice to have a lockable door available, even if you don't plan to use it.

Since you didn't mention any specifics about your run and I've read messages on the forum where runs described as secure turned out to be made of lightweight chicken wire, I guess I'll answer this way:

Unless a run is constructed entirely of 1/2" hardware cloth in a heavy gauge, top to bottom, plus the roof, attached with wood screws and has wire dug a foot into the soil or a flange of wire coming out a foot over the ground to prevent digging, I would not leave a pophole door open at night. You also need latches that are secure against raccoons on the run and coop doors. (In bear country, I still wouldn't leave it open and I'd also add electric fencing.)

Although predators can vary from location to location, there are dogs and raccoons just about everywhere, including in cities.

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