Closing coop door (or not)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MendonMan, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. MendonMan

    MendonMan Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2012
    My chickens are in a run with attached coop. I've made it what I consider as "predator-proof" as possible and have never had an incident.

    Because of this, the sliding door on the coop is left open and they come and go as needed. It's also left open all night. I wrote to the forum when they were still chicks to see if I "HAD" to open and close the door and I didn't if they were in a predator-proof area.

    I free-range them during the day when I'm around. At night they will head back into the run for a few minutes and then into the coop for the night.

    Now that cold weather is approaching and we've had our first frost this week, should I consider closing the door now at night for added warmth? Eventually, I'll wrap the run in roll plastic to make it wind proof inside so they only have the cold to deal with and no drafts.

    4 hens, barred rocks and buff orpingtons; both cold-hardy birds. Seven months old, healthy, plump, and laying daily.


  2. dracoe19

    dracoe19 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2011
    Warrenton, Virgina
    I have a breeding pen similar to what you described and I don't close the door either. I think when it starts getting cold I would see how they fair with the door open. If you have a heat lamp in with them it shouldn't be a big problem especially if you cover the run with plastic. The only thing I would worry about is the wind blowing directly into the coop which the plastic should solve. Put a thermometer in the coop to see what temperature it is near the door and near where your chickens sleep. Good luck!
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I like the security of knowing mine are shut in for the night, where even if a predator came sniffing around and was able to get into the run, it still wouldn't get into the coop. Also, we have high winds here, and I don't want winds blowing a draft on them while they're sleeping.

    It can be a hassle to have to open and close morning and night, especially if you happen to be out at night. I installed an auto door on mine, that has a photo sensor so the door closes when it gets dark at night, and opens when there is enough light in the morning. This solved that problem for me. Now, no matter how cold and windy it gets, I know they are snug and draft-free at night. I don't like the idea of running a heat lamp. Almost every coop fire - and every year you will see threads where coops have burned down - were started because of a heat lamp.
  4. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2012
    Even though my run is very secure I do close the coop door every night. I often wonder why I do this because I open it a 4:00 in the morning while it is still dark and will be for 3 more hours. In cold weather it is because of drafts, but in the summer I guess it just gives me extra peace of mind.
  5. wastintime202

    wastintime202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    I close my pop door every night and open it every morning. We also thought we had made our pen predator proof..Hardware cloth under dirt on entire floor plus 12 inches outside of fence. Hardware cloth roof over entire pen. But one morning when I went out to let them out there was a momma possum and two babies in the pen..they could not find their way out yet, but if I had left my pop door open, that momma possum would have trained those babies on how to eat my hens..I never miss shutting the door.
  6. Melabella

    Melabella Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 2, 2011

    What did ya do with them? I have wondered if this will happen to me, I do the same as you, I shut them in at night. I was thinking of getting an automatic door for the summer months when I like to sleep in when I can. I imagine if I did, then Mama possum would be able to walk right in!

    I hope I don't have to experience that, but do have 100 acres out in back of my property. I know they are all out there lurking!

  7. wastintime202

    wastintime202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    Husband trapped them and took them to the river, far away from any farms.
  8. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong but I'm pretty sure catching and releasing is illegal in most parts of the country. For one thing, it is just transporting your problem to someone else. And, it often spells a long, cruel death for the released animal who has been dropped into territory already belonging to others of its kind, who don't take kindly to the intruders. They end up either starving, or having to fight with the original inhabitants of that territory for their survival. Either way, it isn't pretty.

    I believe if you catch them, a humane death is a far better option than releasing somewhere else. Alternately, you can contact your local wildlife officer and ask them to come and pick them up and let them dispose of them.
  9. Vickilynn45

    Vickilynn45 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2012
    We keep ours shut now due to waking up one morning and finding a huge cat in our run. This was when I first put the chicks in the coop when they were young, and we had hardware cloth surrounding the run, and netting over the top. Somehow a cat got up on the top of the coop and fell through the netting and was trapped. We found the chicks scared to death huddled in the corner of their coop, but alive. After that we started shutting the door every night lol.
  10. Featherland

    Featherland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    I keep mine open except in extremely frigid weather. My pen is made of tightly woven hardware cloth with a roof over the top.
    My pop door faces east so they still get ventilation without direct wind.

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