I HAVE SEEN ALOT OF PEOPLE TALK ABOUT CLOSING THERE COOPS UP AT NIGHT, IS THAT NECESSARY WHEN THE RUN IS COVERED AND NOT ACCESABLE TO PREDATORS. THANKS FOR ANY INPUT. ALSO THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL THE HELPFUL HINTS
If you don't have a predator problem where you live (specifically wild animal predators) you may be Ok without locking them up at night.
For example: if you live in town with a good, secure fencing around your yard you'll probably be fine.
However: if you live in the country or where there are owls, raccoons, possum, etc. you would be very wise to lock up your chickens in a secure hen house over night. There are very few fences that a raccoon can get past if he really wants your chickens.
There's a good thread about that right now ... use the search button at the top and put in raccoons and you will find some good predator proof ideas.
Yes, the hens should be fine as long as the area is completely secured.
I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, California.... we have 140,000 people here in my city. And secure fences or not, I have possums, skunks, raccoons, red tailed hawks, coyotes, rats and too many neighbors with cats.
You may not be aware of all the nocturnal predators in your area, but you'll find out soon enough with chickens in the yard.