Coop at Night?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Dec 16, 2010
Hey gang, I'm mostly spending my time in the baby chick section of the forum as I became a "New Dad" this week. Things are going great with the 15 hens I got!

Looking ahead, I have a question.

How important is it to close the door to the coop each night? They will be in a caged run with coop inside of that. The run will be approximately 15' x 25' and will be caged on all sides including roof. It will also have wiring buried down about 2 feet into the ground. Should I be able to let them come in and out of the coop as they want 24 hrs a day in comfortable weather?

I guess what I'm asking is, Can I be lazy this summer???
The predator section of these forums is full of stories where predators got into a closed run and slaughtered the hens. or stories where the coop door was left open and the hens slept outside next to the mesh and a predator ripped the hens right through the wire.

Closing the door only takes a minute and it will make a difference when something eventually does happen. I close my coop doors every night, even in the rain.

I haven't closed my coop door at night in over a year. Yes, it's attached to a run, and I do close the run gate. There is always the chance that a mink or weasel could get in (pretty sure nothing else will), but it's a chance I take. That way the hens can go out in the run when they want instead of having to wait for DH or me to get out there in the morning and let them out. It all depends on how much risk you're willing to take.
I've had first hand experience with a coon ripping chickens through wire, even hardware cloth from underneath!! A year can go by and the hens are fine, you get complacent, its hot, its summer, then in one night you get that ravenous mother coon that needs to feed her 2nd brood of the season, and you could loose or damage your entire flock!! I was horrified that morning, the worst was the hens with legs missing suffering half pulled through the wire :-( for several years after that we still had survivors with missing toes and damaged feet, I've never forgot to lock them in again.
I ve also had coon attacks, mostly due to my thinking things were fine and they weren't. I had a dog attack a couple of summers ago, they were hunting dogs running woods appoximatly a mile away. I honestly believe they were chasing a mother coon, who was chased up a tree and watch the slaughter. Within a weeks time I started losing birds. We trapped most and killed one, a total of 7. After all were gone I haven't seen any, not dead on the road or wandering around. Now back to present, I lock up run but not coop. I have no perches in their run, so the always go in to sleep.
You either take the risk or not. Just don't let others make you feel bad or worry you are doing the wrong thing. Do what you feel is right for you and your birds.
it depends on how secure is your run? Is it welded wire or chicken wire? Take the claw end of a hammer and see if you can tear a hole in it..if you can it is not safe...the answer is an automatic chicken door which I see in my near future, since I'm so much better at daydreaming than working.

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