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Coop Door HELP!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicksrule1, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. chicksrule1

    chicksrule1 In the Brooder

    Dec 18, 2009
    I will be getting hens for the first time and i am building a coop with an inclosed attached run that is very predetor proof. Can i leave the coop entrance door (facing east) open at night or is that too drafty? I live in california in the mountains and it doesn't usually ever get below 30 degrees in winter. I really would prefer to not have to close them up every night and let them out every morning. Please help!

  2. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee

    Unless you have an electrified run, and you are dead sure that no pred can dig, rip, tunnel, or climb in, do a lockdown at dusk. You will have to be out there very early every day regardless, to maintain health of your flock(feeding, watering, opening windows to get rid of odors and ammonia gas), pick up any broken eggs so that they do not become egg eaters, gatheriing eggs, and a general inspection. It goes with the territory. [​IMG]

    As an example, I have a 6 ft electrified fence set in concrete yet I still lockdown my coop at dusk just in case of a power failure or component failure. I have to be out there in AM for the above mentioned reasons anyway. [​IMG]

    It may be better not to have poultry if these are such important things. I do not mean that in a mean way either. [​IMG]
  3. chicksrule1

    chicksrule1 In the Brooder

    Dec 18, 2009
    yes, of course i would be out there everyday to check,feed them. Mostly, i would prefer to not have the food and water IN the coop so are they okay inside locked up at night without it? Also, i we leave to go somewhere overnight, i wont be there to let them in/out of the coop so i that is why i was wondering if they would be fine with the door open in that situation. I don't want anything to happen to them!
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Lots and lots of people think their runs are extremely predatorproof. However it is much easier to *think* that than to have it actually be *so*, and if you go browse the "Predators and Pests" section of the BYC forum you will see a consistent number of "something ate all my chickens last night" threads from people who were just *certain* nothing could get into the run.

    IMHO, it is a lot better to be safe than sorry; especially in a warm climate where chickens are apt to decide to sleep in the run and therefore will be a far bigger inducement to predators than if they were out of sight out of mind.

    You can do it if you want, of course, just realize it introduces extra risk.

    I would not rely on an electric fence to necessarily make a run 100% safe either, btw -- all electric fences fail sometimes, for various reasons, and predators can be very very quick to notice.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. OutInTheStiks

    OutInTheStiks Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thorn Hill, TN
    Our food and water is outside the coop as well. As long as we know that we will be there to open the door in the morning, we close the pop door. They aren't going to be eating and drinking at night anyways.

    If we are going to be away we leave the pop door open. So far we haven't had a problem, but I know that leaving the door open does take one level of security away from the coop.

    I think you have to take a look at your whole set-up and evaluate how safe it is to leave the door open.
  6. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Perhaps you need to look into these automatic door devises.


    I agree not locking them in is playing the lottery every night hoping they will get lucky and not be eaten. Unless your run is concrete floored with welded wire or cattle panels on all sides and top. Really, really tight.
  7. KKatknap

    KKatknap Songster

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    I think temperature-wise, they would be fine if you go away and can't close up at night, but I am overly cautious about predators. My nearest neighbors tell us they came back from an anniversary trip to the coast a few years ago and found all their chickens (they had 40) strewn, headless, all over their yard. They had owned them for years and never had a problem, but when they left, they lost them all. She was so heartbroken, she has not had any chickens since.

    Just something to think about.

  8. chicksrule1

    chicksrule1 In the Brooder

    Dec 18, 2009
    We built the run to have galvanized hardware cloth for all the walls as well as buried down into the ground and out. I topped the buried hardware cloth with boulders. All windows and vents will also be covered with hardware cloth and doors windows will have secure locks. Do i need to do more? I am new to this and have read alot and that is what it seems is recommended. Any tips would help. Thanks!
  9. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    What did you do to cover the run?
  10. lavacaw

    lavacaw Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    If you are going to leave your door open, may I suggest running a hot wire around the top of the entire coop and run. The only problem I have with predators with the same basic set-up is things coming in over the top. I leave the door to the coop open at all times unless we are having predator problems and the hot wire has eliminated 99% of those. I am only here on weekends, holidays and one or two days midweek so it is necessity for me. I also have strips of plastic mesh over the top to deter hawks. Last problem with a hawk was over 10 years ago so it must be working. When I see varmint tracks around the run, I set traps...an ounce of prevention and all that stuff!

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