Coop open to run all the time?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickp, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    TyrannosaurusChix, a roof is not the main thing for predatorproofing -- IMO the priorities for a day-only run are, in descending order of importance, something like:

    1) run fence/posts that a dog will not flatten or rip right through. This means well-set posts and something OTHER THAN chickenwire or thin plastic netting, and at least 4' high to at least make them *think* if they wanna go over it.

    2) some form of digproofing, at least a mild discouragement like 6-12" of buried fence wire or a 12" wide apron or a buncha big rocks/pavers/concrete-rubble.

    3) some form of hawk discouragement, even if it is just crisscrossed string or somewhere for chickens to hide under.

    4) some form of prevention of reach-through, even if it is just flimsy plastic mesh or chickenwire.

    5) serious digproofing, like 18"+ of buried wire mesh or a 2-3' apron

    6) serious prevention of reach-through, such as 1/2" poultry mesh or hardwarecloth

    7) serious hawk prevention, i.e. a full wire top or solid roof.

    Of course you can argue about *exactly* how I've prioritized this, everyone has their own opinions, but my point is that there are a lot of OTHER (and more cheaper!) things that are probably more worthwhile. In particular, remember that dogs are generally a much bigger threat than hawks in the sense that a hawk only takes one bird at a time whereas loose dogs can produce Game Over in five minutes flat.


  2. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I leave our door open with the full knowledge that a predator may get in. I'm not worried about dogs or reach through so much as something like weasels. Weasels would be a concern but I've yet to see one in this area. I just don't have the time or ability to go out at the right times each day to open and shut their door.

    As it is, it is covered with fairly strong netting, half is covered by a tarp over the netting, the walls are chain link dog kenneling and chicken wire for the lower 4' and along the ground.

    We also have a tendency here to shoot any predator like critter on sight (other than hawks, illegal), even before it does damage as long as it's an open season critter.

    We haven't seen raccoons around here for a few years, but still watch for them in the trees etc.

    Again however, I know that there is a risk of predation. It is a chance I'm accepting in return for less "ability" on my part.

    If I have an attack, will I change? I'm not sure...depends on how soon I kill the attacker.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  3. ekemily

    ekemily Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    I've always had the opinion that if a predator gets in and kills your chickens, then it's the human's fault for not protecting the flock. It's not the predator's fault for doing what it naturally does. I do not plan on killing any predators. It's our responsibility to protect the birds. If a predator attacks and kills, the human failed. It is my fault, and I will take responsibility. I will change my coop or modify my behavior (close the pop door, free range at different times, etc). Why pass the blame along to the coon and kill it? It IS possible to make a predator-free run and coop. Plus, as soon as you kill the predator, another will be right behind it. JMO
  4. aussieheelr

    aussieheelr Songster

    I leave mine open 24-7. We do have racoons, skunks and coyotes, hawks (even some Bald Eagles... AWESOME!) biggest problem is domestic dogs. Our run is chicken wired the whole way around 6 foot high and overhead. we lock the run and people door but leave the pop door open. No problems thus far, but many people on here would just think it's horrible we do this.
    And I absolutly plan on shooting anything that attacks my livestock. All neighbors are on the same page. Once it's tastes a chicken, whatever the preditor is... it will be back. I let my birds free range when I'm home on our 3.5 acre property and barb wire doesn't keep the neighbor's dog out or a hawk. Farm life takes a strong person.
  5. patman75

    patman75 Songster

    24/7 here. I have a fully enclosed run with 2X3 welded wire, buried 18 inches with old pavers in the bottom. I have trapped raccoons by my tractor but no signs of predators by my coop, I'm guessing they sniff around and then move on.
  6. crimsontide

    crimsontide In the Brooder

    May 22, 2010
    se MI
    i am at the same question about leaving the door open. i am more worried about drafts in cold weather though than predators, so when chillier weather comes in then i will have to close the chicken door every night ... i have come to the conclusion then to just get used to doing it now. i think opening it manually will get you more personal with your flock anyways. like a pack leader or some [email protected] lol i would moniter my flocks health & attitudes better that way. i have a compost pile with kitchen scraps 25 ft from my run ... inviting trouble or giving easier foods for the coons. weasels & coons are the only predators that i even think twice about!! and weasels , minks, ferrets, etc. are not in my locale so just coons. how many people that have made a post have actually trapped a coon??? jus wondering because the traps they sell here could hold them without any damage, letting them free is the hard part . lol. anyway do what u want leave it open , close it , it doesnt matter , as long as you r prepared to accept the end result. good or bad

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