Dilemma - Get up crack dawn or leave coop door open overnight?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Romeo Flahoy, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Romeo Flahoy

    Romeo Flahoy Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2011
    Norfolk, UK
    First of all I wish to explain that my girls are housed in a secure fenced enclosure and run area which is totally fox and predator proof. Within this enclosure they have a small wooden coop where they go to roost at night and lay their eggs in nest box. I currently shut the girls (four ex bats) in their wooden coop over night to keep them warm (currently coming out of winter here but still dips to around 3-5'c over night/early hours) In the uk at present dawn is approx 6:40am, so I'm getting up then to let them out into their run enclosure. However, over the next few weeks dawn will be getting earlier and earlier (approx between 4:30/5am) and I can't keep getting up at stupid o clock (obviously I am as I love them all).

    So I would like advice as to whether I can leave their wooden coop door open with these current temperatures, (noting that foxes or predators can't get them, as whole coop is housed within secure fenced enclosure), so that they can let themselves out when they want in morning and not fight each other until I let them out. Or..... Will they get cold over night if I leave their coop door open all night. They have deep straw at mo in coop and I have four girls. Coop is a small wooden coop meant for approx 5/6 girls.

    I do fuss my girls too much but don't know if they'll handle temps overnight or not. I know I wouldn't want to spend all night out their with door open!

    Thanks in anticipation for your replies.
  2. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    I bet they will be fine. I was reading a thread here about chickens in Alaska, etc. I think they handle cold better than heat.
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    They WILL be fine, honest.

    I might consider putting a wind-break up, so wind doesn't blow directly or obliquely through the pop door. Not sure I can explain it, but put kind of an "L" shaped thing so the poor chickens will have to step out and make a turn to get into the run. But if you put the L so it blocks the direction of your most frequent winds, the other leg of the L will block directly facing the door opening.

    That might help prevent a draft blowing across them some mornings; drafts are more of a problem for chickens than just very cold temperatures.
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    Think they will be fine. I would make a 'cat flap' door for them and train them to use it.

    nail a piece of transparent plastic over the pop hole, or even several strips of transparent plastic hanging down. The birds should be about to learn to push this 'curtain' out of the way to get in and out.
  5. Baggagolers

    Baggagolers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2012
    You could just leave them in the coop until you feel like letting them out. It doesn't really matter if you let them out at dawn or a few hour after sun up. They might give you a few dirty looks at first, but they get over it. Then when you think it's warm enough to leave the coop open all night give it a try.
  6. Romeo Flahoy

    Romeo Flahoy Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2011
    Norfolk, UK
    Thanks everyone for your replies. The coop door is quite sheltered but I might try and put some flaps up also to further reduce drafts. [​IMG]
  7. mpare

    mpare Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2010
    Dillsburg, PA
    Leave the door open. I have a secure run and coop. I covered the pop door opening with heavy plastic strips that the birds easily figured out how to use. (I started by hanging the strips, with duck tape, above the door opening so that just 1 inch or so hung down into the opening. Every day I moved the strips down an inch or two. In about a week the strips were covering the whole door, the chickens were using it without problems and then I permanently attached the strips.) It gets down to 5-10 below (F) here and the girls do just fine.

    I used to get up early like you are doing. This is so much easier. I know I am happier and I think the chickens are too!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  8. tgblldog70

    tgblldog70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    our roo will start his call at about 6am, the way I see it they will be let out when I am good and ready to let them out. Usually around 730ish. I will put them to bed around anywhere between 5pm and 6pm come summer it will be much later but the a.m. time will not change usless I am up and ready to start my day. They will be fine.
  9. fenceman48

    fenceman48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2011
    Senoia, Ga
    Why don't you buy/install an automatic door on your coop? Easy & cheap to do, just have to adjust your timer with the sunrise. Have had mine since September with no problems.
  10. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    I live in Colorado, we have gotten to -29*, it is still getting subzero....my chickens have their pop door open every night, I did add a curtain they can push through, over the opening to keep the draft down a bit...they are great...doing just fine with the temps and all. Leave the door open, add a light curtain if you like...and sleep in!

    You never said how cold it is where you live....if mine do well at -29*, yours will do just fine.

    I also, at times, leave mine in till 10 am....this way all my girls lay their eggs in the coop...I was finding a hidden nest for a few days, so they were on lock down!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012

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