Do any of you not lock your chickens up?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Easter eggers, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. saltykins

    saltykins Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 1, 2011
    I lock them up, but it's more to lock out most of the roaches and deter rats/mice from freeloading than for the birds' safety.
  2. piecemaker

    piecemaker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2008
    Centerville Texas
    My group is split in about half that sleep in the tree and sleep in the coop. I forget about half the time to close the coop at night. So far I have had all my bird looses during the day, hawks most likely. Hoping as it getts colder the tree ones will come to the coop out of the weather
  3. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    My parents did but forgot a couple of night ago. 21 chickens died when the coyotes realized they finally had a way in. They only have one traumatized rooster left. [​IMG]
  4. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    It seems to be one extreme or the other - let the birds be birds and find a tree they are comfortable in (mostly safe from foxes/coyotes, but still susceptible to owls/coons) or lock up their coop. They get trapped when a predator gets into a coop, whereas in a tree they have an opportunity to escape.

    I had my flock of BRs in a 8ft privacy fenced urban backyard and they slept in a tree. When they first started they had decided the neighbor's tree was better, but we used a chair under OUR tree of choice to make it easier to get into and they were satisfied. Slept there through wind, rain, snow, 20-degree temps, 90-degree temps, no leaves, no feathers, whatever.

    We had coons, hawks, owls and possums (possums never bothered the chickens). The chickens were fine until almost 2 years old when a huge, smart coon got one. Being completely free range from a very early age, they learned to use the backyard foliage to evade predators and I'd say they did a fine job of it.
  5. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    Our coop has a secure run which is locked down tightly every night. I don't close the coop door except on really cold nights but they girls always sleep inside on the roost. I wouldn't be brave enough to leave them vulnerable to preadators - I know we have coons and possums just looking for a chicken dinner.
  6. heatherindeskies

    heatherindeskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    SE Minnesota
    Mine get locked in the pole shed for the night but free range all day long.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    For me, there is no easy answer to this. When I lock them up, I know that something could get in and they wouldn't be able to get away, although that hasn't happened, yet. Of course when they are loose I think about a hungry fox or coyote coming by. They are loose often enough that they will hide and run for cover, which there is lots of, and watch for large birds flying over, and we have dogs that provide some protection as they will run any "foreigner" off, or kill it. My last loss was a lone hen who tended to wander off by herself, in open areas. I do love to see them foraging wherever they wish.
  8. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I have to lock them up! Their coop sits right in front of a large heavily wooded area. I shut and lock the pop door and then I put a padlock on the front door. I lost a cat to a coyote not too long ago, I ain't about to loose the birds too! My birds prefer to go in the coop at night, they feel comfy and safe in there. I sleep alot better knowing they are safe and warm.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I didn't lock mine up for several years. They had the coop or the trees to sleep in and our acre to range over the day. We now have them in a large run, but the access door stays open all the time. Actually, it's not an access door but an access hole, so there's no door to shut. I've lost a total of 4-5 birds over the last 8 years.
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    If I let mine sleep on the roof of the coop, the great horned owls would pick them off.

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