Do I need to close my coop?

sablevulpe

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 3, 2010
57
0
29
Andover, MN
I am raising my first brood of chicks this year, and have a summer coop (smaller, but very well ventilated) attached to a winter coop (much bigger, in a solid shed structure that is insulated for the Minnesota winters). The summer coop leads out to what I am calling the chicken gulag which will have welded wire garden fencing trenched down and out to keep out burrowers then additional chicken wire encasing sides and top... I have almost every predator available in the northwoods: dogs, raccoons, coyotes, eagles, owls, mink (yes, I said MINK)... the list goes on.

SO, the question is, do I need to have a door on my coop's chicken entrance (is that what the term "pop door" means?) in the summer house to keep them locked in at night, or is the gulag enough to protect them? And, in the winter, can I give them access to the summer coop (and as such, the outdoors) at will, or are they, excuse the expression "not smart enough to come in from the cold?"
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
259
341
Ontario, Canada
If you don't mind going out one morning and finding a massacre, then it is fine to leave the popdoor open.

But if you would kick yourself if that happened, close the popdoor. Really.

Go browse the Predators and Pests section of this forum -- you will discover that a significant percentage of the people who lose chickens were (up til that moment) CONVINCED their runs were quite predatorproof.

GOod luck, have fun,

Pat
 

rebecky1305

Songster
10 Years
Aug 19, 2009
318
1
144
Lansing, MI
Yes close them in at night. Keep them safe.

As for the summer coop in the winter, leave them with the option of going outside. They will come in if they get cold, or might not even go out if it is too cold, but they like having the option.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,304
14,715
727
Southeast Louisiana
do I need to have a door on my coop's chicken entrance (is that what the term "pop door" means?) (yes) in the summer house to keep them locked in at night,

Yes.

or is the gulag enough to protect them?

No. Chicken wire will not keep out most serious predators. They'll rip through it like a dog going through a screen door. It is very difficult to build a predator-proof run of a large size, even using heavy wire and wood. Most predators you mention are more active at night, when they have plenty of time to get a good meal without any interference from you. I strongly recommend locking them in a predator proof coop at night.

And, in the winter, can I give them access to the summer coop (and as such, the outdoors) at will, or are they, excuse the expression "not smart enough to come in from the cold?"

I don't live in your climate. Mine like to play outside when it is down in the single digits Fahrenheit. They do not like wind, even when it is warm weather, nor do they like snow, but the cold I get here does not seem to bother them. Here are mine in 8* F weather.

 
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