Do I need to lock up the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sundayknight, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Sundayknight

    Sundayknight Hatching

    Sep 8, 2009
    Newbie here with another quick question. If I believe my run to be safe from predators, do I need to lock the chickens in the coop every night? What is the purpose of locking them in? Is it just as protection from predators or is there another reason for it?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I build the house part of my coop "fort knox" style.

    I only build my run "dog proofed" since that's my main daytime threat -- so the reason I lock mine in is for predator (raccoon) protection.

    And because it helps make sure the eggs get laid in the nest box instead of out in the yard somewhere since I range them in the daytime.
  3. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    I have a lock and hasp on mine but hardly lock it. Only when i'n going to be away all day. Racoons can unlatch a door, and remove a lock that isn't locked. That would be the reason for locking them in. That or if you don't want them stolem. Some people have some chickens worth money. Or, can't afford to loose what they have. Many reasons to lock the coop. I just bought 2 new hasps and locks for my other pens today. Mostly because I don't trust a few people that have been asking too many questions as to which pen is who in. All my birds are valuable to me, and some would be valuable to somebody else looking for some quick money. Lots of drug addicts around here.
  4. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    Quote:My run is never closed to the coop. They come and go as they choose. They always lay their eggs on the nesting shelf. Sometimes they use my AO's box. She won't lay where the others lay, she wants a box. Picky chicken.[​IMG]
  5. RuffledFeathers

    RuffledFeathers In the Brooder

    Jan 30, 2009
    Issaquah, WA
    Is your run made from heavy duty 1/2" hardware cloth with a deep buried skirt all around the edges? No gaps anywhere? Full roof/cover?
    If it's just regular poultry netting then it is NOT predator proof. Raccoons will bite through it, weasels can zip through it, rats, possums, oh-my-gosh...

    Day-time predators are easier to foil, but those night guys will spend the time to do real damage to get to the prize. A nice wooden door is what makes me sleep well at night; the routine of tucking them in also gives me an opportunity to check their well-being, too, as we do role-call. It's funny because if I say their names, the correct chicken will often answer.
    It's 3 minutes out of my life to lock them in, and I think it's important.
  6. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    You would be surprised at what predators can do to get at your chickens. Rip holes in chicken wire, pull wire off staples, dig under the sides, slide into 2" wide spaces. It is far easier to predator proof a coop than it is a run, so most people lock up the coop every night. Plus if they don't see your chickens, they won't try so hard to get at them, and chickens often try to roost outside if they can. Read a little in the predators and pests forum, will give you a good little scare--that's what spurred me to build a Fort Knox coop!
    ETA--what ruffled feathers said also--it's a nighttime ritual when you can check up on them.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  7. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    A big reason for me to lock the pop door is to keep my rooster from waking up on his schedule and busting out his "Good Morning". Today, our Little Ricky crowed at 6:30am when the sunlight came through the trees, but then he was quiet until he was let out around 9am. My chickens are snoozers, because my wife works swing shift and she usually lets them out in the morning.

    I also like to lock up our chickens at night to check on them and see if they are acting normal and roosting like they normally do with the pullets on the top roost and Little Ricky on the lower roost.

    Lastly, because I am concerned about predators, closing them up gives me piece of mind that they are safe and I won't wake up to a massacre.

    My $0.02,

  8. LittleMamaBigPapa

    LittleMamaBigPapa Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    I shut my coop door every night as added protection from the GIANT racoons I have seen and I live in town. I have heard from co-workers who live on farms that they have had coons open some tricky latches, so I am not taking any chances. With cold winters comes food supply shortages and so desparation will make any hungry critter try anything!

    Lock 'em up!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It is not difficult to build a genuinely predatorproof (to anything except bears) COOP.

    It is not difficult, either, to feel that you've built a genuinely predatorproof RUN.

    The problem is, you often turn out to have been wrong about the run.

    In reality it is extraordinarily difficult to build a genuinely predatorproof run, and keep it that way over time. Especially if your chickens take to sleeping outdoors in nice weather, where they are right on display just on the other side of the wire for predators feeling peckish at 3 a.m.

    Those who feel that their run is predatorproof should go over to the Predators and Pests section of this forum and spend a few hours browsing threads with titles like 'Lost All My CHickens Last Night'. A significant number of those stories will turn out to come from people with runs built the way yours is.

    If one still wishes to leave the popdoor open in the *full knowledge* that it is riskier and one may come out some morning to piles of bloody feathers, that is fine.

    I just don't want people figuring that they have built a predatorproof run, when in all likelihood they have *not*.

    Good luck, have fun,

  10. RevaVirginia

    RevaVirginia Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    Reva, VA
    Aaayup. <----notice the period

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