Do you shut the door?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Swurts, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Swurts

    Swurts Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2016
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    [​IMG]


    Hello! I am new here and new to raising chickens. My question is, do you shut the door to your actual hen house each night if it is fully enclosed? This is a generic picture of one that I have. I purchased two of these for less than $100, connected, and modified them. I have a run of hardware mesh and chicken wire surrounding it so they can be out of the house and roam. I also buried hardware mesh under the whole run to keep anything from digging in. Do you think it's necessary to shut the door to the house? There are some nights this summer that we won't be here. I wasn't sure if I needed to get a neighbor to come shut the door or whether they would be fine with it open. Thoughts??
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If you truly believe your run is predator proof then no; there is no need to close the coop door.

    With the expense of building what people want to call "Fort Knox" it's typically unobtainable. Weasels can get into a 1 inch opening. It's not a problem and relatively inexpensive to build a large pen with 2x4 14 gauge welded wire and apron. Nothing, and I mean nothing will get into it excepting snakes and weasels. The size of runs most want takes hardware cloth off the list of options. And don't get me started with those that run it for 3 ft up and aprons. Snakes and weasels climb. Any shoddy construction leaving a 1 inch opening makes all that work useless as the one thing your spending all that extra money on to keep out can get in. As a matter of practicality hardware cloth is reserved for coop openings and coop doors are shut at night every night. That's good practice no matter if free range, electric netting fences or how ever you've decided to manage your birds. It personal choice as to how much risk people want to take.

    So again, if you truly believe your run is predator proof as this seems to be your goal then you do not have to close the coop door. For that matter if you are in a warmer climate you didn't even need a coop at all. Aviary construction puts the protection on the pen and then has roosts and nests in it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  3. Swurts

    Swurts Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much Egg head Jr!! I do believe the area that I keep them in at night is predator proof. I only have 4 hens and a rooster so the size of their run and coop wasn't too awfully expensive to cover with hardware cloth. Thank you again for your informative reply!
     
  4. Rozzychick

    Rozzychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built 10x14x 7 tall, totally predator proof , cover run. Inside is a raised 5x5 coop. I'm worried I might end up with more hens then I bargained for because we hatched them and assumed half would be roosters. Maybe they still we be Roos, but I'm looking for advice on how much to expand my housing. I have 10, they are only 4 weeks, but I've gotten so attached I can't think of parting with any [​IMG].
    Any advice appreciated. I also have a nice little wooden playhouse the kids have out grown. Was thinking that could go in the "day pen" as a second coop/house.
     
  5. Swurts

    Swurts Out Of The Brooder

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    Mid Illinois
    I've seen people re purpose old playhouses into coops. I think it would be a good idea! I also have a few chicks that I wasn't expecting to keep but may end up with and may have to expand. Oh decisions, decisions. LOL!
     
  6. Rozzychick

    Rozzychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you think they need to be all in one house to keep warm in the winter? We are in Massachusetts.
     
  7. Swurts

    Swurts Out Of The Brooder

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    Not positive but I don't think so. From what I've read most chickens do just fine in the winter as long as they have a place to go for shelter. Maybe you could attach them all in some way. That's what I did with the two small coops I purchased. I just took some boards off one side of each coop then built a connecting box. I screwed it all together and then put weather proof caulking all around the outside seals..
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Small birds don't need much space at all for coops. When brood mates they don't need as much space as required for integrating birds into flock. I shouldn't say this but last year was very late in building the birds adult layer coop. So late in fact ended up with 14 fifteen week old birds going to a 3x3 coop at night. Wasn't any behavioral problems but certainly was getting cramped. They practically made a rugby pile. That said you'll soon find which are cockerels if you can't tell now. If single comb the males will start showing red at 5 weeks and up. Pullets of single comb birds wont show red until near laying age. Very easy to discern sex after 5 weeks of age. You've not long before having a real number of birds you need to house as adults.
     
  9. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you are concerned about predators...then yes by all means close the door and lock 'em up. Chickens are so vulnerable at night it's crazy.

    When I first finished my setup, I closed the girls up every night. But I live in town, and there are not to many predators. I also have 2 dogs that are very religious about protecting the backyard from monsters...so these days I don't really close up the birds any more. I think that last time the coop was closed up was a month ago and that was because my Grandson was in the run. Course he had locked them out of the coop...before that it's literally been years.

    PROUD grandpa image

    [​IMG]

    ...He came over to see the "Chickies". And after he's been to the house, Yeah...I check everything.
     
  10. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Think dry. A dry chicken is a warm chicken. In other words, you need plenty of area for vents up high so that the warm moist air can leave the coop. Chickens can add a lot of moisture to a coop through breathing and pooping. You need to get the moisture out. If you lock the birds up in a small coop with no ventilation you are likely to get birds with frostbite and respiratory problems due to all the moisture. I live in Montana. I have 4 vents that are open year round in the coop. The vents vary in size from 8" x 3' to 2' by 2'. I do not heat the coop. Food and water were kept outside in the run. The birds had no frostbite. Since they were first year pullets they laid great all through the winter. Remember again, a dry chicken is a warm chicken. Hot weather is harder on the chickens than -10 degree weather.

    I don't close the pop door of my coop. Besides having a very well built run I have everything surrounded by electric poultry netting. The fox that lives across the street never gets any of my girls. The fox preys upon my neighbor's old coops and runs that are easy to get into.
     
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