Does anyone leave their chickens out all night?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AccidentalFarm, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    I've seen this question asked in many posts, but it doesn't seem to be addressed. Maybe it gets lost in the myriad of other questions...

    I am curious about whether people leave the birds out in the (secure) yard overnight, and why or why not? I understand the obvious climate issues, but aside from weather, is there any reason they cannot stay out or go in at will (assuming the 'out' is predator proof)?

  2. prariechiken

    prariechiken Songster

    Feb 9, 2007
    With predator proof runs, several of my fowls are left to come and go as they please. I also have a good size flock of hens who freerange all the time, choosing to roost in some evergreen trees. I do occasionally lose a free ranger to preds, but with more than 80 chickens here on the farm, one or two lost a year is not that bad. I have a dog that patrols the yard and keeps most unwanted visitors away.
  3. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    i never leave the hens an turkeys free asscess to the run at nite.i always lock them in the henhouse.because you never know when a dog or coyote possum sunk coon hawk or owel will hitt your then youd be wiped out in 1 nite.
  4. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    I never leave them out ever though their pen is predator proof. They aren't going to do anything at night anyway. Its better to be safe than sorry. It only takes one small hole for a coon or something to get in
  5. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    i have a predator proof pen that's 20x 24. the wire is the heavy gauge wire with 2"x4" openings and the bottom is reinforced with chicken wire to keep anyong from sticking their heads out and getting their heads bit off. the top of the pen is secured with chicken wire also. there's also wire that runs about a foot under the pen on the perimeter to keep the predators from digging in.

    they free range during the day. by about 6.30 or dusk, they slowly head back into the pen on their own. i haven't finished their coop yet so they stay in there at night in the open air. the chicks (ranging from 4-6 weeks) stay in my extra horse stall that is predator proofed. so in a way they are in a coop. but once they get their down feathers, they'll be outside with the older folks to make room for the incoming babies.

    the only coop anyone has at the moment in that pen are plastic dog crates with hay inside but with the 60-70 degree weather, (i'm in houston) most roost on top of the crates. i do have the floor of the coop made so if they wanted to get out of the rain, they can, but most of the time, i find them out in the rain, doing their thing looking like they took a dip in someone's pond.

    hopefully by winter, i'll have my coop done. otherwise, i'll just put up plywood walls up against the pen again to keep them from getting the wind.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  6. I never leave the door to the pen open from the coop. They go to roost at dark. There are too many predators that can squeeze through very small holes and I'm a worrier. Merry
  7. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    The only thing that will be able to squeeze through into my pen would be a snake or rats, and good luck keeping them out of anything! Digging under the fence, though, is another issue and I'm hoping that by burying the fence a bit and putting hot wire around the base will take care of that. Then again, I do have 3 big Labs that are free to run the entire property and I find that although I hear the coyote's, the Labs tend to keep them from coming up close to the 'lived-on' part of our property. I suppose only time will tell either way. Once something does make it into the coop, i'll fix it and learn a lesson.
  8. FrozenChicken

    FrozenChicken Songster

    Apr 1, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    My hens are trained to go inside the building at night during summer months so every night i just go out and shut the little hatch door they go in and they are safe from ermines and other varmet.
  9. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Songster

    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    My pen is predator proof, (in my opinion) and is about 60 X 24 ft., and of new wire and lumber. I leave the little pop door open, and my hens & roo can come out early in the mornings. That way they can (and do) come out at daybreak, whereas I probably wouldn't get out to let them out till 8 a.m. or so. Something may someday tear into my pen or thru my netting over the top, but it will be a great surprise to me if they do, and will do what i need to at that time to fix it, and shut them in at night if I need to. I have had this pen and chicken coop made for 2 years and nothing has gotten in.
  10. twosteptaz

    twosteptaz Hatching

    Apr 6, 2007
    I guess is a matter of where you live i let my chickenschoosewhere the spend their night,
    i have never have anyproblems with predators or lost any ,i keep my chicken house open all day and nite long and never have any problems or lost one.

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